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MasoSine pump for AAK Foods

21 February 2012

The Runcorn plant of food manufacturer, AAK Foods, has exchanged an ageing progressive cavity pump for the latest MasoSine pump. It decided to make the swap after reading about the MasoSine in a trade magazine.

Time is of the essence
INTRO: The Runcorn plant of food manufacturer, AAK Foods, has exchanged an ageing progressive cavity pump for the latest MasoSine pump. It decided to make the swap after reading about the MasoSine in a trade magazine.BYLINE: By DAVID STRYDOM
PIC FILE NAME: AAK 01 PR.jpg & AAK 02 PR.jpg

BODY: A progressive cavity pump is a type of positive displacement pump that transfers fluid by means of the progress, through the pump, of a sequence of small, fixed shape, discrete cavities, as its rotor is turned.

AAK Foods initially tried a progressive cavity alternative. The company specialises in the development, production and application of edible oils and fats for the food manufacturing and baking industries, as well as for foodservice and retail. Customer focused and results orientated, AAK says its success is built on its ability to provide value-added solutions, rather than one-size-fits-all products.

AAK UK is based in Hull, in the North, where it operates a large edible oils refinery. With additional manufacturing facilities in Oldham and Runcorn, it is part of AAK, a manufacturer of high value-added speciality vegetable fats.

It was in the Runcorn facility that the company tried the progressive cavity alternative. However, it found that it was taking three hours to strip, clean and rebuild, which was far too long for a company that often undertakes short runs. As a result, it turned to a MasoSine SPS4 sine pump, which proved a far more suitable solution, offering higher performance levels and quicker strip-down times.

AAK Foods, which employs about 200 people at its Runcorn site depending on seasonal demand, has – by its own admission – several progressive cavity progressive cavity pumps on site that are approaching the end of their useful life.

The pumps are used to transfer product from intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) to depositor feed hoppers on the filling lines - an important part of the process. However, for thicker viscosity products, this area had become a bottleneck. When engineering manager, Ian Roberts, began his search for a modern equivalent, the result was a trial with a progressive cavity pump.

"Because these pumps now have an extra chamber, we found it was taking 2-3 hours to strip, clean and rebuild," he says. "We have a lot of short runs here - sometimes only 1-2 batches, so losing three hours to change product is simply out of the question. I knew I had to start the search again."

By chance, Roberts read a trade magazine article about a food manufacturer that had enjoyed considerable success using a MasoSine SPS pump from Watson-Marlow. Deciding to find out more, he contacted the local sales representative who was able to advise a suitable specification of pump – in this case a MasoSine SPS4 model.

"We have many different requirements for our pumps," explains Roberts. "They have to pump everything from thin dressings to coarse grain mustards and everything in-between, representing a big range of viscosities. Furthermore, we need a gentle acting pump so the particulates within our foods are not destroyed in the transfer process."

The pump's impressive suction capacity of 0.85 bar allows fast and efficient transfer of high viscosity products from the IBC to the filling line. Furthermore, its gentle, low shear action and large pumping chamber helps preserve and maintain product integrity.

The single rotor design and inherent one shaft one seal allow for ease and speed of maintenance and strip down. In addition, the 91.2 m³/hr, pumping capacity is twice that of the original progressive cavity pumps. Importantly for AAK, strip down is also remarkably easy and fast.

"We can strip the MasoSine SPS4 pump down to component level for cleaning in just 7-8 minutes," says Roberts. "It then takes 20-25 minutes to clean, but only because of the dwell time in cleaning solution required to ensure sterility. We then rebuild, which takes only 10 minutes. All-in-all we’re up and running again within what we describe as the 'magic' hour."

With a number of other progressive cavity pumps facing end-of-life replacement, Roberts concedes it would make perfect sense to look at another MasoSine when the time arrives to replace the next one.

"While we might be able to source lower cost alternatives, the MasoSine is superior in every way, ultimately making it better value for money. When we add in the fact that Watson-Marlow is very supportive, then there really isn't a better solution for our business."

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