Cre­ative so­lu­tion solves pump ser­vice life is­sue

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - PRODUCT WATCH -

Some­times parts

that are pro­vid­ing re­li­able, long-last­ing ser­vice can sud­denly be­gin to fail when the con­di­tions change. Such was the case re­cently for lead­ing Queens­land food and bev­er­age in­dus­try pumps and clean­ing sys­tems provider Euro Pumps, who needed to raise the tem­per­a­ture from 55oC to 75oC at an abat­toir.

The abat­toir had re­cently var­ied their live­stock mix, and the 20° in­crease in tem­per­a­ture was nec­es­sary to cope with changes in fat and blood ad­he­sion and soil­ing on pro­duc­tion line equip­ment. The in­crease in tem­per­a­ture was ef­fec­tive in clean­ing the pro­duc­tion line equip­ment, but it caused an un­ex­pected side- ef­fect – the ny­lon- cased Clean In Place (CIP) pump valves be­gan to fail in­cred­i­bly quickly.

The ini­tial so­lu­tion at­tempt was to cus­tom man­u­fac­ture new valve cages from stain­less steel, which brought about other is­sues caus­ing the stain­less- steel springs to break and fail. Fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions showed that the spring break­age was at­trib­uted to the stain­less steel bind­ing on stain­less steel, so the so­lu­tion was elec­tro- coat the springs, how­ever this did not prove to be a lon­glast­ing so­lu­tion as the coat­ing quickly wore off.

A sug­gested anti- seize type com­pound was not an op­tion due to the hot ( 75˚C), high pres­sure (100 Bar) wa­ter flow­ing through the sys­tem. By this time the cus­tomer was get­ting anx­ious and the prob­lem needed to be solved quickly.

Euro Pumps Prod­uct Devel­op­ment Man­ager Joanne Field says they were stumped, un­til they asked Cut To Size Plas­tics for some help. “I called Cut To Size’s Tech­ni­cal Sales Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Camp­bell Parminter, who im­me­di­ately started think­ing out­side the box,” she said.

“Af­ter ex­am­i­na­tion of the orig­i­nal cages, ma­te­rial iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and a check for chem­i­cal com­pat­i­bil­ity with com­mon ad­di­tives to wa­ter, Cut To Size iden­ti­fied that the fail­ure was due to ac­cel­er­ated chem­i­cal degra­da­tion due to the el­e­vated heat in a chem­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment and not just heat, as was first sug­gested,” she ex­plained.

Cut To Size rec­om­mended a spe­cial high per­for­mance poly­mer to solve the prob­lem. This test poly­mer was highly suc­cess­ful and has passed a stan­dard ser­vice life test of 1,000 hours. Fur­ther test­ing is still un­der way and both par­ties are ex­pect­ing it to far ex­ceed the stan­dard 1,000 hours.

“The so­lu­tion was a great ex­am­ple of how team­work be­tween sup­pli­ers and cus­tomers can yield out­stand­ing re­sults. Be­fore we con­tacted Cut To Size, some of these pumps were wear­ing out in as lit­tle as one week and our clients need a much more re­li­able per­for­mance than that. Camp­bell and I en­joy work­ing to­gether on solv­ing prob­lems,” said Field. “Now they’re not only last­ing the in­dus­try stan­dard, but we are aim­ing to well ex­ceed it, pend­ing the re­sults of fur­ther test­ing.”

CLEAN I N PLACE SYS­TEMS

Higher safety de­mands faced by food, bev­er­age and agribusi­ness pro­ces­sors and pack­agers are driv­ing de­mand for ad­vanced en­gi­neer­ing plas­tics to with­stand the de­mands of the lat­est clean­ing and hy­giene sys­tems.

Clean in Place (CIP) sys­tems, enzyme sys­tems and asep­tic pack­ag­ing are im­por­tant ar­eas where such plas­tics can of­fer high per­for­mance in terms of re­sis­tance to tem­per­a­tures, ra­di­a­tion, chem­i­cals and wa­ter.

Ef­fi­cient food pack­ag­ing equip­ment no longer has to be dis­as­sem­bled for clean­ing, be­ing fit­ted in­stead with a built-in “flush” (or CIP Clean in Place) sys­tem, says Frank Do­ma­jnko, QLD man­ager of the na­tional and in­ter­na­tional plas­tics spe­cial­ist, Cut To Size Plas­tics

Acid- based clean­ing so­lu­tions are au­to­mat­i­cally routed through CIP ma­chines’ plumb­ing so the tear- down and set- up cy­cles that pre­vi­ously took many hours can be re­duced to a mat­ter of min­utes.

Bet­ter hy­giene and equip­ment util­i­sa­tion out­comes are also pro­duced by ad­vanced agribusi­ness sys­tems where en­zymes are used for clean­ing tanks and equip­ment such as ul­tra­fil­tra­tion mem­branes or heat ex­chang­ers in the dairy in­dus­try, for ex­am­ple.

“Both CIP and enzyme sys­tems make de­mands on the ma­te­ri­als with which they come in con­tact. CIP sys­tems are gen­er­ally acid­based or, more com­monly, chlo­rine-based. De­pend­ing upon the con­cen­tra­tion, these clean­ers can be mod­er­ately to ex­tremely caus­tic. Plas­tics such as our high- per­for­mance poly­mers can be highly re­sis­tant to acid and chlo­rine. At the same time, THEIR non- por­ous sur­face re­sists stain­ing, clearly out­per­form­ing widely used al­ter­na­tives,” said Do­ma­jnko.

Se­lect­ing the cor­rect ma­te­ri­als for their di­men­sional sta­bil­ity, ex­cel­lent wear re­sis­tance, high strength and their abil­ity to be used con­tin­u­ously at higher tem­per­a­tures also make it an ideal can­di­date for re­plac­ing stain­less steel com­po­nents. For ex­am­ple, cou­pled with its stiff­ness and ease of fab­ri­ca­tion, high per­for­mance plas­tics are com­monly used in food presses. Here too, the ma­te­rial re­sists the highly- chlo­ri­nated sani­tis­ing so­lu­tions.

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