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Vacuum pumps: many roles in bakery production

27 June 2016

Many degassing, cooling and ingredient handling tasks in bakeries could benefit from the use of vacuum pump technology. Suzanne Gill reports. 

Vacuum pump technology might not at first thought be considered as an obvious fit for bakery production, however, on closer inspection there are actually many applications where it can be utilised to ensure consistency of the product, improving process efficiencies and reducing energy consumption. According to a spokesperson from Busch Pumps, key examples of this include:

Dough degassing: In many industries the degassing of moist products is one of the most important applications in the baking process, if the mixture is imperfect then the finished product will be inferior.

Vapours and moisture are extracted under vacuum from the processed material using a range of technologies. The Busch dry claw Mink vacuum pump, for example, offers a contact free, dry running (no oil in the vacuum chamber) and energy efficient solution.

Conveying of materials: Pneumatic conveying of bulk goods – from silo to process – using vacuum pumps or blower, is a proven and efficient method for transporting ingredients quickly and reliably within a bakery production site. The compact and robust Busch Tyr rotary lobe pump, for example, can supply vacuum or blower solutions for this activity.

Vacuum cooling: Using vacuum for the rapid cooling of baked products can significantly reduce the cycle time from baking to packaging, helping to save time, and increase productivity.

Reliability is key in such an application and the Busch R 5, oil lubricated rotary vane pump has been proven in the food processing industry across the globe. Additional process and operational benefits can be achieved by systemisation incorporating R 5 or COBRA dry screw vacuum pump sets.

Addressing safety issues
For as long as there have been flour mills in Europe, the potential for dust explosions has been an important issue and it is a vital consideration in all installations where combustible dusts are found.

Protection and safety can be achieved by ensuring that only equipment that is reliably explosion proof is used. Devices must not present any ignition source in any area threatened by dust explosions.

Busch ATEX certified vacuum pumps and blowers provide the necessary level of safety and protection, by reducing these risks. It is vital that only pumps and blowers, with the correct ATEX certification, are considered for use in any potentially explosive applications.

Reducing energy consumption
There are many ways that vacuum technology can contributed to a company’s energy saving initiatives if correctly specified so it is important to specify the correct size, flow rate and installed power rating for pumps and blowers.

There are further energy saving opportunities from systemising the vacuum services. Upgrading or replacing old technology with modern energy efficient units – along with IE3 high efficiency motors also offers energy savings, as well as utilising the most up-to-date process improvements such as vacuum cooling.

Conveying issues
Conveying ingredients can be a very challenging for many bakeries and it requires detailed knowledge of the product to be conveyed, distances, pipework design, weights and transfer rates to ensure that the correct vacuum pumps or blowers are specified so always make sure that you use your vacuum suppliers knowledge and get them to provide you with a detailed consultancy.

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