Across many sectors including pharmaceutical, food and beverage and dairy, the importance of a clean starting point for all equipment is critical.

There are two main elements to this: the system that delivers the appropriate cleaning solution and the cleaning actions within the tanks and pipelines.

Enables faster turnaround

Getting these right enables a faster turnaround of production equipment and reduction in operating costs. Clean in Place (CIP) equipment has differing levels of size, complexity and automation depending on the end user requirements.

In addition, the actual product to be cleaned has a bearing on the type of tank cleaning machine or spray head you should choose – again this could be a time & operating cost saving.

Specific to tank cleaning, there is important information you first need to establish.

  • The soiling or stickiness of the product to the tank wall – milk residue is easy; food sauces are intermediate and crusted / caked products are difficult.
  • What are the appropriate cleaning chemicals and cycle to achieve the cleanliness you need for the incoming batch – hot and cold water, alkali or acid rinse, detergent, anti-bacterial wash, chemical solvents etc. Production needs to work with Quality to determine the appropriate levels per product.
  • The amount of time you want this to be cleaned in – tank turnover requirements.
  • What elements are in the tank – agitators, baffles, dip pipes, sample points, vents, manways, nozzles that all need cleaning – either target drilled static or rotating head coverage can be determined.
  • The optimum operating pressure of the cleaning nozzle and flow rate to deliver the chemicals.
  • The tank geometry.

When you factor these items in, an impact cleaning rotating head device offers greater efficiency in terms of CIP consumption and short times for each cleaning stage.

The next key item is the delivery of those cleaning elements to the tank or pipeline.

This is frequently via a CIP skid system. These systems can be mobile or static and vary in scale & complexity. However, the sizing of the CIP skid is directly linked to the total cleaning demand of your process, including pipelines, and allows the end user the option to recover final rinse liquids. This is a cost saving for first rinse in the next cleaning cycle.

The end user really needs to understand the total demand of cleaning in general, the number of stages and the expected consumption, when reviewing the total information for a CIP skid system. This can be worked out sequentially by also considering the tank cleaning unit in advance.

Guide selection criteria:

  • The total number of tanks to be cleaned, their sizes and products to be cleaned.
  • The total number of chemicals / stages per tank / pipeline in the cleaning cycle from start to finish.
  • Whether you want the tanks to be cleaned sequentially or on demand or an in between. This leads to the number of cleaning lines from the CIP skid.
  • The total amount of pipework to be cleaned.
  • The level of automation and if the area is an ATEX one.
  • Establish what services are available such as steam, electric, water, chemicals in the vicinity of the planned skid area.

This then determines the number of tanks the CIP skid will require, associated pumps and heat exchangers and automation for the overall duty. The sizing of the pumps is generally down to the cleaning nozzle demands and to provide a velocity through the pipeline that gives a sufficient turbulence. A guideline velocity is 1.50 ms-1 but the key item is to ensure a high Reynolds number within the pipeline.

In summary, when you take these items (system demand + cleaning delivery) into account, you are able to provide a good basis to discuss a CIP skid & tank cleaning solution that will reduce your operating costs quite quickly. Sizing and selection of these systems & cleaning are supported via Flexachem.

To find out more, you can contact Michael Bradley, Flexachem’s process equipment specialist in CIP Skids. Contact him at: 086 047 6178; Email: Website: