According to the Global Industry Analysts Inc., the global market for industrial and institutional (I&I) cleaning products is projected to exceed US$52 billion by the year 2018, with the increase in demand for these in food and dairy processing sectors. In this growth trajectory, Asia-Pacific is rising to become one of the most dynamic markets for I&I cleaning products.
Compared to the matured market for cleaning products in the Western world, the market in Asia- Pacific region still hasn’t grown much in terms of sanitation and hygiene awareness, new technology adoption rate, adequate regulatory standards and consistent cleaning processes, just to name a few. The brewing, beverage and dairy sectors in Asia are in fact at a crossroad and are facing shifting market forces and challenges and at the same time expanding market opportunities for growth.
Given the changing consumer landscape and market pressures, not only do manufacturers have to provide a sterile and clean environment for producing increasingly sensitive and preservative-free liquid products, they also have to ensure consistent, if not better management of plant productivity. Adding to this challenge are fluctuating raw material costs, increasing utility costs, pressures on profitability and increase in the number of beverage brands which calls for greater production flexibility. There is also the corporate pressure on sustainability to save utilities and reduce the carbon footprint of the plant. A case in point is water that is used in a beverage product as well as for cleaning during the production process. Water security is one of the biggest challenges facing Asia today. This in turn changes the model for cleaning-in-place (CIP) efficiency, testing various key performance indicators.
Fortunately, there exist opportunities to enhance CIP efficiency and sustainability. The key to success depends on factors such as the right selection of cleaning products, application knowledge to implement these advanced cleaning technologies and CIP hardware design.
Good CIP Design
CIP is the cleaning and disinfection of equipment used for manufacturing and storage of liquid products. Cleaning is the prerequisite to making disinfection effective, as the former removes soil that lowers microbial loading on surfaces, while the latter eliminates any remaining microorganisms on surfaces.
As much as CIP is important, it occupies valuable production time. Many facilities seek to reduce CIP cycle times in order to increase production capacity but without compromising on safety and quality. Efficient CIP can help to enhance line productivity, reduce food safety risks and ensure consistent product quality.
Another factor that is gaining attention is the sustainability of CIP in reducing water, energy and chemical consumption. To many companies, sustainable CIP is no longer about making a bold new statement on sustainability. It is now seen as a sound business decision that can deliver real returns on investment. By choosing the right CIP combination of chemicals, tools and equipment that delivers both high performance and sustainable cleaning, manufacturers are actually cleaning with greater efficiency while expending fewer resources.
This becomes all the more important when the facility starts to produce a greater variety of liquids.
Sustainability: A Key Driver of Efficient CIP
The key parameters for attaining the desired cleaning and disinfection result are chemical action, mechanical action, temperature and time. Designing an efficient CIP involves a thorough understanding of the ‘chemistry’ of these factors and how they impact each other. Hence, the need to enhance operational efficiency while reducing time and cost to clean is a delicate balance. Adding sustainability targets to CIP can help to further define areas of savings that include raw cleaning chemical materials, water and emissions, thermal and electrical energy and carbon dioxide.
A conventional CIP typically takes up to five to six steps on cleaning and disinfection, involving up to three rinse cycles and the use of raw materials such as caustic soda or formulated alkaline detergents at high temperatures of up to 80-85°C. Hence, it can be demanding in terms of timing, consumption of chemical, energy and water, effluent cost as well as thermal stress and wear on processing equipment. In addition, the number of technical application criteria and site-specific conditions play an important role in CIP; failure to consider these could potentially lead to poor performance or overuse of expensive resources. New chemical concepts and CIP innovations are being developed and can be adapted to meet the specific needs of a plant.
One of these concepts is Rapid CIP which can be seen as a means to responsible manufacturing. For shorter cleaning time, reducing usage of utilities, and chemicals, and conducting cold/ambient temperature, CIP come into play.
Rapid CIP is a shorter cleaning and disinfection process compared to conventional CIP. This paradigm-changing concept comes in different programs that simplify cleaning complexities and take into consideration specific plant conditions and soil characteristics at the production site. The key characteristics of Rapid CIP are generally as follows:
1. A three-step program instead of the conventional five-step, where the cleaning process is reduced by a sanitation step and a rinse cycle. The three-step program combines cleaning and sanitation into one step, reducing cleaning time to the shortest possible and utilizing the lowest possible amounts of utilities and chemicals and resulting in reduced usage of water, energy and time.
2. Rapid CIP is normally done at ambient or moderate temperatures which therefore reduces the requirement of heating the detergent solutions to up to 80-85°C. It reduces expensive energy consumption as well as time that is required for heating and cooling of the entire CIP and production equipment that are under cleaning. As the manufacturing equipment does not undergo thermal stress, the life of the equipment and its consumable parts such as gaskets is prolonged.
3. Many times, Rapid CIP it is based on the use of acidic detergents and disinfectants. These acidic chemicals make cleaning and disinfection possible in a single step at ambient temperatures. Being acidic, they also facilitate the rapid rinsing of the equipment and pipelines under cleaning, thereby saving time and water. The acidic CIP program can be deployed under a carbon dioxide environment which further adds to the benefit of saving time and the cost of carbon dioxide that is normally wasted under alkaline cleaning conditions.
4. Reduced water and chemical usage for cleaning also reduces the load on effluent treatment plants, further adding to cost savings on waste water treatment. This helps the manufacturer to meet the local regulations due to less generation of waste water.