Line cleaning for industrial applications

Ice pigging is a highly effective line-cleaning technique in which ice slurry is pushed through production pipelines to clean and clear away any remaining product or unwanted material left in the pipe.

Integrated in the production process to maximise efficiency, ice pigging can significantly reduce the time and water used in flushing a pipework system. This non-destructive method is suited to a wide range of products in diverse industrial applications, and it can be adapted to maximise cleaning benefits through the sheer wall forces it generates within the pipe.

How it works

A sustainable solution to boost production

In manufacturing processes, increasing the cleanliness of transfer pipes may boost production, improving product yield and reducing spoil.


As part of a preventative maintenance regime, ice pigging can provide a solution for pipes that suffer from restricted flow due to product build-up and other unwanted materials, such as biofilm.

Providing operational support through system efficiency and sustainability

Water in the ice pigging machine is mixed with an additive that supresses the freezing point and controls the structure of the ice slurry, preventing the formation of large crystals.


Depending on the characteristics of the product in the pipe, a compatible additive is selected – such as salt, sugar, various types of acid, or alcohol.


The ice slurry is injected directly into the pipe system via a normal connection point of a valved flange. It can then be moved through the line under pressure. Water may be used to propel the ice slurry through the pipe, or compressed air, or even the piped product itself.


Ice pigging tends to be a rapid process, achieving excellent cleaning results compared with conventional water flushing.


SUEZ’s patented ice pigging technology is a highly effective and proven line-cleaning solution that can be adapted for a wide variety of products and sectors – from food manufacturing to aggressive chemicals and pharmaceutical products.

  • The ice slurry moves like a liquid so it can flow through differing pipe diameters, valves and most pumps and pipework intrusions such as sensors and probes.
  • Greatly enhanced cleaning of complex pipework means fewer cleans are required, and therefore less production downtime.
  • Minimal volumes of water and therefore effluent are involved, compared with conventional cleaning, reducing the environmental impact.
  • The ice slurry can remove materials and residues that have built up over time and, in some cases, may otherwise be impossible to remove without dissembling pipework.
  • Ice pigging reduces product contamination by increasing system cleanliness and reduces spoil (waste/re-work).
  • Residues within pipes can often be recovered for re-work (where appropriate), resulting in higher product recovery rates.
  • The ice pigging machine can be integrated into production to automatically create tailored ice slurry to meet production requirements.
  • Ice pigging can be located so as to clean and recover product from multiple production lines.

What types of products can be removed with ice pigging?

The ice pigging process is highly flexible, making it suitable for a diverse range of products and industries:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Chemical and pharmaceutical
  • Defence
  • Electronics
  • Industrial machinery
  • Paint and coatings
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