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Pump ticks all the boxes for bakery

09 January 2017

Bakeries require a variety of delicate ingredients to be handled gently. Find out which pump one bakery chose, when it set out to update its manufacturing methods. 

Quality and consistency of product is vital for any baker and to achieve this it is necessary to ensure that the ingredients maintain their integrity throughout the production cycle and on to the consumer by employing the right manufacturing procedures and equipment.

One manufacturer of premium branded cakes has worked with AxFlow to assess a variety of pump types to inform its decisions before it updated its method of production of cake mixes and to transfer of ingredients to depositing lines. 

“When our customer was first considering alternative manufacturing methods for one of its latest bakeries, AxFlow was brought in to advise on the types of pumps that could be used,” said Ian Payne, product manager at AxFlow. “The objective was to find a solution to ensure that the quality and integrity of the products that had been achieved using traditional baking methods woul dbe maintained with the introduction of pump technology.” The bakers required a solution that would ensure that texture, flavour, colour, moisture content, density, specific gravity and taste were not compromised by the introduction of new production methods.

During a six-month trial period, AxFlow looked at air-operated diaphragm (AOD), peristaltic, rotary lobe, reciprocating piston, progressing cavity and external circumferential piston (ECP) pump types. “It was the bakers, as opposed to engineers, who had the final say on which pumps would be used,” continued Payne. “Having finally opted for the Waukesha Cherry-Burrell Universal ECP pump, the engineering department at the bakery then conducted a further technical assessment of the suitability of this pump type.”

The outcome was that nine stainless steel pumpsets were supplied, complete with discharge piping and control panels with variable flow control on moveable skids. A year on, and these units were still providing the desired results without any need for maintenance. So, when it came to the customer embarking on the next stage of its expansion the same pump type was specified.

“The ECP is well suited to the bakery industry because it can handle both thick and thin cake mixes without causing any damage to the pumped product,” said Payne. “It combines a very gentle, pulse-free pumping action with the high suction capacity necessary for allowing the thick mix to be drawn into the pump with any separation of the ingredients. The Waukesha Universal pump uses double ‘0’ ring self-lubricating sealing system for all applications, which allows high vacuum to be developed on the inlet side.”

Manufactured from stainless steel and suitable for CIP cleaning, the pump’s close clearances allow the pumping of water against back pressures, while its simple design enables operators to completely strip it down for inspection in situ without the need to remove connecting pipework. Where high viscosity fluids and solids are involved, the large fluid cavities of the rotors, together with the large easy-entry anti-cavitation ports enable efficient pumping. 

There are many applications in the bakery sector where this pump can be used are many. “Where the cake mix contains fruit or there is a requirement for fruit sauces, jellies or fillings to be moved to the depositing line it is essential that no damage or discolouring of the fruit occurs,” continued Payne. The pump’s low shear action means that ingredients always arrive at the depositing line in pristine condition. The same can be said for icing sugars.”

The production of mince pies offers just one example of its capabilities. “With our customer, the mincemeat is contained in IBCs and stored in chillers prior to use,” said Payne. ”The IBCs are positioned adjacent to the pump, which then draws the mincemeat from the IBC and transports it to the pie-fillings lines some 10 – 40m distant. What this shows is that the pump creates sufficient vacuum to draw this delicate yet difficult medium into the pump and then transfers it without any damage into the filling line.”

It is also suited to use with chocolate and chocolate fondant. These potentially difficult materials need to be transferred and metered with great accuracy for the consistency of the product and it is the smooth pulse-free flow that provides the accuracy and repeatability. Equally important is the self-lubricating sealing arrangement, which prevents the chocolate burning in the rotating parts and seals.

Having demonstrated the effectiveness of its ECP pump, AxFlow has now delivered more than 40 units to its customer. It is a solution that allows the bakery to introduce efficient and effective pumping capabilities that dovetail with the traditional methods of baking that have established its reputation as the baker of choice for many leading brand names.

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