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Save energy and cut costs

11 March 2019

Lesley Eaton explains how progressive cavity pumps can help reduce waste and energy in a variety of applications right across the food processing plant. 

Whether for transferring product from one place to another, adding specific quantities of ingredients, or removing waste, pumps are ubiquitous throughout the food production environment. The benefits of using progressive cavity (PC) pumps are numerous: they are able to handle solids as well as liquids, including sticky and viscous products while maintaining product integrity; high suction lifts of up to 9m; accurate batch dosing; hygienic cleaning-in-place capabilities; and easy installation and operation.

There are other good reasons to specify a PC pump – They are extremely energy efficient.

Reduced energy use
Unlike piston, diaphragm and peristaltic pumps, PC pumps produce low pulsation flow and require smaller drives and motors for the same duty. 

Unlike air-operated pumps, they run on a direct energy source, without the conversion of electricity to compressed air. This helps reduce the energy required to run the pump. Some of the more intelligent pumping solutions on the market can deliver even greater energy savings. For example, by optimising the clamp between the rotor and stator, and using a variable speed drive, SEEPEX has created a pump that can be up to 20% more energy efficient than traditional PC pump designs.

PC pumps only run when product is actually in the pump – they do not pump dry –  and this makes them more energy efficient. In the brewing industry, compressed air has traditionally been used to transport materials such as spent grain and hops. SEEPEX has successfully replaced this system with a PC pump solution for one of its brewery customers, which has resulted in significant reductions in energy costs.  

The same principle applies to waste removal. Vacuum removal of by-products uses large amounts of energy, as systems are left to run dry for long periods of time using large motors to generate the vacuums required to move heavy items such as chicken carcasses and whole chickens. Here SEEPEX has replaced vacuum systems with open hopper PC pumps to reduce energy use at several of its customers’ sites.

Because PC pumps deliver a constant flow rate of product to process lines when used in dosing applications they ensure the correct amount of product is dispensed, ensuring consistent output. However, this accuracy also reduces waste – unlike pulsating pumps, which can cause uneven distribution of ingredients and result in particles getting caught behind the check valves, overdosing is not needed. Only the specified amount of ingredients is required, helping to keep down the costs of raw materials. 

Reduced water use
Flume systems use water to move by-products in industries such as fish processing, salad and vegetable handling, and poultry and meat processing, amongst others. However, by using a BTM open hopper pump, SEEPEX has removed the need for water flumes at a number of our customers’ sites, cutting the use of a valuable resource and saving operators money. 
Lesley Eaton is business development and marketing manager at SEEPEX UK.

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