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Gently does it with twin-screw technology

21 January 2018

Food Processing looks at the benefits that twin-screw pump technology can offer in food production applications. 

Centred on two identical, precision machined screws with identical rear and front profiles, the Waukesha Universal Twin Screw (TS) pump is available in a range of different pitch configurations to provide the flexibility to cope with the characteristics of a wide range of fluids and products found in food processing applications. They are manufactured from FDA compliant materials and are approved to 3A and EHEGE.

The rotating geometry of the twin screws provides a gentle pumping action. In addition it offers a gentle pulse-free flow when compared with other pump technologies such as lobe style or progressing cavity pumps. The pulse-free flow is useful when feeding viscous products into homogenisers or temperature sensitive products into heat exchangers. A suite of different screw pitches were developed to ensure that the pump is just as able to transfer yogurts, or prepared foods containing large delicate solids as it is pumping milk, or meat products.

The twin screw concept also allows for faster running speeds, making it more economical when it comes to less viscous liquids and importantly, their fluid path is smoother than that of lobe type pumps, thereby reducing the likelihood of product separation.

Transferring product and CIP fluids
Having the ability to gently pump a viscous fluid one minute then CIP the next is said to be one of the main benefits of the Universal TS Series. This is because it negates the need for a separate CIP pump with its associated by-pass valve, instrumentation and control system. This can reduce capital costs, space, maintenance requirements and risk. The fact that the screws have identical rear and front profiles allows it to pump in either direction, without any modification allowing it to back flush equipment up-stream from the pump. This facility is particularly effective in cleaning the valves and bottoms of feeder tanks, areas that can be problematic to CIP in many systems.

The use of Alloy 88 non-galling material for the twin screws helps reduce damage to the pump when handling media containing large solids. Front access to product seals makes maintenance easier, large shafts are used to reduce vibration, and a low inlet pressure requirement reduces the chance of cavitation and internal pressure fluctuations.

AxFlow believes the Universal TS will find a wide range applications across the whole of the food and beverage industries.

One meat processing company is already seeing its benefits. The company was looking to convert its process from conveyer belts to pumping products through an extrusion device. However, it encountered difficulties in moving the highly viscous meat. In an almost frozen state the meat could not pull into the existing pump and achieve the pressures necessary to move the product through the pipelines. A solution was found when the meat processer teamed up with its pump supplier to create a system that combined a twin screw pump, with an auger feeder positioned immediately ahead of the pump.

The twin screw pump provided sufficient flow at the low inlet pressures together with the high differential pressures required. As a result the customer was able achieve a smooth and even flow rate. The customer also discovered an additional benefit of the twin screw pump. When the process ran out of meat to fill the auger feeder. The pump did not cavitate nor did it require any special handling to re-prime it.

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