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Partnership on food industry project

16 March 2011

Customised food manufacturing machinery specialist, Delta Food Systems, has partnered with Watson-Marlow Pumps Group on the implementation of a pumping production station designed to transfer viscous meat mixes for savoury products such as sausage rolls

Two machines are currently being commissioned ready for installation at a leading food manufacturer based in the UK.

Delta Food’s Technical Director John Pratt and his business partner Steve Maltby founded the company three years ago. Based on more than 30 years’ experience in the manufacture of machinery for the food industry, the company already employs eight people at its Leamington Spa headquarters.

Most of Delta Food’s customers are tier one suppliers to the main supermarkets, and when one particular client needed a solution to help deposit meat mixes on a new line, Delta began the process of designing the machine’s chassis and thinking about the pumping requirements.

The chassis supports a hopper that holds 250kg of meat at maximum capacity. This is fed to an auger box before entering a pump that feeds material into a 10-lane distribution head which deposits the mix into 10 equal portions in either spot deposit or continuous mode.

Pump identification
The highly viscous meat mix and solid particulates up to 30mm in size means that no ordinary pump will suffice.

“I had built similar machines previously that were based on a tri-lobe pump,” explains Mr Pratt. “However, the handling capability is quite harsh and this can lead to shearing problems where it breaks the material down. Furthermore, tri-lobe pumps don’t offer an even flow – the mechanism is more geared towards pulsing.”

For these reasons Delta Food Systems turned to a pulse-free MasoSine pump from Watson-Marlow, which is capable of displacing a perfectly even volume with each revolution.

“The MasoSine pump is one of the best on the market because it doesn’t degenerate the material, even when large solids are involved,” says Mr Pratt. “It’s also very good with regard to hygiene, which is obviously a priority in the food industry. It can be stripped completely for cleaning within 2-3 minutes.”

Pump specification: “The size of pump selection is relative to the size of particulate being transferred,” says Mr Pratt. “Working in partnership with Watson-Marlow we determined that the MasoSine SPS2.5 would be the ideal model.”

The MasoSine SPS series is ideal for all industrial and sanitary applications involving high pressures (up to 15 bar). Capacity is up to 91.2m³/hr, while the range’s gentle, low shear action makes it well suited to the safe pumping of highly viscous materials.

The single rotor design helps preserve and maintain product integrity and eliminates the need for fragile timing gears associated with rotary lobe pumps. The other inherent advantage that comes with the single rotor design is, 'one shaft, one seal', resulting in lower maintenance and life ownership costs.

Working in close liaison with Watson-Marlow proved to be the key to a successfully delivered solution.

“Watson-Marlow helped specify the correct type of seals and scraper gates that were required to handle the specific viscous meat mix being transferred,” says Mr Pratt. “This level of co-operation is vital if the end user is to enjoy longevity of machine service.”

The secret ingredient
“The trick to the whole operation is getting the material from the auger box into the pump in a controlled manner, especially as the meat mix is very heavy,” explains Mr Pratt.

The company worked with Watson-Marlow to fit the MasoSine SPS2.5 with servo-drives able to stop and start the pump in a controlled way and create individual portions. Alternatively the system can deposit and leave a gap if required, before depositing again. The whole machine is PLC controlled with a user-friendly HMI that allows operators to switch recipes with ease. Each machine is 1.5m square and although very robust can be easily moved around on a pallet truck.

Delta Food Systems has used MasoSine pumps previously for various other material transfer and deposition machines used by food industry customers, and the relationship looks set to continue in the future. In fact, Andrew Ashton, Food and Beverage Sales Specialist for Watson-Marlow Pumps Group, is already working on another project with Delta Foods Systems.

“One of my customers in the northwest approached me about a project where the product, not dissimilar to sausage meat, needs to be force-fed into the pump before being transferred into a multi-lane depositor,” says Mr Ashton. “Together with Delta Food systems have already devised the perfect solution to their pumping problems.”

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