Clean In Place (CIP) Systems Information

Clean-in-place systemClean-in-place (CIP) systems rinse, wash, acid rinse, sanitize, and/or dry the internal surfaces of process tanks, process equipment, and process lines by flushing rinsing or cleaning agents through the process system.




CIP systems are somewhat synonymous with tank washing machines, but CIP systems are also used to clean the internal surfaces of process lines and process equipment in addition to tank internals. A CIP system can use a spray washing method or a fill and drain flush cleaning method. Chemical cleaning solutions can be used with higher concentrations of acids, detergents, and sanitizers and at higher temperatures compared to manual cleaning methods.




In the fill and drain method, the tanks are filled with the heated cleaning solutions, acid cleaners, sanitizers, or rinses with draining of the cleaning fluid in between. CIP systems means the tank or process vessel are not disassembled and manually cleaned out of place in another location. CIP systems can be stationary or mobile. Pharmaceutical and food and beverage plants often have stationary CIP systems integrated into the process line.


Tank spray cleaning systems can consist of:

  • rotary spray heads 
  • jet heads
  • static spray balls
  • extension lances
  • pumping systems

Some systems can have automated retraction or extension mechanisms to automate the movement of the spray head and lance into the tank. Pressurized water, heated cleaning solutions, sanitizers, acid cleaners, and rinses are sprayed on the internal surfaces of the tank. The high pressure stream impinges against the internal surface to provide optimal cleaning and removal of tank residues. The tank cleaning system may also have a sub-system for collection, separation, and treatment of tank residues or volatile gasses.


Another variation of CIP systems are sanitize-in-place, or SIP, systems that sterilize or sanitize the internal surface of the process equipment. SIP systems are very important in the pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries. Newer CIP systems are employing turbulent air to clear, clean, and dry the internal surface of process piping, which can reduce the consumption and cost of cleaning water, cleaning agents, and water heating.


Related Information


Engineering360—Dairies Could Clean-in-Place with Water Recycled from Whey


Engineering360—Time vs. Conductivity as a Basis in Clean-in-Place Control Systems


Image credit:


Turner Designs Hydrocarbon Instruments



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