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Solving the problem of transferring viscous product

01 June 2020

A manufacturer of bakery ingredients in The Netherlands turned to a new pump technology following problems encountered when transferring delicate, viscous products by its traditionally used lobe pump. 

Founded in 1956, Sonneveld, a manufacturer of innovative ingredients solutions has built a global reputation manufacturing innovative solutions for the bakery sector. Although the company’s head office and primary production site is in the Netherlands, Sonneveld also has a presence in Belgium, the UK, France, Russia, China, and Hungary, with further sales representation throughout Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East, South America and Southeast Asia. Typical products include bread and cake mixes, glazing agents, marzipan, fillings, marinades and release agents. Some of these offerings – the marinades in particular – are in highly viscous liquid form which proved challenging for the company’s lobe pumps which were encountering problems such as damage to product integrity and blockages during transfer

Sonextra Pomodori (tomato-based) is a ready-made marinade designed for use in various bread products, from wheat to white bread. The product minimises bakery loss as bread products approaching their use-by date can be reprocessed into a savoury snack. 
 
John de Vos, maintenance engineer at Sonneveld’s Papendrecht plant, explains more about the problems the lobe pumps were encountering. He said: “Some of our Sonextra marinades contain fresh herbs and have a greasy- consistency based on natural fats, which proved challenging for our lobe pump. The lobe pump often crushed the fresh herbs excessively and would regularly block, resulting in a suboptimal product and significant downtime.”
 
The pumps are needed to transfer marinade between IBC containers and 5-litre steel canisters.
 
Excessive downtime
“Each time the lobe pump blocked we lost production as, in order to get it running again, we had to take it apart, which was difficult and time consuming,” explained de Vos. “This meant that both the quality of the end product and downtime due to maintenance were not at the expected levels.”
 
Certa Sine pumps, from Watson-Marlow, are particularly well suited for use with viscous products. However, it was a chance call by a Watson-Marlow sales engineer that alerted Sonneveld to their advantages. “Arthur Van Geet, Watson-Marlow’s food & beverage sales engineer, spoke to us about the company’s Certa Sine pumps,” said de Vos. “We are always cautious about implementing changes to our production processes, but the pump’s features were of great interest, and it seemed a very good match for some of our products.” The company made the decision to undertake extensive trials of the Certa pump.
 
Successful trials
“Right from the start the pump excelled on almost all levels,” said de Vos. “Most important was the impact on product quality. Using the Certa pump significantly improved the quality of the end product as the fresh herbs were pumped gently throughout the process. This resulted in a more aesthetically pleasing product compared with using the lobe pump.”

Maintenance is a vital consideration for the company as de Vos highlights: “The Certa pumps have a completely smooth internal surface which prevents product remaining inside and keeps them very clean. If we want to use the pump for another product, a simple CIP cleaning routine suffices. We rinse the pump with hot water and drain it, then we can start right away with the next product.”  
 
Georges Paans, product specialist at Sonneveld is also happy with the Sine pump technology: “With this pump the fresh herbs in our marinades remain intact and the pump does not get blocked. The pump also transfers less heat into the production process, which means less crystallisation of the marinade, thus improving its consistency.”
 
After favourable trials, Sonneveld decided to replace its traditionally used lobe pump with a Certa pump for its Sonextra marinades. This pump has been operational for about three years, pumping product with viscosities of up to 8,000 cP (containing particulates up to 7mm in size) at rates of up to 5,000 l/hr (at 4 bar). 
 
Some time after installation of the Certa pump, bread production ground to a halt due to a broken twin-screw pump used in another part of the process,” said de Vos. “The pump supplier could not fix the problem quickly and, what’s worse, we were asked to return the pump to them without knowing how much time or money the repair would cost. This was unacceptable, so we decided to call on Arthur from Watson-Marlow again.”
 
A demonstration model of the proposed Certa pump was immediately delivered to the Papendrecht production plant to get production back up and running. “This enabled us to resume production quickly and test the pump extensively in its new role,” said de Vos. “The pump had to transfer a bread improver in the form of a liquid paste with a high viscosity of 10,000 cP at a capacity of 7,000 l/hr (at 7 bar). This proved not to be a problem, and again for this application we were impressed with the results. In addition, the fast action and outstanding service we received from the company, gave us no doubt that we should choose Watson-Marlow once again.”
 
“At the moment, six Watson-Marlow pumps are in use here, with a seventh on order,” concludes de Vos. “The Certa pumps are perfect for us, especially when pumping fats and releasing agents, and the excellent customer service has been an important factor in our decision to continue using Watson-Marlow.”


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