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Peristaltic pumps help ice cream maker dose hot sauce with accuracy

28 June 2018

To dose hot chocolate sauce into ice cream one producer has chosen to use peristaltic pump technology. Find out why. 

For nearly 20 years German ice cream manufacturer, Paradies Eis, has been producing almost one million litres of ice cream per year. There are over 50 varieties in the company’s range – from classics such as vanilla to exotic flavours like mango curry.

“Varieties with our acclaimed chocolate sauce or a chocolate coating are especially popular at the moment,” explained Axel Steen proprietor at the Paradies Eis. The company employs the latest 530 peristaltic pumps and tubing from Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group (WMFTG) for the delicate task of adding chocolate to the ice cream.   

The chocolate has to be dosed at a temperature of around 60°C into the ice cream, where the liquid mass then hardens again. Peristaltic pumps were chosen for a variety of reasons.  With no valves, seals or moving parts in the fluid path, peristaltic pumps are a good choice for use in hygienic environments; the pumped media only comes into contact with a food quality tube. Moreover, media is pumped gently and with extremely low shear forces so product quality is never compromised.

Peristaltic pumps also offer high precision and reproducibility, which help maximise product consistency, an important consideration in ice cream manufacture. Further benefits include low maintenance requirements and rapid product changeovers.  However, even within the peristaltic market there are significant differences between pumps, as Paradies Eis can confirm: “We were previously using a peristaltic pump from another manufacturer, which did not deliver the required precision on a consistent basis, and the insertion of the tube was also complicated,” said Steen.  The tube did not locate securely in the track, which meant that the operator often had to make adjustments. After just one year of use, pump reliability and precision declined to a point that the company set out to find an alternative supplier.  

The solution was found in the Watson-Marlow 500 series, a compact range of cased peristaltic pumps for flow rates up to 3.5 l/min. “From the beginning, we noticed that the quality of this pump was completely different to that of our previous pumps,” explained Steen. “It runs quietly and evenly and performs reliably with a high degree of accuracy. We have recently purchased our third ice cream machine and fitted it with a peristaltic pump from WMFTG,” said Mr Steen.

Depending on the ice cream recipe, the pump delivers up to 70 litres of chocolate sauce per hour. The 530 series pump is operated via a keypad with large buttons and a clear colour display for easy operation with gloved hands in a production environment. It promises accuracies of ±0.5% and has a precise speed control range of 2200:1. The 530 pump is also self-priming and is capable of dry running, while thanks to its robust and simple construction, can be easily operated by different personnel, including temporary workers. This is important in a sector such as ice cream, which can witness large seasonal spikes in demand during periods of warm weather, necessitating the employment of temporary workers.  

To ensure reliability and long service life of the pump and tubing, it is important that both are properly matched. WMFTG manufactures both peristaltic pumps and tubing in a number of materials to ensure good compatibility.  The Bioprene peristaltic pump tubing used at Paradies Eis, is USP Class VI and FDA regulation 21CFR 177:2600 for contact with aqueous food, at operating temperatures up to 80°C.  

“With our old peristaltic pump we had to change the pump head after a year, but with our WMFTG pumps we have never had to change a single pump head,” concludes Steen. “Tubing merely needs to be changed from time to time, which is quick and easy. As our order books are full, we really do not have time for maintenance-related downtime.”

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