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How Extensively Do you Remove Fiitings and Gaskets with each CIP Cycle?

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  • How Extensively Do you Remove Fiitings and Gaskets with each CIP Cycle?


    For many years we have removed every fitting and gasket from our tanks after every caustic cycle, cleaned them in an ultrasonic cleaner, soaked them in sanitizer, and then re-assembled the tank prior to sanitizing and introducing beer or wort.

    This seems to be both gratifying thorough and annoyingly time consuming.

    I was hoping you could tell me what other breweries are doing, so that perhaps we could save some time, or maybe just worry less.


    Frank Helderman
    Terminal Gravity Brewing

  • #2
    Hi Frank,

    Our SOP is after our caustic cycle, we also remove all fittings and gaskets too. We spray alcohol on the parts before we reassemble everything. We never have any problems with contamination.

    My personal thoughts, however, is that most fittings could be checked only a few times a year, since I've never seen any fouling in them whatsoever (like the racking arm).


    • #3
      If you plant has been designed and built correctly, and this includes both the brewing / packaging equipment AND the CIP set, then stripping down is not necessary - that is the whole point of CIP. The big boys use CIP because they DON'T have to strip down kit every clean - imagine taking gaskets out of every valve in a block of say 100 valves every time you clean.

      So a more practical answer for you is to clean a piece of kit and then strip it down and check it has cleaned effectively. Use ATPase swabs as a quick guide on top of visual inspection. If it looks clean and is clean according to conventional swab micro analysis and / or ATP, then the chances are you don't have to strip down every time. I would be tempted to do a series of cleans on an item, stripping down and recording results for key areas, every clean, and if OK every time, reduce the inspection frequency slowly.

      If unsure what a good system consists of, trawl the internet. There are loads of articles / presentations on hygienic design and the cleaning process. Talk to your chemicals supplier - they should be able to give you a whole load of material. If the can't, I would be very suspicious of their competence and would seriously consider moving on.


      • #4
        What Dick said, 100%. That says it all. Make a procedure, test it vigorously, then implement it with confidence. Periodically spot check, and potentially add cycles for mineral deposits or other potential concerns.


        • #5
          Usually after caustic cycle i remove any gaskets that touch beer. (bottom and racking valves, anything in between, sample valves, door gasket).
          Spray ball also often removed and cleaned in case theres any build up on that.
          They cleaned by hand in caustic then sanitiser, then put back with 75% alcohol.

          Gaskets not touching beer on the top or sides of the tank get the same treatment less frequently and usually replaced a few times a year.
          Head Brewer - TDM 1874 Brewery.
          Yokohama, Japan.