While the idea of adding costs to a food and beverage or pharmaceutical industry process like Clean-in-Place/Steam-in-Place (CIP/SIP) has not traditionally been an easy decision, in today’s industrial environment that has changed. With the retirement of experts, the lack of availability of workers, the increase in materials costs and narrowness of margins, the principal way for food and beverage and pharma companies to improve the bottom line is through enhancements to productivity and reduction in costs for water, power, air, product loss and downtime. That can only be accomplished through automation.

As industry professionals know, CIP/SIP data collected from sensors that signal the completion of the cleaning/sterilizing phase and the beginning and completion of the rinse phases has typically been gathered and reported manually. As part of their busy schedules, personnel read the screen of the measurement devices, write it down, and get the information to whoever is responsible for restarting the process. The information collected by the sensors, aside from the restart, is wasted, trapped in the measurement device and doing no one any good. And that’s a problem because CIP/SIP is very expensive.

Process operations utilize a wide range of utilities such as water, steam and chemicals, consuming nearly 30% of a plant’s resources. Facilities can spend significant amounts of time in changeovers costing tens of thousands of dollars per hour in downtime. The manual efforts in checking and reporting CIP/SIP can cost $20-40K in labor alone. The chance to save a lot of that money makes the consideration of automating the process a critical decision. For example, an average customer can reduce water consumption by 20-35% and operators can save over 20% of their time.

The decision to make the CIP/SIP process “smart” and automated becomes even easier when you realize that it can be done easily and cost-effectively, without the need for costly system changes, when you use machine-level edge technologies. Edge analytics, control and reporting can be done on an individual process line and scaled as needs and costs require. Users can get immediate access to resources such as multi-media monitoring to reduce utilities waste, automated cleaning reports reducing human error and optimizing changeover time, and improved production and visibility allowing trends and benchmarking for continuous process improvement.

The addition of intelligence begins at the sensor level with Emerson’s RosemountTM smart process sensors for conductivity, pH and more, and the Emerson AventicsTM Series AF2 Flow Sensor with its built-in diagnostics and protocol compatibility that helps detect costly compressed air leaks. The intelligent sensors integrate seamlessly with Emerson PACSystemsTM edge computing systems and controllers, which collect the data and analyze it at the machine level, making it immediately available for local action. In addition, using Emerson PACEdge and MoviconTM automation software, the analyzed data is displayed in easy-to-understand charts and reports and is communicated instantly to the decision-makers at the process, plant and corporate levels.

Now, what was an expensive CIP island of data becomes a vital, money-saving source of information and improvements. Utilities are saved by immediate sensing, analysis and automated control. Process downtime is shortened because operation begins immediately after CIP is successfully completed, without waiting for workers to get around to it. Less process is wasted since the CIP system is more precisely and accurately controlled. Reports can be tracked against “Golden Batch” information to determine when individual process trains or entire plants are not meeting optimum standards. Even traceability and visibility are enhanced for reporting and compliance.

Most importantly, these capabilities can be added simply, affordably and incrementally as required. ROI is fast, trapped data and the CIP island of automation are freed to make and save the company money, and while energy and utilities costs are drastically reduced, the company also builds a more sustainable future.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.