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03.21.2017 13:24 Age: 1 year
Category: Case Studies

Major Food Packager Processes Solids Effectively With BJM Pumps

The Companies


R.F. MacDonald Co., an industrial pump supplier and service provider that has supported thousands of pump systems throughout California and Nevada since 1956, has been working with a leading food packaging company for the past five years. This major food packaging company packages a wide range of food products - everything from syrups to sauces, fruit juices and purees to diced fruit and compote fillings. No matter what variety of cartons, tin cans, squeeze bottles, pouches, or individual portion cups, their central California- and Kentucky-based food packaging facilities run 24/7 to distribute high quality food products across the country.


A Relationship Built on Proven Performance


This major food packager was first introduced to BJM Pumps in 2011 when R.F. MacDonald Co. suggested that the central California facility use a Fahrenheit® Pump for one of their shallow sumps. This particular sump was only 2.5 feet deep and would catch any stray fruit pieces that did not make it into the hopper. The pit was so shallow that the standard submersible pumps installed there had frequent problems with overheated motors. Most submersible pumps are typically submerged in the pumped liquid to keep the motor cool; but in this case, the pit was not deep enough to fully submerge a standard submersible pump. For this reason, R.F. MacDonald Co. recommended the BJM Fahrenheit® Pump, which is designed to operate in liquids at temperatures up to 200-degrees Fahrenheit. The food packaging plant went ahead and installed the Fahrenheit® Pump into the shallow sump, and even though the motor sticks out above the sump, the Fahrenheit® Pump works perfectly for keeping that sump clear. The Fahrenheit® Pump has been in that shallow sump for the past five years and is still running well with no problems.


Since then, the central California facility has replaced eight of their pumps with BJM Pump models. The successful BJM Pump installations at their central California food packaging facility prompted the food packaging company to begin systematically installing BJM Pumps at both their California and Kentucky-based facilities.  


In 2014, the central California food packaging facility began installing their first set of BJM Shredder Pumps into four separate sumps. The food packaging facility had been using standard ‘wastewater’ pumps that constantly clogged and caused headaches for the maintenance team. The maintenance team had been pulling the pumps once a week to clear the clogs from the impellers, then reinstall them into the sump. With so much maintenance time spent on clearing clogs, it was clear that the wash down sumps required a different solution. The BJM Shredder Pumps have proven themselves quite valuable for the central California facility, which is why they consulted R. F. MacDonald Co. in January 2016 when it came time to replace the pump operating in the Kentucky plant’s central sump.


The Challenge


The central sump collects wash down water from the other four sumps. The four sumps pump wash down water containing fruit debris into the central sump, which then pumps the slurry to a solids separator. The cast-iron submersible pump that had been operating in the central sump had become worn out and needed to be replaced.


The food packaging plant’s maintenance manager worked with R.F. MacDonald Co. and considered the following requirements for replacing the pump:

The new pump would need to handle solids effectively
. With several pieces of fibrous fruit, such as pineapple, apples, and oranges, it was important that the pump would not become clogged during operation. The submersible pump operating in the central sump was considered a “critical” pump and needed to operate reliably no matter how much fruit debris entered the sump.


        The new pump had to be corrosion-resistant. The plant has several food packaging lines and all the lines must be sterile for each and every food packaging process. Before a line can start a new food packaging process, it is cleaned with special wash down chemicals that meet food-grade requirements. The cleaning solution is caustic; and while the cleaning chemicals are highly diluted by the time they enter the central sump, they would still have a corrosive effect on cast iron pump components. This had been the case with the old pump operating in the central sump; over time, the caustic chemicals in the wash down liquid had worn out the cast iron pump that had operated in that sump for many years.  

The new pump had to be rated for 24/7 continuous duty. The food packaging plant runs 24 hours a day, and wash down occurs 3 times each day - every eight hours. If one building finishes a process and brings in a different product, they have to wash down the line before beginning that new process. The pump in the central sump starts and stops frequently - often 6 to 8 times a day. It was critical to select a pump that could handle continuous pumping with lots of starts and stops.


The Solution


R.F. MacDonald Co. recommended a BJM Submersible Shredder Pump that would meet the facility’s requirements for the central sump. The SKX Series Submersible Shredder Pump was recommended and the following features about the SKX55 model were shared with the maintenance manager:


To address the issue of solids in the sump: The SKX is specifically designed for industrial shredding applications and uses an engineered Tungsten Carbide Tip Fang­™ impeller. This cutting impeller cuts against a spiral-shaped diffuser plate to continuously rip apart solids with 360-degree shredding action. Pieces of fibrous fruit would be not match for this pump! 

To avoid clogging issues: The SKX is manufactured with non-clog, single-vane impellers designed for high volume and lift performance. This submersible shredder pump has been proven to cut and pass solids up to 3.5 inches in size, while delivering high liquid volume at up to 700 GPM. Any fruit shredded by this pump could be easily passed to the solids seperator. 

To prevent corrosion and extend pump life: The SKX is manufactured from 316 Cast Stainless Steel, making it a perfect solution for the central sump because all the internal components of the SKX55 that would be exposed to the pumped slurry would be able to stand up to the pH of the wash down liquid. This pump would have a longer life in this specific application because the impeller, wear-plate, oil housing, pump-housing, and inner pump top are all made of 316 Cast Stainless Steel.

To Ensure 24/7 Continuous Duty
The SKX55 offers Three Seal Motor Protection which means the following:
-The motor is protected with an oil-lubricated double seal design. 
-The double mechanical seals are comprised of a lower seal made of silicon carbide/silicon carbide and upper seal faces made of carbon/ceramic.
-An additional lip seal is installed above the impeller to help prevent abrasives from entering into the seal chamber.
-The motor overload device protects the motor from thermal and amperage overloads. Utilizing winding protection and (NEMA) Class F motor insulation, the SKX is superior to pumps with Class A and B insulation because the (NEMA) Class F motor insulation allows the motor temperature to raise up to 230°F. An automatic switch turns the pump motor off if the temperature and/or amp draw raises too high. When the motor cools, the switch is designed to automatically reset and the pump will once again begin operating.


The decision-makers at the food packaging plant approved  R.F. MacDonald Co.’s recommendation, and one SKX55 Submersible Shredder Pump was installed into the 8-foot deep central sump at the Kentucky food packaging facility. The SKX55 Submersible Shredder Pump has been working very well in the central sump, efficiently sending the slurry to the solids separator,  which extracts the liquid from the pulpy fruit particulate and sends it to the food packaging plant’s on-site wastewater treatment facility where it is then treated to appropriate PH levels and discharged into the municipal wastewater sewer system.


The food packaging company has had great experience with various BJM Pump models over the past five years and have systematically replaced pumps that were removed from service at both their California- and Kentucky-based facilities. They have made it a priority not just to replace their pumps but to improve them.