Clean-in-place (CIP) technology offers significant advantages to manufacturing facilities. CIP provides efficient and reliable cleaning of process equipment and piping at lower cost and there by improves the product quality. The controls incorporated into CIP systems are critically important, being required to provide a variety of cycle times, temperatures, composition and concentration of cleaning solutions. The clean-in-place systems may include current recycling and regeneration technologies, in order to reduce operating costs and control the cost of waste disposal.

Clean-in-place (CIP) technology is the automatic, reproducible and reliable delivery of cleaning solutions, rinse and wash water to and through process equipment and process piping. The development of CIP technology has improved both product quality and plant hygiene. Furthermore, the ability to clean a processing system, incorporating tanks, pumps, valves, filters, heat exchange units and process piping, without the need to disassemble all or part of that system significantly reduces cleaning costs and minimizes the handling of chemicals to provide a safer environment for plant personnel. These systems may be integrated into existing processing systems, but more importantly, clean-in-place technology should be included in the design of any new process system, to be simultaneously incorporated with the design of the process flows, the controls and automation. This system which was once considered as an additional cleaning facility has now become mandatory.

The CIP Technology is applicable in any process industry like Chemical plants, Food and Beverage plants, Wineries, Distilleries, Pharmaceutical industry and the most recent Bioprocess Industry. Any industry which has a closed circuit of pipes and vessels, storage tanks and looking similar to any process plants can go for an effective CIP system. The SIP (Steam in Place) also can be followed for the sterile applications. The picture shows a CIP station with a capacity of 100Liters


The CIP system is operated from the machine’s central control panel. The whole process is fully automated by computer or PLC, including features such as pause and timer functions, full or part cycle on a zoned area and the concentration of cleaning detergents in the water. CIP operating systems are designed to be flexible and can be operated daily or weekly, depending on requirements. A full CIP cleaning cycle usually takes around two hours to complete. This in turn can reduce production downtime and is much faster than manual cleaning. The main problem with manual cleaning is that parts of the machine may be difficult to access or completely inaccessible. In contrast, an automated CIP system is designed to cover 100 per cent of the machine’s interior. There are also health and safety issues with manual cleaning. An automated system cuts the risks associated with handling and working with chemical detergents in confined spaces. A manual system relies completely on the skills of the cleaning crew to reach quality assurance standards. CIP systems are guaranteed to maintain a high standard of hygiene.

A fully automated CIP system is designed to clean 100 per cent of the machine interior by removing food solids and bacteria. CIP systems can be developed to meet individual product and hygiene requirements. Each system is custom designed and fitted to ensure the machine interior is sanitized from ceiling to floor. A typical CIP system features interior pipe work, nozzles and cleaning heads, which can rotate 360 degrees to spray jets of water and foam detergent. These spray jets are termed as Spray Balls. A valve station is usually fitted to the roof of the freezer or chiller. The CIP system is programmed to clean each zone within the machine in sequence. With a spiral freezer for example, we can include a drum wash, belt wash and even a sequence for sanitizing the evaporator. A full cleaning cycle may include a pre-rinse with water, followed by two chemical detergent and rinse cycles to thoroughly sanitize the system.


• Designed and fitted to clean 100 per cent of the machine.
• CIP systems can improve the operation of the machine.
• Cleans areas normally inaccessible on a manual sanitation.
• Can be operated from the machine’s central control panel.
• New features and functions to increase efficiency.
• Reduce production downtime and faster than manual cleaning.
• Cuts risks working with chemicals in confined spaces.
• Maintains a high standard of hygiene – everytime.


9 thoughts on “CLEAN IN PLACE (CIP) SYSTEM”

  1. Are these CIP methodology successfully adapted for CIP of facilities like AHU filters,cooling coil fins,ducts etc which are also a likely source of contamination in process areas


  2. These CIP systems are primarily meant for the use in process equipments like Fermenters/Reactors and their accesorries like filtration systems, process piping within the system and the media/buffer equipments.
    AHU filters which normally consists of Pre, Fine and HEPA filters are always checked for filter integrity only. Cleaning of such Filters are of less heard situations. I am not very sure of CIP of filters. The cooling coil fins and ducts are cleaned only during maintainence and in todays industry scenario, I have not come across CIP for these components. I will be happy to share with you if there is any such advancements coming to my notice..


  3. In todays scenario,specifically in pharma and drug industries,contamination control playa a predominant role.In the powder prcessing areas specifically where granulation,fluid bed drying,tablet compression,capsule filling are handled,I haveobserved the AHU filters get deposited with these finepowders. To ensure cGMP compliance such filters I feel need to be cleaned at a frequency rate to be decided by the volume of processing done in such areas.
    No doubt Maintenance crew has been doing these jobs.But to ensure consistency of cleaning,the need arises for having a CIP technology to clean such filters,wherein a validation check could be formulated and carried out after the cleaning is over.
    I hope you are in agreement with my views.


  4. I went through a few literature and could’nt find a HEPA filter that could be subjected to CIP solution. Probably, cleaning could be done through some other means like air cleaning and other dusting methods. I am not very sure about the drying and filling areas as I have very less exposure to these areas. i am basically into Bioreactor design and P&ID’s for BioPharma. I am just starting to get myselves involved in the process plant layouts and AHU classifications for clean rooms.

    I agree with the point that cleaning is required and as in any process subjected to cGMP norms, a clear validation is required.


  5. I am presently working on a project to have AHU prefilters(HDPE micro vee) to be auto cleaned with compressd air cleaning with means of collecting the dust,followed by wet cleaning using high presure water spray nozzles.Whilst this is done I also propose to have the cooild coils cleaned likwise.This awareness I feel would be appreciated by the industry.


  6. Hi,

    Is the CIP only required for the fermentation part of the plant or the whole plant process (including downstream)? I am currently doing a plant design project for my final year and is required to produce DHA oil from micro-algae. I am aware that the media for fermentation need to be sterile, but not sure should our group make sure that the downstream process should be sterile too. As the plant production of DHA oil is kept pretty close up due to intellectual property. Thus, hope you can help me as to whether sterilization is only required for the fermentation part of the whole plant process? thank you 🙂


  7. CIP means cleaning in place. So, any equipment which cannot be taken out (dismantled) for cleaning should be cleaned somehow.. ie.,cleaned in place. As for as sterlisation is concerned, the downstream is to be more sterile than the upstream. But this stands by what the product of interest is and the cost standing by it. If the oil is a buffer to some other process wherin the sterlisation will be done, this oil preparation is not so critical. But if this itself is a product, the sterility is very essential. I understand that your product is a cosmetic one. And if it is to be taken internally, Sterlisation is very important. The product need not be sterlised, but the equipment and all transfer lines needs to be Sterlised.

    Hope you will get back in this regard.


  8. Thank you Jovin

    The DHA that we are suppose to produce is to be supplemented in infant formulas or as a pill supplement. In that case, I reckon that the media for fermentation, the fermentor and all pipes and equipments used should be sterile. I suppose when I used the clean-in-place technology to sterile the whole plant once, it will remain sterile probably for a few months? and then the plant could possibly have 2 to 3 down time in a year to re-sterilize the plant. But the media for sterilization should be always sterilize before charging for fermentation growth.

    You mentioned that it is more important to sterilize the downstream process and that was what I thought so too. But the journals I’d read only mentioned about the sterilization during fermentation and the transfer of the biomass from one fermentor to another. A bit confused by this though.

    Anyway, thanks for your help, its really enriching to know as I don’t have much experience particularly with biochemical processes.

    Hear from you soon.




  9. I am sure that doing CIP once in a few months will not work out. This procedure is repeated after each batch in a BioPharmaceutical industry. And since your product is food, FDA guidelines could make you clear about this. Sterlisation is to be done as often as you expose the equipment or transfer lines. For example to take the sample through a steamed sample valve, one need to sterlise the sample line before and resterlise it after closing. In some other sampling systems like multiple bags with a septum and needle (check for their sampling system), sampling can be done till there is needles left over. So, risk of contamination is high if the process is exposed.
    For example, you are growing a algae and if a exposure caused a contamination by some other bacterium (normailly found in air or entry through the operator), the growth rate of the organism of interst will be suppressed by the new one if the enviroment suits. This will lead to a completely waste batch. Though high level of care is taken to control contamination, sterlisation and CIP is very important to be carried out for every batch. But I may be talking wrt BioPharma and you will have to take a look into your literatures. I have put your query with my microbial head and may get you a good sugestion ASAP.


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