Biofilm can lead to various issues, such as impacting on quality - where rigorously tested and monitored water fails to meet the quality testing criteria, and becomes unsuitable for GMP production (pharmaceutical). Other challenges could be reduced flow rates, heightened energy consumption and potential contamination risks.
Traditional cleaning methods may fall short in completely eliminating biofilm - this is where the innovative technique of Ice Pigging becomes a viable alternative.
How Ice Pigging Works
Ice pigging is a cutting-edge cleaning method that uses an ice slurry to remove biofilm from the inner surface walls of pipework. The process involves introducing an ice slurry into the pipeline using hygienic equipment designed and built by Nivalis, which is then pushed through using water. The physical characteristics of the Ice Pig enable it to conform to the shape of the pipe and effectively remove biofilm.
Advantages of Ice Pigging for Biofilm Removal
1: Precision cleaning: Ice Pigging provides precise cleaning, reaching significantly more pipe surfaces compared to traditional pigging due to its physical characteristics.
- Its ability to adapt to the pipe's shape (e.g. changes in pipe diameter) ensures a thorough removal of biofilm without causing damage to the pipeline itself. Ice Pigging provides an effective medium for biofilm removal due to the enhanced sheer wall forces exerted on the pipe system. Moreover, it can seamlessly flow through variable pipeline diameters in a single run.
- The ice is pumped in at relatively low pressure and low flow rates (Nivalis automated equipment control these parameters accordingly to setpoints adjusted to the client's system limits).
2: Enhanced results: Ice Pigging serves as a crucial step in complex biofilm remediation projects, specifically in the physical removal of biofilm. This, in turn, allows the application of other biofilm remediation methods for enhanced results.
3: Less chemical use: Unlike some traditional cleaning methods that involve the use of harsh chemicals, the process uses a Freezing Point Depressant (FPD) also called “the additive” that in most cases is formed from 5% sodium chloride solution, minimising the generation of hazardous waste and reducing the environmental impact associated with pipeline cleaning.
In certain cases, for improved biofilm removal results, the consideration of alternatives like sodium hydroxide as a FPD can be explored, depending on the client's application, materials of construction etc.
4: Reduced downtime: The Ice Pigging process is time-efficient, minimising the system downtime required for pipeline cleaning.
Ice Pigging is suitable for a wide range of pipeline materials, including metal, plastic and composite materials. Its versatility makes it applicable in various industries, from water distribution systems to pharmaceutical manufacturing.
6: Non-abrasive: The Ice Pig's physical characteristics ensures that the cleaning process is non-abrasive to pipeline materials, preventing damage to the interior surface of the pipelines. This makes it a safe and effective solution for delicate applications where abrasion could be a concern.
7: Low risk: The worst that can happen if the ice blocks the pipe is the time it takes for the Ice Pig to melt!
Ice Pigging is a great solution for biofilm removal in pipework as it offers an effectiveness, combination of precision and operational efficiency, and low risk.
Ice Pigging service can be tailored to client requirements, including documented Nivalis equipment sanitisation prior to a service visit, or flexible Nivalis team hours at the customers site to minimise production system downtime.
Ice Pigging is a tried and tested, reliable and effective method for combating biofilm and ensuring the smooth operation of pipelines. Nivalis have many years experience and expertise gained across a wide range of manufacturing sectors over many years.
Get in touch with us now to find out how Nivalis Ice Pigging can support your business.