Food & Beverage: Clean In Place (CIP) Tank Cleaning

tank cleaning for the beverage industry


Industry leaders constantly look for ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of current processes. After all, doing things well again and again – such as consistently producing a high-quality product – builds trust among customers.

For example, fans of your winery, brewery, or distillery will learn to trust your brand if you always deliver.

In the beverage industry, equipment cleanliness goes hand-in-hand with the quality of your product. Follow along as we explore effective and efficient tank cleaning methods for the beverage industry.


Cleaning-in-Place (CIP) vs Cleaning Out-of-Place (COP) vs Manual Cleaning

Three primary equipment cleaning methodologies dominate the beverage industry: cleaning-in-place, cleaning out-of-place, and manual cleaning.

  • The clean-in-place method is self-explanatory. Simply speaking, cleaning-in-place occurs when the cleaning equipment and object being clean stay “in place.” The cleaning equipment is fixed. Water and additional chemical agents are transferred to the equipment through a stationary line, such as piping or a hose.
  • In a COP system, the object being cleaned is transferred to a designated cleaning station. This often involves disassembling and reassembling the system.
  • Finally, manual cleaning sometimes falls into the cleaning out-of-place category. However, the cleaning equipment – namely, a human worker – is malleable, manually sanitizing soiled systems when production has paused.


Which Equipment Cleaning Method is Best For the Beverage Industry?

We believe the benefits of a CIP system outweigh both alternative options. Why?

1. CIP systems save time. The CIP method eliminates the need to disassemble and reassemble complex brewing systems between brews. In a demanding industry, time saved is invaluable.

2. CIP systems save money. High-quality CIP systems are designed to optimize water, chemical, and time usage, utilizing only what is needed.

3. CIP systems protect workers. Manual cleaning can be dangerous. Workers are faced with a number of hazards during the cleaning process, such as close proximity to strong chemicals. In the modern day, workplaces should consider CIP systems to remove employees from needless risk.

4. CIP systems maintain product quality. Unless a mistake occurs during installation, CIP systems remove human error from the equation. Equipment is cleaned in the same way every time, safeguarding product quality.


Tank Cleaning for Wineries, Breweries, & Distilleries

The critical role of cleanliness to produce good beverages in wineries, breweries, and distilleries is not a modern concept.

In his 1867 treatise on winemaking, Peter B. Mead wrote, “There is one item largely concerned in the manufacture of good wine which to save repetition must be insisted upon from the beginning and that is the most scrupulous cleanliness as respects the vessels, persons, and every operation performed.”

Hundreds of years later, Bob Pepi said, “Eighty percent of great winemaking is cleanliness.”

The principle is time-tested: good wine requires a clean winery, and the same applies to breweries and distilleries. To maintain upmost cleanliness, a cleaning cycle has been created, refined, and implemented in numerous wineries, breweries, and distilleries.


The Cleaning Cycle for Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries

The cleaning cycle consists of six steps: a pre-rinse, caustic wash, intermediate rinse, acid wash, final rinse, and sanitizing rinse. Each is critical for optimal results.

1. Cleaning Cycle: Pre-Rinse

The pre-rinse uses water to remove various soils, such as dissolving sugars and removing residue left from the brew. The pre-rinse also wets the interior of the equipment being cleaned in preparation for the following steps. 

2. Cleaning Cycle: Caustic Wash

The caustic wash utilizes a special deterrent, a solution of caustic soda (sodium hydroxide), to remove additional impurities. The caustic wash is especially important to remove organic soils and soften fats.

This step may be completed in two washes. The first is typically drained, while the second may be captured and reused.

3. Cleaning Cycle: Intermediate Rinse

Once again, water is used to rinse the tank and remove access traces of caustic soda. Sometimes, this water is captured to be reused.

4. Cleaning Cycle: Acid Wash

Though not a component of every cleaning cycle, an acid wash is often implemented in breweries to remove beer stone buildup using phosphoric acid.

5. Cleaning Cycle: Final Rinse

The final rinse uses water to flush any residual chemical. After the rinse is completed, the water is drained.

6. Cleaning Cycle: Sanitizing Rinse

Finally, the equipment is sanitized with peracetic acid (a combination of hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid). This step is essential to kill any remaining bacteria and maintain a high-quality brew.


Which Cleaning Nozzles Are Best for the Beverage Industry?

The cleaning cycle is only as good as the cleaning equipment used! Below, we walk through a number of high-quality CIP nozzles designed specifically for the beverage industry.

Static Spray Balls

Static spray ball nozzles have powerful solid stream jets, suitable for cleaning relatively small tanks and vessels. They meet sanitary standards in the beverage industry. However, since static spray balls do not rotate, they require a large amount of liquid to ensure the entire vessel or tank is cleaned.  These nozzles are traditionally used for a light wash or rinse where the cascading water wash or shear stress aids in the cleaning.  The Rinse Clean 5B2/5B3 or 527 are examples of such nozzles, operational in every direction.

Free-Spinning Nozzles

Free-spinning nozzles rotate via the pressure of the cleaning fluid. Positioned at specific angles around a tank, these nozzles provide repeated impact to loosen soils. An example of a compact, free-spinning nozzle is the “PicoWhirly,” suitable for very high temperatures.

Controlled-Rotation Nozzles

Controlled-rotation nozzles for high-impact cleaning, especially important for larger tanks. Though the cleaning fluid drives the rotating head, a turbine wheel controls the rotation to ensure that the speed remains in the optimum range at higher pressures. The Series 5S2/5S3 “XactClean HP” is an efficient and effective controlled-rotation nozzle.

Gear-Controlled Nozzles

Gear-controlled nozzles offer the highest tank cleaning impact, excellent for persistent soiling. Ideal for larger tanks in the beverage industry, gear-controlled nozzles – such as the Series 5TM High Impact Tank Cleaning Nozzle – are hygienically designed.


Lechler: High-Quality Tank Cleaning Nozzles For the Beverage Industry

Regardless of your precise application, proper CIP equipment is essential for creating a clean brewing environment –vital for consistently crafting high-quality products.

At Lechler, we have provided custom-engineered spray solutions for the food and beverage industry for over a century. We understand that efficiency and quality are of high priority to industry leaders, and we craft all our solutions to exceed our customers’ standards.

To learn more about our solutions, give us a call at (800) 777-2926 or complete our online contact form. We look forward to getting in touch!