Alfa Laval is a global corporation known for its products and solutions for heavy industry. It markets and supplies a range of machines for industrial use, including heat exchangers.

Heat exchangers play an important role in the operation of many devices. Their main purpose is to transfer heat from one place to another. The most common example of this is a car radiator, where a solution known as antifreeze transfers heat from the car engine to prevent it from overheating.

Cleaning in place systems, or CIP, help keep a heat exchanger clean. By installing  CIP parts in-line with your heat exchanger, you can service the heat exchanger without dismantling its parts.

Electrician operator inspect and checking heating ventilated and air conditioning (HVAC), air conditioning, electrical service in offshore oil rig platform while worker charging refrigerant in system

Why Use CIP Systems?

Regular maintenance of heat exchanger plates ensures the heat exchanger performs at efficient levels. This is because scale deposits from minerals, such as magnesium, calcium and silica, can form a layer on the heat exchanger. This build-up along the surface of the plate will slow down heat transfer and cause the heat exchanger to overheat.

Traditional cleaning techniques include taking apart the heat exchanger and water jetting the parts. Although this is a simple and cost-effective way to clean the heat exchanger, it may leave as much as 50% of the residue on the heat exchanger parts. This means you will need frequent cleanings, leading to high operating costs.

Technician in factory at machine maintenance working with wrench, top view on the man


Setting up a cleaning in place system means your heat exchanger plates will be cleaned thoroughly and efficiently. Despite the higher costs of installing a CIP system, the financial benefits of the system will offset the initial costs in the long run. Also, no reassembly is required after cleaning, so your normal operations can resume within a short period.

By choosing an Alfa Laval CIP system, you acquire a system that is directly connected to your heat exchanger or separator connection. A mixture of heated non-toxic cleaning agents will be circulated to remove scale, product deposits and bio-fouling. Below is a list of the different CIP systems offered by Alfa Laval.


The Alfa Laval CIP10M is a compact, lightweight and portable system designed for cleaning the bowl, oil inlets and outlets of lube-oil and fuel-oil separators. It connects directly to the inlets and outlets without needing to dismantle the separator. The system is ideal for those desiring a simple, hassle-free system that does not require many spare parts.

CIP 20 and CIP 40

The Alfa Laval CIP 20 and CIP 40 systems also feature simple designs and are easy to use. During cleaning, the CIP unit can be connected directly to the inlet and outlet of the heat exchanger. After mixing the cleaning agent with water inside the tank, the solution is circulated for a few hours before the heat exchanger becomes thoroughly cleaned. This is ideal for those who want to minimize downtime, as you do not need to open the heat exchanger during cleaning.

CIP 200L and CIP 400

The Alfa Laval CIP 200L and CIP 400 both feature centrifugal stainless-steel pumps for circulation. The system directly connects to the inlet and outlet, so you do not have to open the heat exchanger. Also, the CIP 200L and CIP 400 feature a built-in electric heater, so cleaning can be performed at optimum temperatures. The valves are arranged for reversible flow direction, so operation can be done without rearranging the connection hoses.

Detail of a technician opening a valve


The Alfa Laval CIP 200LTS is designed with an air-powered pump and steam heater, which eliminates the need for electric connections. The CIP unit directly connects to the inlet and outlet, avoiding the need to open the heat exchanger and minimizing system downtimes. Steam injection heating ensures rapid cleaning can be done at optimal temperatures. The valves are also arranged for reversible flow direction so it can be easily operated without having to rearrange the connection hoses.

CIP 800L, CIP 1800L, 2800L

The Alfa Laval CIP 200L and CIP 400 units all feature centrifugal sanitary pumps for circulation. Like all Alfa Laval CIP units, the inlet and outlet can be directly connected to prolong the working life of the gasket. Built-in electric cleaners allow for cleaning at optimal temperatures. The valves are also arranged for reversible flow direction so it can be operated without having to rearrange the connection hoses.

Final Thoughts

Alfa Laval is an industry leader in providing top-of-the-line heat exchangers. Its line of cleaning-in-place units are designed to ensure your heat exchangers can be cleaned and serviced easily and rapidly. This is due to the direct connection of the CIP with the inlet and outlet of the heat exchanger, which enables rapid cleaning.