Pumps for Cleaning In Place (CIP) return processes and NPSH

Pumps for Cleaning In Place (CIP) return processes and NPSH

What is NPSH and why is it important?

NPSH (Net Positive Suction Head) is one of the most used, and at the same time least understood, terms. However, understanding NPSH is essential for the proper installation and use of a pump.

In practice, this is the parameter that helps us determine the correct operation of a pump, without cavitation. “Centrifugal pumps can only pump liquids, not vapors”. Vapors can cause cavitation by greatly increasing volume as a liquid evaporates. For example, 1 m³ of water at room temperature is converted into 1700 m³ of vapor at the same temperature.

How are CIP return processes affected by this?

In Cleaning In Place (CIP) return processes, correct pump selection, taking into account NPSH values, is of great importance. The CIP return process usually has a low NPSH because the liquid to be pumped often contains a lot of air and foam. In addition, hygienic pumps are generally less efficient and have higher NPSH requirements than an equivalent industrial pump.

This means that CIP return processes require hygienic pumps with a strong self-priming effect. To meet those needs, several sanitary pump manufacturers have come up with a number of innovative pump technologies.

NPSH: suction pressure lower than vapor pressure

When the suction pressure drops below the vapor pressure plus the NPSH, the liquid begins to boil. The end result is cavitation: vapor bubbles are formed and hinder the flow of liquid. In addition, cavitation can be very detrimental to the life of a pump. For example, a highly cavitating centrifugal pump can be completely destroyed in a few hours.


With the Hilge SIPLA is a self-priming side channel pump for demanding applications, such as pumping media with a high gas content. The pump offers high reliability and a smooth production and cleaning process. This allows the product and CIP liquid to be pumped with just one pump.

Hilge TPS

The Hilge TPS centrifugal pump is a self-priming pump for viscosities up to 500 mPas. The TPS is characterized by a low noise level, highest efficiency and excellent cleaning properties. The Hilge TPS series is also suitable for both CIP return and product pumping.

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