Manual cleaning systems were replaced in some fluid processing plants by closed-loop CIP systems in the late 1950s, and automation took hold in the 1960s, offering more cost and time savings. CIP systems evolved to include sensors that could detect pH, turbidity, and conductivity to help save on cleaning product costs and improve efficiency. Also in the 1960s, centralized systems in the United States began to be replaced with distributed systems that allowed certain parts of processing to use more or less detergent, for example, and to be isolated if there was a contamination event. European processors still tend to use centralized CIP systems because of limited factory space.
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Explore This IssueOctober/November 2010
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The next big change in the CIP market came in the 1980s, when PLCs replaced the pin-drum systems that turned and activated the cleaning system. With PLCs, operators merely needed to activate a program on the controller to get the CIP system going.
At the same time, improvements in chemical sanitizers helped to cut high energy costs from heating water and extend product shelf lives. In the mid-1980s, for example, oxonia-peracid, a chemical biocide, hit the market. Fernholz said it could extend fluid milk shelf life to as long as 21 days, compared to seven days in the 1950s. Peracid is now widely used. The caustic powders used in the 1960s were replaced by liquid alkaline, then chlorinated alkalines, then additives to caustic (detergents blended on site). More recently, single-stage acids were added to the process, according to Holger Theyssen, senior director of research and development in food and beverage for Diversey Inc., in Mannheim, Germany. The detergents that are now in development share an emphasis on green cleaning, which is a growth area, Dr. Jayas added.
Companies are also currently working on ways to mine data to help pinpoint parts of the system that could be optimized, areas of potential failure, and ways to save on water, energy, and cleaning product costs.
Cutting Steps to Cut Costs
Large fluid food processors are very sensitive to their “green” image, said Steve Wnuk, MBA, senior director of global food and beverage marketing at Diversey. “We’re seeing continued high interest in sustainability solutions, with rapid CIP solutions paying off for business,” he said.
We’re seeing continued high interest in sustainability solutions, with rapid CIP solutions paying off for business.
—Steve Wnuk, MBA, Diversey
Diversey is developing a rapid CIP platform that reduces the number of steps in the process down to three from the typical five to seven. A typical CIP process first pre-rinses, then adds detergent, rinses, sanitizes, and final rinses. Diversey’s product, which the company expects will hit the market in the second quarter of next year, will pre-rinse, add a detergent-sanitizer, then final rinse without heat. Fewer steps will mean energy and time saved.
“There’s a savings in chemistry by using cold or ambient water,” Theyssen said. “We have chemistry that works in cold water.” The chemistry uses an acid detergent-sanitizer combination product that eliminates the need for a separate sanitizer step. The product can be used for a mix of light and heavy soil burdens. Theyssen added that the product reduces cleaning time and water and energy use while improving operating efficiency, resulting in a 51% cost reduction. “It is lower carbon, so it is green,” he said.
Diversey also has several programs that allow it to evaluate efficiency and efficacy at processing plants. For example, the AquaCheck program evaluates chemical use and is aimed at improving sanitation and decreasing expenses. SecureCheck assesses cleaning and sanitation procedures for cleaning efficacy and identifies risk points in a facility. And EnergyCheck is a new pilot system designed to check energy use.
Wnuk said one benefit of such programs is that results are put into a database so tests from future customers can be compared to a baseline. “We have performed more than 400 water interventions with AquaCheck, so we have a proprietary database,” he said. “We can gather [a customer’s] information and compare it against our database.”