Clean In Place System

Project Background

Our customer is a leader in producing high quality and healthy single serving frozen meals. A key component to the flavor of the frozen meals are the sauces added during cooking or packaging. Due to the numerous types of frozen meals produced daily and the quantity of process lines needed to transfer the sauces to multiple points of use, the process of cleaning the process lines daily was a daunting and tedious task.

Our customer did not have a CIP system so the task of cleaning the process lines was performed by hand. This meant the plant operators would handle and manually blend hazardous chemicals creating a very possible safety risk to plant personnel and environmental hazards due to a spill. The manual CIP methods were also time inefficient which reduced available production time and had no means of monitoring or data logging to ensure proper parameters were met. Placer Process Systems partnered with our client to develop an automated CIP system and a network of supply and return lines to eliminate the current hand cleaning methods.

Project Hurdles

Due to the quantity of process lines and inconsistent lengths of circuits, the CIP system performance would have to be flexible enough to accommodate variations in supply flow rates and pressures. The sauces contained large

solids and had high viscosities which meant the system would need to be capable of producing high line velocities to ensure all sauce residues were removed from the piping surfaces. 

The CIP system would have to be designed to be a narrow and small footprint to fit in the space available. The surrounding area contained existing equipment, utility headers, and fencing which could not be moved. The CIP system would also have to be laid out in a manor to allow easy access to chemical drums as well as room to walk around the system to access and service the surrounding equipment.

CIP System

The client’s production area operated all day, every day, which did not allow the fabrication and installation of the piping network to be done during normal working hours. The plant did provide a holiday shutdown window to perform the piping installation but the duration was insufficient to perform the volume of work.


Read About The Solution Below

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Our customer partnered with Placer Process Systems to design and install an automated CIP system and a network of CIP supply and return circuits to replace the methods of cleaning process lines by hand. The system consisted of rinse and chemical tanks, a heating system, chemical dosing, monitoring instrumentation, and a control panel with HMI to automatically control and perform the various cleaning processes. The only operator interface would be the HMI selection of the circuit to be cleaned and monitoring the system for proper operation and performance. The primary supply pump selected paired with a VFD allowed the system to generate a range of flow rates, thus line velocities, and pressures to give the CIP system the flexible performance needed for the range of circuit lengths and sauce residues. The instrumentation would provide complete system and cleaning parameter monitoring and control to ensure the required velocities, temperatures, and chemical concentrations are met and data logged for CIP validation.

Clean In Place System

To ensure the CIP supply and return piping network design would meet our client’s needs and provided the flexibility needed to clean all possible circuits, drawings were provided with detailed views indicating the pipe routing and points of use. Design reviews involving representatives from all plant departments were held to review the design drawings to ensure the needs of all parties involved were voiced and incorporated into the design and installation.

To meet the short installation window, the CIP supply and return piping network was precisely laid out with fabrication plans of all piping runs. The plans allowed a majority of the piping to be fabricated off site at Placer Process Systems fabrication shop. The sections of pipe were broken up and fabricated in a way that would allow them to be transported to the job site and clamped into position with minimal field welds during the holiday plant shutdown. This method of pre-fabrication and installation allowed the piping to be installed quickly and drastically reduced the onsite installation duration.


Placer Process Systems designed and installed a fully automated CIP system with a profile that met the small and narrow footprint criteria, allowed room for access and maintenance to the CIP system and to the neighboring equipment, and was installed without interruption to our client’s operations. Testing and commissioning of the system proved the system’s performance met and exceeded our customer’s cleaning requirements by testing the rinse water in conjunction with surface swab tests. The time to complete the CIP of a piping circuit was significantly reduced from the methods of cleaning by hand which allowed our customer to focus more time on production than cleaning. The automated chemical dosing incorporated into the CIP system nearly eliminated the risk of chemical exposure to plant personnel and many potential environmental hazards as the only interaction was now replacing empty chemical drums.

Prior to installing the automated CIP system, our client had no means of validating or monitoring their CIP processes. No records were available to prove a process line had been cleaned or the cleaning parameters. It was up to the plant personnel to perform the process line CIP per our client’s procedures and ensure the parameters are being met. This meant there was no consistency to the cleaning cycles and shortcuts could be taken due to the lack of accountability thru instrumentation monitoring. The CIP system monitoring instruments eliminated the possibility of inconsistent cleaning conditions as all parameters were programmed into the control system and could only be modified by a supervisor with access credentials. This meant temperature, chemical concentration, and cycle durations were not longer up to the plant operator performing the process line CIP and would be maintained and consistent for every CIP cycle. The parameters for each CIP cycle were also data logged for CIP validation record keeping.

The detailed CIP supply and return network drawings proved to be an asset to the success of the project by providing a clear map as to where the points of use were located and how the multiple CIP circuits could be created to clean every process line within the plant. This also provided Placer Process Systems with the ability to pre-fabricate the piping spools in preparation for the plant holiday shutdown and ultimately led to the successful installation of all the new piping circuits within the allotted shutdown window. This meant the plant was able to resume production as scheduled without delays.

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