Considerations and steps for preventative and on-going CIP pump maintenance
Clean-in-place (CIP) systems offer a cost-effective solution for continued safe production and operation in personal-care products, pharmaceutical, and food manufacturing facilities. They can be highly efficient when used properly, reducing the need for intrusive system cleaning or maintenance. More importantly, a CIP process plays a key role in ensuring product quality and purity by establishing safe and clean baseline conditions before a process can start.
CIP systems are effective in cleaning cracks and crevices that might be prone to the growth of bacteria or other micro or even macro bio-organisms. They can also be used to clean process piping and components from larger foreign material elements such as silt or other deposits.
To help prevent safety, quality, and downtime issues, you need your CIP systems to run at its peak performance. Arguably, one of the most important components of a CIP system are the CIP pumps — the main source of energy for the cleaning process. Given that CIP pumps are usually higher flow rate and higher pressure and typically pump harsher chemicals, they typically have higher operational demands than process pumps. Without the CIP system available, manufacturers can risk regulatory non-compliance, production shutdown, product contamination, or damage to existing process equipment. That being said, the intermittent need for operation of the CIP pumps creates the perfect opportunity to establish a robust and bulletproof maintenance program.
Below, we discuss some of the minimum prerequisites in establishing a robust maintenance program for CIP pumps.
Optimized Preventive Maintenance
CIP pumps get exposed to considerably rough operating requirements through the normal course of pumping harsh chemicals throughout the production circuit and therefore need to be cared for regularly. Caustic or corrosive CIP cleaning chemicals at high temperatures are not very forgiving, and adequate preventative maintenance (PM) is critical for extracting the designed service life of the pump.
For example, common PM tasks for CIP pumps may include re-lubrication using approved lubricants, Megger and insulation checks on pump motors, or inspection, servicing, replacement of wear components such as impellers/rotors, bearings, shaft spline, seals, or gearbox components.
By performing these routine pump inspections and maintenance, the risk of catastrophic pump failures can be largely mitigated. Replacing any or all worn components of the pump prior to failure helps to prolong the useful life of the pump, and to prevent critical functional failures from taking place.
A computer maintenance management system (CMMS) can help set up and schedule those PM work orders or inspections well in advance according to the required time intervals. It helps minimize repeated manual data entry by automatically creating PM schedules for future occurrences as well as ensuring process consistency through a fixed scope and sequence of task execution under each PM.
Overall, a CMMS gives manufacturers the ability to schedule maintenance, prompt procurement of spare parts, send alerts to technicians when a PM is due, and increase access to resources that make planned PM work orders quicker to execute. The result is a streamlined process that helps PM programs to flourish.
Centralized Maintenance Database
A centralized maintenance database, such as a CMMS, can offer some very useful functionalities, one of them being the ability to automatically document everything related to a maintenance job in one system.
For example, for each executed work order, a CMMS can record labor time, labor costs, the number of personnel needed, parts and inventory costs, asset history, and other key information with each task your maintenance team completes. This can help in future instances of similar scope of work to better predict resource commitments and to prioritize accordingly.
Additionally, the ability to track assets on an equipment level and gain insights on their prior failures or degradations can help the leadership teams on many decision-making fronts. For example, if you notice that the work order completion reports or cause codes identify that the seals on your screw-type CIP pumps fail more often than your process pumps, then that may be a timely reminder to consult the OEM about the seal material suitability for your CIP system design.
All this data can be used in multiple ways. CMMS software also offers reporting tools that enable maintenance managers to quickly produce status reports and visualizations that can help provide actionable insights to the leadership teams.
Access to Documentation
Accessibility of documentation is a key aspect of consistency of knowledge transfer. In today’s world, where staff turnover is higher than in previous generations, this is another often under-appreciated aspect of organized maintenance management.
Documentations such as OEM manuals, operating procedures, warranties, and media files (videos and images) capturing maintenance procedures and prior executions are valuable resources for all maintenance teams no matter how seasoned or specialized. A CMMS can help provide easy access to the documentation by associating with corresponding pumps in the field. Capturing and maintaining this knowledge base creates consistent procedures and workmanship. It also preserves that knowledge and helps in mentoring new personnel.
Spare Parts & Inventory Tracking
Whether you are using a screw, rotary, diaphragm, or any other type of CIP pump for that matter, the bill of materials for spare parts is usually a very long list and is often multilayered with parent-child components. Therefore, it is very important to have access to spare part information such as specification, part type, and model numbers to ensure seamless execution of maintenance work.
Additionally, having capabilities of inventory tracking and part traceability can add additional value in work execution and completion. For example, such functionalities can help ensure that critical spare parts have been ordered based on lead times and work schedule, and that they are available on hand prior to the execution of preventive or corrective maintenance work orders.
When CIP pumps are properly maintained per OEM’s specifications, they can typically be overhauled or rebuilt a few times before it needs to be scrapped and replaced with a brand new unit.
Establishing a solid maintenance program can help realize a considerable amount of savings over the pump’s lifetime that may have otherwise been foregone through the cost of a new pump, production downtime, and the labor cost if it needed replacement following premature failure.