A number of ood and beverage
facilities have been
utilizing clean-in-place (CIP) for years.
It’s the method of
While most of us
already know what
CIP is, when was
the last time you
performed a thorough
audit of your system?
Over the years,
changes may have crept into the ratios that keep your CIP system
balanced and running efficiently — making it more out of whack
than you may realize.
Finding The Sweet Spot For The
All ClP systems ultimately come down to four variables:
• Concentration of cleaning solution
In this way, CIP is a lot like doing your laundry at home:
You select a wash cycle (which determines the water level);
the desired water temperature; the amount of time the
washing machine will run; and then add the appropriate amount
of detergent. But if one of these parameters change — if you
forget to add detergent or don’t have enough water — your
clothes won’t be cleaned properly. The same principle applies to a
Changes may have been made to your CIP parameters over
time without you realizing it. The temperature may have been
raised to speed up cleaning time in order to increase throughput
to meet demand. Oftentimes, decreasing cleaning time requires
increasing the concentration of cleaning solution to compensate.
Why does this matter? Because while these changes may
seem small, over time they can lead to greater inefficiencies.
• Increasing water temperature requires greater energy use
• Overusing cleaning solution can mean overspending on
• Unnecessarily increasing flow rates can waste water
• Increase in time cleaning means a decrease in time
So is your CIP system as efficient as it’s supposed to be? Does
your cleaning process look the same as when it first started?
A System Audit Can Restore Balance
(And Mitigate Risks)
If you have doubts about the efficiency of your CIP system,
it’s worth considering an audit to determine if those four main
variables — time, flow, temperature and concentration of
chemicals — are where they should be.
You can either conduct this analysis internally or bring in a
third-party firm to ensure your system is operating as efficiently
as possible. These experts know best because they’re often the
ones who design and install these systems.
When your CIP system is tweaked and corners are cut, the
benefits are not worth the risks. Ultimately, these changes can
influence your product quality and open the door to potential
contamination and product recalls. This is especially true for
ready-to-eat products and beverages, because they go straight
from the packaging into the consumer’s body.
I often work with dairy manufacturers, and the leading brands
all pay the highest degree of attention to the sanitary design
of their plants. It ranks up there with production volume and
efficiency. Why? With dairy, cultures and other organisms can
easily contaminate other products if facilities don’t establish
proper cleaning procedures. Without proper cleanup, the same
products can’t be made from day to day. The same principle
applies to any facility, though, regardless of what it produces.
To mitigate these risks, it’s critical to truly build cleaning
into your process and make it a priority. Most of the time,
contamination happens because a facility failed somewhere along
the line in the cleaning process.
Think of it this way: If you leave dirty dishes in the sink at
home, you can’t start cooking your next meal until you clean those
dishes so they’re usable again. Food and beverage manufacturing
facilities aren’t much different. They aim to produce high-quality
products while minimizing the cleanup involved, but they must
first begin processing with clean equipment — which is often
easier said than done when considering the demands of today’s
The bottom line is this: If you don’t keep up with proper CIP
protocol, you’re going to see product quality loss in the long term.
That slip can affect your customer relationship, you brand integrity
and your bottom line. Consider an audit to ensure your system is
in-check and optimized for your plant’s needs.
Mike Murdaugh is a Senior Process Engineer at Stellar.
By Mike Murdaugh
IndustryINSIDER INSIDER This month's
Back To The Basics: How To Optimize
Your Clean-In-Place System