When you’ve been involved in the beverage industry as long as LSI, it’s easy to identify questions that seem to come up over and over again. Clean In Place (CIP) systems, for example, seem to be a topic of particular interest.

For those unfamiliar with the term CIP, it is basically a cleaning system that a beverage manufacturer (such as a brewery) would utilize to automatically clean and or sterilize certain pieces of process equipment – such as pipes and tanks – without disassembly. Many questions about these systems come up because of misinformation provided by “out-of-the-box” CIP providers. These one-size-fits-all solutions rarely perform as promised, the disappointing results can be a strain on resources, and failure of the cleaning process can lead to significant product quality issues. A tailor-made CIP solution, on the other hand, may seem daunting at first, but provides significant value in the long term.

Want to learn more about the ins and outs of CIP systems? Here are eight of the questions we often hear from our clients:

1) When Is A Clean In Place (CIP) System A Commodity And When Is It A Custom Solution?
It’s easy to believe the hype when a manufacturer or distributor tells you that a CIP system will perform as intended upon arrival. While it may be true in its most basic sense, there are a great number of additional aspects to take into consideration.

Simply put, the components within a CIP system may seem like commodity items, but the design of the system, integration into the facility and the overall process of understanding and equipping the system in accordance with the customer’s requirements make each one a complete, custom solution. In fact, the only time that a CIP system can be considered a commodity is when it is still in its packaging. Once you need to tie it into your unique equipment, nearly 100 percent of CIP systems become custom projects that require experienced installation and configuration.

2) What Functions Are CIP Systems Able To Perform?
A properly equipped CIP system can be utilized to serve a variety of different tasks, including tank, line and equipment cleaning. Customers looking to integrate a CIP system into their facility may require it to perform just one of these tasks, or a combination of all three.

3) Are Tanks Usually Cleaned Hot Or Cold?
Tanks are typically cleaned at ambient temperatures, but certain situations may require it to be much hotter. In these cases, holding a constant temperature during the cleaning cycle and regulating the temperature throughout the cool down process becomes very critical and requires additional programming to protect the equipment. LSI if familiar with these applications and can help optimize the right solution.

4) Are Tanks Pressurized When Being Cleaned?
It depends on the facility and the process. Some customers prefer to keep tanks pressurized with CO2 during the cleaning process. These cases are limited, specialized chemicals are required, and additional care needs to be taken regarding safety. On the other hand, customers who choose not to have their tanks pressurized during cleaning, need to have a process in place to re-pressurize them afterward recognizing potential air pickup in the tank. LSI can assist with these process requirements that are not typically part of an off the shelf system.

5) Why Is Equipment Cleaning So Challenging?
Equipment cleaning can be one of the more complicated tasks involved, typically requiring the most customization. Equipment typically has unique requirements that require special attention to the CIP recipe. Whether it is special programming, handshakes between systems, or HMI step confirmations during the cycle, LSI can assist optimizing a solution.

6) Does The Residue Being Cleaned Make A Difference?
Yes. This information determines which type (or types) of detergent or cleaning solutions will be needed. Certain organic substances call for the detergent tanks to perform a caustic clean, while other non-organic substances may require an acid clean. Some systems may even need a combination of both. Care must be used in the concentrations and temperatures for cleaning solutions to optimize performance.

7) What Utilities Are Required To Run A CIP System?
In general, a fully functioning CIP system requires a water source, a chemical source, a steam and condensate return (for heating) and drains including a gravity and a power drain. Each of these factors plays a role in determining the size and overall number of tanks needed, as well as the sizing of the lines that will be required.

8) Are Any Reporting Functions Involved With The CIP Process?
When a modern CIP is implemented properly, it provides valuable data to the user as it does its job. This feedback doesn’t just indicate whether the process is complete, but also provides important information about the quality of the results. At the very least, a CIP system should keep records of who ran the system, which program was used, how long the process took and if there were any variances from the cleaning recipe (red flags) that presented themselves. Optimally, feedback from the CIP system is easy to retrieve and it should be interfaced with the production system’s own internal historical data server.

The experts at LSI can help you to research, design and install a CIP system that is the best fit for your processes – and we are always available to answer your questions. Thinking about implementing a CIP system into your facility? Contact LSI today.

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