Phase separation during CIP. Measuring turbidity during CIP cleaning exemplified by the Berchtesgadener Land Dairy

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The Berchtesgadener Land Dairy, founded in 1927 as a dairy cooperative with 54 participating farmers, now comprises more than 1800 member farms. The dairy was already processing organic milk in the early seventies and had developed strong partnerships with organic associations, DEMETER and later also Naturland. In 1976, the Berchtesgadener Land Dairy merged with the Chiemgau Dairy to form the Milchwerke Berchtesgadener Land Chiemgau eG headquartered in Piding, Germany.

On a daily basis, the 280 employees at this ultra-modern dairy process 600,000 liters of milk into familiar and popular dairy products. The company generated a turnover of over 167 million euros in 2008. The ecological principles of the Berchtesgadener Land Dairy are closely linked with the safe and careful refinement of its milk products.

This requires the highest standards in technology and hygiene. Anderson-Negele, a longstanding partner, has made a valuable contribution in the field of process sensors to help the company meet these standards.

All devices that come into contact with the final product must be carefully cleaned to eliminate bacterial contamination. CIP systems (CleaningIn-Place) clean modules that come into contact with the process, such as tanks, piping and sensors, without it being necessary to dismantle the system parts, thus ensuring a high availability of the entire production plant. In the food industry, the CIP system is therefore an essential, permanent component necessary for maintaining quality standards and meeting hygienic regulations during production. The automation of the CIP process requires reliable sensors that meet the stringent requirements for chemical resistance and withstand rapid and frequent temperature fluctuations, thus ensuring a reliable process flow.

The CIP system of the Milchwerke Berchtesgadener Land Chiemgau eG was entirely rebuilt in 2007 and now consists of 10 cleaning circuits for the raw milk area, the production plant and the tanks. An additional five circuits are used to clean the milk tankers.

The CIP/SIP process

The CIP process monitors the flow of solvents for the pre-rinsing, cleaning and final rinsing operations, which are performed with acids, bases and water. The cleaning-in-place process itself involves several closely coordinated process steps:
  • Pre-rinse with warm water
  • Alkaline cleaning phase
  • Intermediate rinse
  • Acidic cleaning phase
  • Disinfection
  • Final rinse
To eliminate the risk of bacteriological contamination, CIP cleaning is sometimes followed by sterilization with steam reaching 130 °C (SIP, sterilization-in-place). The CIP cleaning can either be designed as a no-recovery/single use system or as a recovery system. In the “no-recovery system”, the cleaning solution is pumped from the batch tank into the CIP circuit and discarded after the cleaning step.For environmental and economical reasons, the Berchtesgadener Land Dairy uses the recovery system. The acids, bases and rinse water in the CIP system circuit are transferred via piping to the production system and then back to the reservoir and storage tanks. In this way the cleaning agents can be used numerous times by adding only small amounts of fresh cleaning agent.However, the cleaning agents can only be reused if all agents are completely separated from each other