Pumping Insights: blog

Features That Pumps Must Have for Food and Beverage Applications

Posted by John Wawrowski on Jun 25, 2020 1:59:28 PM
John Wawrowski

Bottles of Juice on Conveyor BeltMaintaining hygienic processing conditions and preventing contamination are perhaps two of the biggest priorities during food and beverage processing operations. Food that is not handled properly or becomes contaminated can have a detrimental effect throughout the supply chain.

You can experience leaks, loss of flow, unplanned downtime, lost revenue, safety risks for your employees and even environmental issues if fluid escapes your facility. To achieve and maintain hygienic conditions and prevent contamination, the food and beverage industry employs a wide range of pumps for various processing applications.

Pumps are some of the most important pieces of equipment in food processing. Along with having to handle both low- and high-viscosity fluids, pumps used in this industry must provide solutions to these processing challenges:

  • Handling a broad temperature range
  • Managing routine cleaning/sanitization
  • Ensuring hygiene and protection from contamination
  • Accomplishing loading, unloading and transferring functions
  • Complying with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines as well as other international certifications such as EC 1935

Choosing the Right Pump

Choosing the right pump is critical and requires careful consideration. While there are many different pump types and properties, the diverse capabilities of an air-operated double-diaphragm (AODD) pump make it a popular choice for the food and beverage transfer applications.

Why AODD?

AODD pumps are known for reliability, safety and simplicity in fluids, slurries and solids-laden transfers. AODD pumps:

  • Run dry without damaging the pump or system
  • Pump solids-laden fluids without pump or product damage
  • Are self-priming and can dry-run
  • Deadhead safely with no pump or product damage and seamless restarting
  • Do not shear or separate the product being pumped
  • Require no electricity and can be fully grounded to ensure safe operation of the pump
  • Have a low initial purchase price and require no additional setup controls, making them a great value compared to other pumping technologies
  • Can be submerged completely without safety or performance issues
  • Have a seal-less design and require no expensive mechanical seals or packing
  • Offer variable flow and head pressures and perform without sophisticated controls
  • Can be run in continuous or intermittent cycles without damaging the pump or the system
  • Have a variety of porting options, including bottom discharge to address a wide range of fluid characteristics

Because pumps are crucial to keeping your systems running properly, it’s important that you select the type that best meets your needs. Regardless of whether a pump is a food-grade air diaphragm pump or a centrifugal pump, for food and beverage applications, it must:

Be FDA-Compliant

The materials that make up a pump are key to ensuring the pump is FDA-compliant. Because the FDA regulates many food products, all pump components must comply with the FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 21 Part 177 for materials that come in contact with food and beverages. Santoprene, Polytetrafluoroethylene or Teflon (PTFE) and stainless steel are several popular options for FDA-compliant food processing AODD pumps. For a superior surface finish, some manufacturers offer additional mechanically polished and electropolished stainless steel materials.

Provide options for Leak Detection

When pumping costly fluids like those used in the food and beverage industry (i.e., sauces, oils, beer, wine), leak detection products are beneficial because they allow you to monitor your pump’s diaphragm integrity through visual, electronic or mechanical leak detection systems.

  • Visual Leak Detection: Allows you to accurately identify if a diaphragm is ruptured by simply inspecting the exterior of your pump
  • Electronic Leak Detection: Allows you to remotely monitor your pump’s diaphragm integrity using a modular control and two detection probes
  • Mechanical Leak Detection: Consists of a pneumatic valve that opens in the event of a diaphragm failure, which in turn activates a customer-supplied solenoid signal (or similar device)

Be Constructed for the task at hand

AODD pumps used in Food and Beverage applications are constructed by either clamping or bolting the mating parts together. If your pumps are part of a batch process like salsa or barbeque sauce requiring regular and frequent equipment tear-downs for cleaning and sanitation, then clamped construction pumps are ideal as it typically takes less time to take apart, clean, and re-build. If your process takes much longer and equipment is not torn frequently such as a winery fermentation and pump-over process, then bolted pumps may be more ideal as bolted construction pumps are generally more robust and leak-tight over a long period of time.

Offer Bottom Discharge Porting

Most AODD pumps have discharge ports on top of the pump so any fluids containing settling solids struggle to pass through and can remain stuck inside. Bottom discharge porting can help eliminate damage and frequent maintenance caused by solids settling in your pump as gravity assists with helping the fluid pass through. Other porting options or check valve types may provide you with improved suction lift. When choosing an AODD pump manufacturer, choose one that has experienced application engineers on staff to help you determine the best pump size and porting configuration for your application. Not only will this increase your pump’s performance life and efficiency, but it’ll also save you time and money.

Need a Pump?

Now that you know which features pumps must have for food and beverage applications, find the right pump for your project. Whether your application includes food filling and packaging, product batching and transfer, recirculation and fermentation pump-overs, SANDPIPER is here to help.

We’re capable of providing pumping solutions for the food and beverage market with high-quality, cost-effective products backed by best-in-class warranties and certifications, including 3-A, FDA and the EC 1935/2004 Food Contact Materials Standard.
For more information on our selection of AODD pumps for the food and beverage industry, visit our pumps page.

Topics: AODD Pumps, Food and Beverage

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