Tank cleaning equipment

Demonstration of drastically reduced cleaning time

Alfa Laval reduces vessel cleaning from 18 hours to 23 minutes

Alfa Laval held a free demonstration of the Alfa Laval GJ A6 for a pharmaceutical company in Alabama. The demonstration went so well that the pharmaceutical company challenged Alfa Laval with cleaning their dirtiest, most difficult to clean vessel in the plant.

The 300 gallon tumbler contains yellow dye for pill coatings, and is approximately 15’ x 12’. The company was manually cleaning the interior of the vessel which typically took between 8 and 9 hours to clean and 90% of the time it failed inspection. Therefore, the team would take another 8 to 9 hours to clean it, but 50% of the time it failed inspection again. Even after the tumblers finally passed the swab test, the company was not unfamiliar to contamination from the tumbler causing lost batches. The yellow dye in the tumbler is used in the highest produced, most expensive drug the company manufactures and the downtime was too much. The dye in one tumbler makes up to 4 million coated tablets. Not only was the current cleaning ineffective and time-consuming, but the manual labor was subject to injury and the overtime pay was adding up.

The Alfa Laval GJ PF was selected as the right rotary impingement cleaner for the job. Operating at 220-240 PSI at 50 – 60 GPM and creating 18 lbs. of impact, the device was inserted into the dirty tumbler. First, they ran the machine with ambient water for a 5 minute pre-rinse. Then the ambient water was mixed with sodium dioxide caustic for a 13 minute cleaning cycle, followed by a water-only 5 minute post-rinse.


The employees at the pharmaceutical company were shocked when the tank was not just cleaner than ever, but it took a fraction of the time. A cleaning process that once took up to 18 hours or more was reduced to 23 minutes! A PO was quickly placed.

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