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Cheese plant improves phase separation of whey, water and CIP detergent with optical sensor

A cheese plant was able to detect phase separation and reduce product loss in the Clean-in-Place (CIP) process with the accurate and quick response of Endress+Hauser’s optical absorption sensor installed inline. The plant was also able to reduce waste and shorten rinse cycles by using conductive technologies. Operators determine when the pre-rinse is complete with information from the optical sensor, instead of relying on guess work and timing.

cheese maker raking cheese during phase separation process

Performing multiple CIP operations without losing quality

Determining phase separation between whey, water and CIP detergent in a cheese plant’s CIP operations is essential to ensuring efficient cleaning and removal of whey from the system. This becomes more complicated with multiple CIP operations performed per day, as was the case for a cheese plant that performed five CIP operations a day. The monthly chemical costs were over $1,700 / 30-gallon drum. With 3-4 drums in use / month, chemical cost monitoring was a big priority for this plant.

Better quality control with phase separation sensor

By installing an Endress+Hauser OUSAF11 optical phase separation sensor using visible and near-infrared wavelengths of light, operators are able to determine when pre-rinse and CIP cycles are complete. The sensor also helps reduce product loss by monitoring interface levels, suspended solids and turbidity.

Why was the absorption sensor OUSAF11 the solution for the job?

• The OUSAF11 stands up to CIP processes

• The OUSAF11 sensor can be operated continuously up to 194°F (90°C), and up to 266ºF for up to two hours, allowing it to be used in hot CIP processes

• Can be calibrated without having to remove sensor from process line

OUSAF11 optical absorption sensor
Liquiline CM44P transmitter

Cost savings, reduced CIP cycle and more improvements

• Each CIP cycle was reduced by 15 minutes

• The plant used 32% less CIP chemicals. The customer saved over $5,000 in the first 3 months on chemicals alone

• Cost savings from reduced energy, water usage and wastewater production

• Increased equipment availability for processing by more than 1 hour / day

• After implementation, drum usage went from 3-4 drums to 2-3 drums / month

You can learn more about optimizing your own CIP process in our article, Optimize Clean-In-Place (CIP) processes in the food industry”!