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Chemical Cleaning

Filtration 2 


Introduction to Chemical Cleaning


Typical process equipment and piping get  both organic and inorganic substances deposited on them, coming from the fluid being processed such as water, crude oils, petroleum products, lubricating oils, chemicals etc. etc.  These deposits or sometime called fouling need to be removed time to time to prevent damage and maintain efficiency of operation.  Chemical cleaning is the use of chemicals to dissolve or loosen deposits from process equipment and piping. Chemical cleaning is a process which primarily uses chemical solutions to remove fouling from inside plant and equipment.

The chemical cleaning is performed in many industries in the commissioning of new plant facilities and during operational turnarounds of existing plants. The use and purpose of chemical cleaning varies in commissioning vs. operational scenarios.


Pre-commission Chemical Cleaning


Critical plant and equipment requiring higher levels of cleanliness are often chemically cleaned. Critical equipment is equipment whose operating conditions require higher levels of cleanliness due to operating temperature (steam systems) or systems whose continued integrity requires higher levels or cleanliness (lubrication systems) or systems whose product purity is dependent on a clean system (oxygen, food grade and paint production systems).

The purpose of this cleaning is to remove manufacturing and construction contaminants that would be detrimental to that equipment’s operation. The cleaning may be undertaken for degreasing of preservatives and organics and the removal of mill scale and rust from the systems.


Operational plant chemical cleaning: Operating plants and equipment are chemically cleaned for several reasons:

1. Removing deposits that cause reduced productivity of the equipment.
2. Removing deposits that cause overheating and corrosion of the operating equipment
3. Removing vapors and deposits that cause environmental and safety issues when opening equipment for inspection and maintenance.


Operational Plant Chemical Cleaning Process Description


The sanitary aspects of producing chemicals, drugs, food or beverage products are of extreme importance. Plants must meet high hygienic standards to avoid a product's degradation and contamination during operation and extremely high safety risks.  Plant cleaning must be carried out quickly and thoroughly. The cleaning requirements are best met with the set up our of a portable Cleaning-in-Place (CIP) systems that are engineered to clean any size system.


CIP systems offer fast, efficient and reliable cleaning of all types of process plants. We execute methods designed to clean complete systems of plant equipment and pipeline circuits without dismantling the equipment or with minimal dismantling. 


CIP is a closed system where recirculating cleaning solution is applied (often with nozzles) that cleans, rinses and sanitises equipment. The CIP system is usually automatically controlled and the cleaning sequences are given the optimum timing for efficient cleaning of all parts of the plants.


 A typical CIP system performs the following steps:


  • Flushing in order to eliminate residues
  • Alkaline cleaning operation : alkaline detergents dissolve organic residue and cleaning where harder deposits have occured
  • Intermediate water rinse
  • Acidic cleaning operation : for neutralizing the caustic remaining on the surfaces of the plant or removing scale buil-up. The acidic detergents remove mineral deposits in the equipment (especially warm or hot fluid lines)
  • Final water rinse : Cold water purges out the residual acid solution