Many food and beverage manufacturers encounter challenges with CIP (Cleaning-in-Place) processes that take too long. Additionally, some operations aim to reduce costs related to detergents, energy, and water usage. Have you considered exploring potential solutions or improvements to address these issues?
With over ten years of experience in CIP optimisation, I led multiple projects that helped customers to reduce operational costs whilst achieving their sustainability and resource conservation goals. In certain instances, these initiatives resulted in increased production throughput. With my microbiology background I often had to troubleshoot when they experienced microbiological issues or detected soil build-up. I fully understand the criticality of CIP optimisation without compromising product quality.
As raw material and energy costs continues to rise, it becomes even more crucial to exploit the assets of the food industry. Some food processing companies use CIP systems with very little automation, using a purely timed-based process or manual operation. Although the dosage of detergents is sometimes controlled with conductivity, the rinses are often either time- or volume based. Implementing conductivity-based rinses can help avoid the drawbacks associated with excessively long or inadequate rinse cycles.
If rinse cycles are too long, it leads to unnecessary consumption of water, cleaning chemicals, and energy. It also means more time is spent on cleaning, which extends the downtime of equipment and reduce production throughput. This increases operational costs and reduces overall efficiency.
On the other hand, insufficient rinse times (too short) may leave behind residues, contaminants, and cleaning agents on the surfaces. This carryover of unwanted substances can compromise product quality and safety. Further to this, build-up of residue may become more challenging to remove, which requires additional CIP’s.
Measure to master
The installation of inline instruments provides real-time monitoring and control of critical process points, leading to reduced cleaning time, energy and detergent consumption while providing full traceability without interrupting production. The CIP process can be optimised in different ways. It all depends on the level of automation and the size of the existing system. Sometimes small adjustments can lead to substantial savings in operating costs.
It is also important to measure critical control parameters like temperature and flow velocity to ensure effective cleaning and sanitation. Inefficient cleaning results in soil build-up which could lead to the proliferation of microorganisms and ultimately develops into biofilm.
Inline optical instruments
One of the major trends now is to use inline optical instruments to measure the soil load of the return run and actively manage the CIP process. Depending on the degree of soil load, the liquids suitable for re-use for the next cleaning cycle can be directed to a storage tank, while highly contaminated liquids are automatically sent for wastewater treatment. Their rapid reaction time (faster than conductivity <1 second) supports effective phase separation and could potentially reduce water and chemical consumption.