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Automating Food Transfer for Batch Control & Traceability

12 April 2021

Ensuring the production process meets current hygienic and food safety regulations is one of the main challenges facing any wholesale bakery business, when the budget is simply not there to have a fully automated food production system, handling different products in a safe sanitary manner can prove quite difficult. The North Ridge bespoke food grade pump kits are the solution to this. 

A traditional family run bakery established for over 50 years required a fully hygienic, easy to clean mobile pump to transfer Fruit Jams, Toffee Sauce, Fruit curds and Whipped cream. The variety of products posed a real challenge to ensure components did not wear prematurely, that damage could not be easily performed to the pump and that the customer had a low maintenance solution. 

Some of the products are directly dispensed from a cooking kettle into the pump at an average temperature of 100 - 110°C whilst others are incredibly viscous as they are stored in a fridge before being used. The customer needed a bespoke multipurpose solution for their processes, which was sanitary grade, capable of handling all the products in question, suitable for high viscosities and temperatures up to 120°C. It also had to have a very gentle pumping action due to the shear sensitivity of the whipped cream. High temperature liquids can have a negative impact on seals, NPSH and the overall pump lifespan so careful consideration must be taken during pump selection.

Their current procedure involved manually transferring sauces via totes and buckets, however the customer wanted to improve their process to automate food transfer, reduce the likelihood of burns or accidents, and eliminate manual lifting and tipping of containers. They needed a custom cost-effective unit that operates similar to a semi-automatic liquid filling machine. 

We supplied a completely bespoke pump system consisting of one DX hygienic progressing cavity pump, mounted on a mobile trolley, with an integrated control panel. The pump is 3A sanitary certified, which means it is suitable for CIP (cleaning-in-place) and SIP (sterilization-in-place) furthermore, is specifically designed without dead zones or areas where product can build up ensuring the internal components are fully clean after operation and guaranteeing zero cross contamination when handling different liquids. We also ensured the exterior of the unit was easy to clean by fitting a stainless-steel shroud that covers both the motor and the gearbox.

Besides having an integrated inverter, the control panel has several other safety and operation features, such as start/stop switch, reverse (clockwise/anti-clockwise) switch, emergency stop, alarm for motor overload protection and temperature control sensor, with alarm to prevent damage (dry running protection). 

Control panel features.
Control panel features.

There is also the added feature of controlling the inverter via the panel or by the use of an App through Bluetooth where operators can also view the status of the pump. This feature is extremely beneficial for the customer as the pump has to operate at a slow speed when handling whipped cream.

We are proud to say that thanks to our pump kit the customer improved their production efficiency dramatically, which in the food industry translates as an increase in profitability. The layout enabled users to operate the unit with very little training due to the simplicity of design but also built-in protection ensures the unit cannot be damaged easily.

Based on customer feedback and demand we have further developed our batching kits to enable increased traceability and batch recording. Our recently released ONE Mobile Batching and Transfer Kit allows for easy batch control with its traceability and audit function. Operators can seamlessly control and record batches which include user-name, operation performed, type of liquid transferred and batch reference for full traceability during fluid transfer.  Furthermore, an integrated 24V Contact allows for seamless connectivity when working in conjunction with a filter press, bottling machine, filters or separators enabling full process control.

If you would like to talk to someone about automating a food transfer application contact us on 01773 302 660, via email at sales@northridgepumps.com or visit our website at www.northridgepumps.com to see previous case studies.


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