Clean-In-Place Systems Add Efficiency To Filling Process
While it is, without a doubt, a good idea to keep an entire packaging system clean while also performing routine maintenance, a little extra attention given to the filling machine may often be a necessity. The reason for this is simple. The liquid filler is the only packaging machine to have direct and extended contact with the product being packaged, running product from a bulk source through plumbing, tubing, nozzles and more to complete the filling process. For packagers running multiple products in a single day, cleaning the filler to avoid cross-contamination can eat in to precious production time. A Clean-In-Place system, or CIP, can help reduce downtime for cleaning and changeover.
As an oversimplified example, let's imagine a company that is producing two different perfumes using the same packaging line, running each product for one half of the day. After running the first product, and absent a CIP system, the operator or operators of the packaging line may need to disassemble major portions of the filling machine to ensure a clean start for the second scent. This could include unhooking the tubing connections and nozzles to thoroughly clean and flush the first product, among other chores. The breaking down, cleaning and reassembling of components can be a very time consuming project. However, with a CIP system, this process becomes unnecessary.
Generally speaking, CIP systems allow the product pathway to be cleaned using water, product or some other cleaning solution. Rather than disassemble and hand wash components, the CIP allows the operator to simply use the operator interface found on most automatic fillers to set up the cleaning process. The touchscreen interface allows an operator to set the number of cycles as well as the duration time for the cleaning process. Once started, the product pathway opens to allow the cleaning solution to run through the product pathway, including plumbing, tubing and nozzles, to remove debris. Spray balls will typically be used in tanks to clean and drain any residue as well. Once the CIP cycles have completed, the filling machine will be ready to start production on the next product!
Of course, the details of cleaning, such as solution used, cycles necessary, actual design and more, will depend on the products, the machines and other characteristics of each individual packaging project. But CIP systems on automatic bottle fillers will reduce downtime for cleaning and changeover to allow for more actual production during the work day. To learn more about CIP systems or Liquid Packaging Solutions' Filling Machines in general, contact a Packaging Specialist at LPS today to discuss your own project.