Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Closed

Improving Sanitary Clean-In-Place Efficiency for High Viscosity, High Particulate Materials Processing

Request Number
Due Date
Sep 16, 2015
Program Manager

Nick Kacsandi, M.S.


Client seeks potential partners with the capability to support one or more of the following: Proof of concept leading to commercial scale-up, joint development, licensing, or supplier agreement



Phase 1 - Initial discussions under NDA (Q3/Q4 2015)

Phase 2 - Proof of concept (by Q1 2016)

Phase 3 - Scale up to industrial operations Q2 2016



To be determined based upon the nature and scope of the proposed solution. Funding up to US$50,000 is available for top respondents to demonstrate proof of concept.

RFP was closed on

RFP Title


Improving Sanitary Clean-In-Place Efficiency for High Viscosity, High Particulate Materials Processing
RFP Description
NineSigma, representing a leading North American contract manufacturer and custom formulator for the Consumer Goods Industry, invites proposals for novel technologies to increase the speed and reliability of clean-in-place operations for industrial processing equipment involving high viscosity, high particulate material streams. Proposals describing novel improvements to processes, hardware, and/or software, as well as component solutions such as coatings or surface modifications are of significant interest.

NineSigma’s client manufactures a range of over-the-counter (OTC) and non-OTC products that are characterized by temperature sensitivity, high viscosity and high particulate content. To ensure compliance with regulatory standards, all products are rigorously monitored for bacterial contamination and chemical impurities. These products are processed within a closed system that requires cleaning at regular intervals to prevent cross-contamination and microbial build-up. Current clean-in-place protocols can require upwards of 90 minutes to complete, and often multiple cycles are required to ensure no residual contamination resides within the lines.


The client has conducted thorough optimization efforts to streamline the efficiency of these cleaning processes. However, they are acutely aware that viable technologies may exist within other industry verticals that could have significant impacts on both cleaning time and efficiency in their operations. Examples of such improvements might include – but are not limited to:


  • Surface treatments to eliminate adhesion of residual product inside equipment
  • Sensors to allow more efficient in-line monitoring of contamination profiles
  • Hardware or equipment innovations to streamline the cleaning process
  • Automation and control system solutions
  • Novel cleaning methodologies or processes from other industry applications


Potential partners with technology proposals from across the landscape of industry, academia, research and consulting are invited to respond.


Anticipated Project Phases or Project Plan

Proof of concept

  • Based on laboratory testing, the technology proposed will demonstrate a measurable improvement in the timing or efficiency for cleaning high viscosity, high particulate materials from processing systems.
  • The technology should perform such that testing for bacterial contamination and chemical impurities provides negative results.


Commercial development

  • Prototype testing leading to single installation and eventual plant-wide adoption.
Key Success Criteria

The successful technology will:

  • Achieve one or more of the following objectives:
    • Significantly reduce clean time from baseline
      • Current baseline: >45 minutes per cycle
    • Reliably limit the number of cleanings needed to eliminate contamination to one (1) cycle
    • Reliably limit the need for recurrence of cleaning by extending the current 5-day cleaning interval requirement up to 14 days
  • Be compatible with or adaptable to:
    • Low to high viscosity materials
      • Viscosity range: 1000 to 40000 cp
    • Zero to high particulate materials
      • Size range: 0.01 mm to 2.0 mm size range
      • Percentage by weight: Up to 1%
      • Particulate shapes include flake, cylindrical, spherical
  • Measurably improve upon the cleaning process as it applies to one or more of the following components in the current processing line:
    • Filler
    • Surge tank
    • Lines, hoses, valves, etc.
    • Nozzles
    • In-Line Filter
  • Meet FDA compliance requirements in the end application


The ultimate target for this application is a system-wide clean time of 15 minutes or less to optimize operational efficiency. The client welcomes component solutions or combinations of solutions that enable incremental – but measurable – improvements towards achieving this target.

Possible Approaches

Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:

  • Technologies and equipment that can be applied from other manufacturing or processing applications across industry
    • Food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, electronics and semiconductors, etc.
  • Self-cleaning technologies
  • Coatings or surface treatments to prevent adherence of materials, particulates, microbes, etc.
  • Novel cleaning methodologies, such as ultrasound, UV, etc.
  • Automated systems for cleaning-in-place operations
  • Control systems for cleaning-in-place operations
  • Sensors to monitor cleanliness / contamination profiles on-line
Approaches not of Interest

The following approaches are not of interest:

  • Proposals based upon standard process optimization consultations
  • Technologies that require full cleanroom conditions for operation
  • Technologies that are not industrially scalable
  • Any solution that cannot meet FDA compliance requirements in the end application
  • Any solution requiring significant PPE (e.g. SCBA)
Items to be Submitted

To respond, please make sure you are registered in NineSights, as it will prompt you to log in. Then, use the Response options at the top or bottom of the page. You may submit supplemental files in addition to your completed response form.


Appropriate responses will use the response form and address the following:

  • Non-confidential description of proposed technology
  • Technical maturity of the approach (concept, prototype, ready to commercialize, commercialized)
  • Compatibility of the proposed solution with the requirements outlined in the “Key Success Criteria” section above.
  • Discussion of how to resolve unmet Success Criteria.
  • Performance data, if available and applicable
  • Budget / Cost information, if available
  • Team / Organization description
  • Relevant expertise, experience or background related to the RFP topic area
  • Desired relationship with the RFP sponsor



Responses from companies (small to large), academic researchers, other research institutes, consultants, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, or inventors are welcome.

Award Amount
Up to US$50,000 is available to demonstrate proof of concept
Area of Interest