Clean-in-Place (CIP) is a fully integrated, automated way to clean complicated machine interiors without relying on disassembly or maintenance hatches. CIP saves technicians from stopping and disassembling the machine (known as Cleaning-Out-of-Place) outside of emergencies.
CIP is adaptable, non-intrusive, and applicable to most hydraulic circuits. First developed in 1959, CIP-compatible machinery has become standard in maintaining high interior hygiene standards. Fluid-processing industries at high risk from microbe and virus contamination (i.e. dairy and pharmaceutical plants) rely heavily on CIP to mitigate biological risks.
How Does Clean-in-Place Work?
CIP flush cycles fill stainless steel tanks, pipelines, and other liquid-flow components with chemical cleaners mixed with water. Cleaning fluid is pumped in from a storage tank attached to the processing loop. Spaced, spraying heads or full immersion injects the fluid. Once inserted, the cleaning mixture is heated, circulated, and left to cycle for a period before the manufacturing liquid loop is marked as clean again. When finished, the CIP mix automatically drains out before a secondary wash is applied.
How are CIP Cycles Designed?
Engineers use a TACT (or Sinner’s Circle – setting out Time, Action, Chemical (Strength), and Temperature limits) to design their CIP cleaning cycles. Careful application of TACT allows each cleaning cycle to match its task. Resistant, easy-flow substances, such as carbonated energy drinks, require less attention and downtime than higher risk items, such as near-solid vegetable matter. Dissolved bicarbonates, ammoniates, and chlorinates can all work with CIP.
Bleaching and washing cleanse containment surfaces, wash away build-ups of particulate, and remove dangerous microorganisms that might use food or drink deposits as an energy source. The water and chemical mix can also be pre-heated to near boiling before pumping, helping break down tough bacteria and viruses.
Why is CIP So Important for Good Hygiene?
CIP’s main hygienic advantage is that it speeds up routine cleaning schedules while maintaining excellent cleanliness standards. By keeping the machine up while the cleaning cycle runs, daily deep cleaning is made possible, preventing bacteria from taking hold. Colonies of pathogens can rapidly accelerate their growth and threaten to infect food and drink if left unchecked between weekly and monthly disassembly cleans.
If cross-contamination occurs, CIP is highly adaptable. Digital mixing-tank controls allow rapid adjustments to the cleaning solution’s frequency, intensity, and abrasiveness. CIP can be easily reconfigured to provide a hardcore cleanse if the system is cross-contaminated or doesn’t respond to your current cleansing strategy. CIP reduces the risk that the system might become contaminated with novel pathogens during a COP session by removing direct human interference.