The Runcorn plant of leading food manufacturer, AAK Foods, has swapped an ageing progressive cavity pump for the latest MasoSine pump from Watson-Marlow Pumps Group. The twist in the tale is that AAK initially tried a progressive cavity alternative, only to find it was taking three hours to strip, clean and rebuild – too long for a company that often undertakes short runs. As a result, AAK Foods turned to a MasoSine SPS4 sine pump, which proved a far more suitable solution, offering both higher performance levels and quicker strip-down times.
AAK Foods, which employs approximately 200 people at its Runcorn site depending on seasonal demand, produces over 300 different products and a wide range of value added services for the retail and food service markets. By its own admission the company has a number of progressive cavity progressive cavity pumps on site that are approaching the end of their useful life.
The pumps are used to transfer product from intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) to depositor feed hoppers on the filling lines – an important part of the process. However, for thicker viscosity products, this area had become a bottleneck. When Engineering Manager Ian Roberts began his search for a modern equivalent, the result was a trial with a progressive cavity pump.
“Because these pumps now have an extra chamber, we found it was taking 2-3 hours to strip, clean and rebuild,” he says. “We have a lot of short runs here – sometimes only 1-2 batches, so losing 3 hours to change product is simply out of the question. I knew I had to start the search again.”
Take it as read
Per caso, il sig. Roberts ha letto un articolo di una rivista specializzata su un produttore di alimenti che ha avuto un notevole successo utilizzando una pompa MasoSine SPS di Watson-Marlow. Decidendo di saperne di più, contattò il rappresentante locale che era in grado di consigliare una specifica specifica della pompa, in questo caso un modello MasoSine SPS4.
“We have many different requirements for our pumps,” explains Mr Roberts. “They have to pump everything from thin dressings to coarse grain mustards and everything in between, representing a big range of viscosities. Furthermore, we need a gentle acting pump so the particulates within our foods are not destroyed in the transfer process.”
The pump’s impressive suction capacity of 0.85 bar allows fast and efficient transfer of high viscosity products from the IBC to the filling line. Furthermore, its gentle, low shear action and large pumping chamber helps preserve and maintain product integrity. The single rotor design and inherent one shaft one seal allow for ease and speed of maintenance and strip down. In addition, the 91.2 m³/hr, pumping capacity is twice that of the original progressive cavity pumps. Importantly for AKK, strip down is also remarkably easy and fast.
“We can strip the MasoSine SPS4 pump down to component level for cleaning in just 7-8 minutes,” says Mr Roberts. “It then takes 20-25 minutes to clean, but only because of the dwell time in cleaning solution required to ensure sterility. We then rebuild, which only takes 10 minutes. All-in-all we are up and running again within what we describe as the ‘magic’ hour.”
Fact of life
With a number of other progressive cavity pumps facing end-of-life replacement, Mr Roberts concedes it would make perfect sense to look at another MasoSine when the time arrives to replace the next one.
“While we might be able to source lower cost alternatives, the MasoSine is superior in every way, ultimately making it better value for money. When we add in the fact that Watson-Marlow is very supportive, then there really isn’t a better solution for our business.”
Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group
Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group (WMFTG) è il leader mondiale nelle pompe peristaltiche di nicchia e nelle tecnologie associate ai fluidi per i settori alimentare, farmaceutico, chimico e ambientale