Filling Machines and Clean in Place Systems

Filling Machines and Clean In Place Systems

Cleaning a filling machine can take a good amount of time if the entire machine needs to be disassembled to clear out the product pathway.  Downtime, of course, means no production, which can eat into profits.  One advantage of automatic filling machines is the opportunity to include a Clean in Place, or CIP, system on the machine.  This system works through the PLC of the filling equipment to make cleaning the fluid pathway quick and simple, leading to increased production time and profits.
Rather than disassembling the machinery, the operator of the filling system simply supplies the cleaning solution, be it hot water or other cleaning fluid.  From the operator interface, the operator of the filling machine can then set up the parameters for the cleaning process.  Though the settings may differ for various machines, the operator will normally be able to set the number of cycles for the cleaning process as well as the duration of each of the cleaning cycles.  The cleaning fluid will then run through the filling machine tubing and through the nozzles along the entire product pathway to clear and sanitize the lines.  Product tanks normally come equipped with spray balls that will spray and sanitize the tanks during this process as well.  No disassembly is required and, as you can see, the operator assistance is minimal.
CIP systems are extremely helpful for facilities that run a number of different products through the same filling machine, and even more so when dealing with products that can contaminate one another.  The CIP system is likely to be found most often when dealing with foods, beverages and pharmaceuticals, though other industries may take advantage of the CIP system as well.  Not only do the CIP systems clean and sanitize the product pathway of the liquid fillers, but they also allow the operators of a packaging system to attend to other tasks while the cleaning of the filling machine takes place.  Rather than disassembling and cleaning filler components, the operator of the line can simply push a button and walk away while the cleaning takes place.  Finally, regular cleaning of the product pathway can also extend the useful life of the liquid filler by removing product build up, dust and debris that may otherwise cause issues with the packaging machinery.
Of course, the CIP system only cleans the product pathway.  Care should also be taken to keep the filling machine clean on the outside, including any filler components and accessories, such as drip trays, conveyors and sensors.  Combining the CIP system with routine cleaning and maintenance of the non-product pathway components of the filling machine will keep production running smoothly and efficiently.
Liquid Packaging Solutions can include a CIP system on a number of different filling machines, including overflow fillers, gravity fillers, pump fillers and piston filling machines.  If you have questions regarding the Clean In Place system for filling machines, or questions on filling machinery in general, contact one of our Packaging Specialists toll free at 1-888-393-3693 today!