If you work in food processing, you know the industry relies on hygiene. If food is not handled properly or becomes contaminated, it can spell disaster for large and small companies and the supermarkets and restaurants they supply.
Hygiene is perhaps the number one concern for food processing manufacturers. However, just like other businesses, food companies must remain profitable. So, in addition to cleanliness, companies also focus on minimizing product waste and maximizing energy efficiency.
While you can’t always control the source of your ingredients, you can control the equipment you use. One of the most important pieces of equipment in food processing is pumps.
The food processing industry requires a lot from pumps. They must be able to:
- Handle different types of liquids, from low to high viscosity
- Accomplish loading, unloading and transferring functions
- Handle a broad temperature range
- Ensure hygiene and protection from contamination
- Handle routine cleaning/sanitization
There is one pump that can handle all food processing demands while keeping energy costs down for manufacturers: the air-operated double-diaphragm (AODD) pump.
The versatility of AODD pumps makes them ideal for a variety of industries, but they are the clear choice for the food and beverage market because they:
Are shear-sensitive: The pumping action is gentle on the product being pumped.
Can handle solids: They can pass solids without damage to the pump or the product.
Are self-priming: Unlike some other pumping technologies, AODD pumps are self-priming and do not require positive inlet pressure to prime.
Are run-dry capable: The pump will not be damaged if it runs dry. It is very common for pumps to run dry, especially at the end of a batch or tank transfer.
Are easy to clean/sanitize: AODD pumps are simple to disassemble and clean. Some can go through a clean-in-place (CIP) process in which the pumps can be flushed and sanitized without being disassembled.
Meet required certification levels: AODD pumps are available in a wide range of certification levels (3-A, FDA and the 1935/2004 Food Contact Materials Standard) to meet the stringent needs of the industries they serve.
Are grounded for safety: AODD pumps can be grounded and do not require electricity to operate. This is critical for safety when pumping flammable food products like alcohol or spirits.
Are portable: They can be easily moved and only require compressed air to operate.Can handle a wide range of viscosities, pressures and flow rates: With flow rates of up to 234 gpm (886 lpm), AODD pumps provide a wide range of flows. They can handle pressures up to 125 psi (8.6 bar) and just about any fluid that can flow up to 90,000 cst (415,500 ssu).
Have a low initial purchase price: In most cases, AODD pumps cost significantly less than other positive displacement pumps, such as lobe, gear or progressive cavity.
- Offer a highly polished surface finish of 32 microinches
- Are CIP capable
- Offer a rotating pump stand for pump drainage
- Are third party-certified and tested
When considering what type of pump will work best for your application, the most important questions to ask are:
- What certification levels (if any) are required?
- What is being pumped?
- How will the pump be sanitized/cleaned?
- What is the budget?
For an industry as scrutinized as food processing, it’s critical to choose a pump that can handle a variety of liquids at broad temperature ranges, ensures hygiene and handles routine cleaning and sanitization. Obviously, making sure your production process complies with the law and regulations is essential.
If you choose the wrong pump, you’re opening up your company to potential lost revenue and litigation, as well as a public relations disaster.