In recent years, various U.S. manufacturing plants have closed. Census Bureau data reveals a loss of more than 73,000 manufacturing establishments from 2001 to 2014, a 21% decline over that timeframe. Food and beverage plants are not immune to this trend, with many companies closing facilities, cutting staff, and consolidating employees into fewer plants. With sometimes only a single operating plant, efficiency becomes more important than ever before. Clean-in-place (CIP) systems, often overused, must be optimized to save time, water, chemical and money.
The food and beverage industry is constantly evolving, shaped by economic, scientific and environmental forces. I’ve worked in the industry for over 30 years and have seen the emphasis shift toward efficiency and sustainability. Not only do these changes demand optimization of systems such as CIP within each plant, they magnify the potential benefits of working with a team of trusted specialists.
Big Picture CIP Optimization
When looking for ways to boost efficiency, plant managers often turn to CIP. While CIP presents opportunities to conserve resources, the process still inherently requires a certain amount of water, chemicals and energy. With that in mind, managers should take a holistic approach to optimizing their CIP system and process.
Consider taking the following steps toward CIP optimization:
Assess the situation: Managers should ask: Is my CIP system underperforming compared to industry standards? The majority of CIP systems run unvalidated, using the original settings, which means many systems haven’t been fine-tuned to perform optimally or adjust to changes in the plant’s production process. Evaluating where a plant stacks up involves auditing current cleaning procedures and measuring the current water, energy and chemical usage, as well as cycle time. Diversey’s CIPCheck is a knowledge-based solution designed to assess and improve cleaning results, maintain microbiological standards and safeguard food safety. Using CIPCheck and working with a sector specialist will provide an accurate picture of how a plant’s CIP system is performing and create a clear path forward to optimization.
Monitor progress: Once managers have decided on next steps, the best way to see if the adjustments are paying off is to analyze the data. Accurately measuring flow, conductivity and temperature can indicate that the cleaning cycle has met certain parameters, but those attributes alone do not measure cleanliness levels. Another Diversey solution, CIPTEC, gathers data on soil levels using spectrophotometer sensors. When the sensor data is combined with traditional metrics, it enables a thorough analysis of the CIP cycle.
Keep up with trends: As managers focus on CIP in their quest for efficiency, innovations will continue to push the industry in new directions. Today, dynamic CIP monitoring gathers key data and stores it in the cloud, then presents it on a coherent dashboard. This is a fast and effective way to discover anomalies in the CIP process and correct them right away. Keep in mind that data and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence will continue to shape the way food and beverage plants operate and managers will need to adjust accordingly to compete.
CIP optimization has taken center stage in food and beverage manufacturing as efficiency and sustainability have become top priorities for businesses. Managers should seize opportunities to reduce costs and water usage by actively assessing and improving their CIP systems. They should work with a specialist to access their wealth of knowledge and bring in an extra set of eyes. Through it all, plant managers, and anyone involved in food and beverage, should stay apprised of trends and technologies rapidly reshaping the industry.
My Experience With Diversey
I’ve been with Diversey since 1986 and now oversee a team of sector specialists that help our customers across the food and beverage industry. I was involved in the rollout of Diversey’s DryTech solution for beverage processors, which eliminates the need for water as a delivery vehicle in conveyor lubrication. In the U.S., droughts in Georgia and Texas created demand for this solution and reminded the industry that water is a finite resource.
Over the years, I have seen firsthand the power of a team of experts with experience-driven knowledge. Without an extra informed set of eyes, plants risk overlooking and perpetuating wasteful or unsanitary practices. This happens frequently, especially in the realm of CIP. Sector specialists employ a depth of knowledge to overcome issues and create value by optimizing operations. They manage long-term projects and educate sales representatives on good manufacturing practices so they can provide the most productive interaction possible in customer-facing situations.