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Transferring viscous liquids – the secret is in the seal

17 August 2020

A confectionery manufacturer set out to find a better pumping solution, in a bid to reduce maintenance downtimes due to mechanical seal failures in its lobe pumps handling viscous liquid. 

The transfer of highly viscous liquid sugar syrups can be a troublesome application for many types of pump. Take for example the lobe pumps used by a Brazillian fruit jelly sweet manufacturer, where production engineers were becoming frustrated with unscheduled maintenance and downtime due to pump failure. 
 
Alongside its fruit jellies, the company had just launched two product lines, marshmallow and fruit stick candies which were developed to suit Brazilian tastes. The lobe pumps employed on the lines were failing due to their ineffective mechanical seal design. Maintenance involved the removal of lobe pumps for offsite repair, supported by the implementation of a standby pump to maintain continuous production. 

Although the factory was managing to keep pace with demand, there was a clear threat to achieving continuous production. In combination with the cost disadvantage associated with ongoing lobe pump maintenance, the company decided to take action and the engineers set out to find a better and more reliable pump technology.
 
At an industrial exhibition Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group (WMFTG) representatives listened to the challenges set out by the sweet production engineers and after gathering details about the challenges posed by the application the MasoSine pump range with triple lip seal system was recommended as a solution. The triple lip seal is inexpensive to maintain and does not require any external lubrication sources, making it a good solution both operationally and financially.
 
Unlike traditional mechanical seals, the triple lip seal system of MasoSine pumps is not affected by products with a high sugar content. Conversely, sugar syrups can make the mechanical seal faces of lobe pumps stick together, almost like glue, when the pump is not running for any period. 
 
The trial, which replaced a lobe pump with a Sine pump was declared a success in the fruit jelly sweet manufacturing application and following the trial four MasoSine pumps were ordered to transfer viscous liquid sugar syrups at temperatures of between 60 and 70°C, and flow rates up to 4,600l/hr. 
 
Not only have maintenance and downtime costs been reduced, but the new pumps are outperforming their lobe pump predecessors in this critical process with less component losses. 


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