How to Shred the Downtime Plaguing Your Food and Beverage Processing
In a single shift at a food and beverage processing plant, the quantity and variety of solid waste managed are daunting. Animal processing pushes bones, sinewy tissue, and other offal into the pit. Processing fruits and vegetables leaves hard rinds, shells and skins to flow into floor drains and waste collection areas. Accidental waste, such as sticks, wrappers, bags or cans also fall into the mix. Caustic or hot fluids from required washdown add a corrosive component. All these materials must be reduced to a state where they will flow freely into the next step of neutralization and pre-treatment for disposal.
The materials from floor drains require a solids handling pump with the ability to shred the solids and still move the fluids. Given the waste sump location “beneath the floor”, it is common to find that many food processors selected an ineffective solids handling pump for dealing with the rugged environments of food manufacturing plants. Pumps that are not suitable for the waste you produce cause unscheduled downtime that adds significant costs to the operation. This quickly eats away at your maintenance budget, and in many case, overall profitability.
Signs of an Inefficient Pump
Three common situations occur when the solids handling pump in use does not meet the demands of disposal for food and beverage waste:
1. The Pump Clogs: If unchecked, a backup of mixed liquid and solid waste begins to accumulate. You’ll likely need to pull the solids handling pump for maintenance. When a clog has been removed, the pump returns to service.
2. Additional Pump Damage: The pulled solids handling pump may reveal the clog has also damaged the seal or overheated the motor. Additional maintenance and/or parts are needed to repair the damage. The pump may be salvageable, or it may need to be replaced.
3. Pump Failure: An accumulation of solids in the pit indicates the solids handling pump is not working properly. The waste collected in the pit must be removed manually, and you’ll need an alternate disposal plan to fulfill the required neutralization.
If you are experiencing any or all of these three system failures, your current solids handling pump is not adequate to shred waste and assure the flow of liquids. Some food and beverage manufacturers are forced to pull the pumps 3 or 4 times a day to unclog the solids. This process requires approximately 4 hours of daily downtime, more than eighty hours of lost productivity per month. This daily downtime is a massive, yet avoidable cost to the company. Unfortunately, this daily shutdown happens in plants across the country.
The Answer for Food and Beverage Processing Efficiency
The solution for food and beverage processing is a shredder pump. A quality shredder pump uses a cutting-type impeller with a tungsten carbide cutting tip attached to the pump impeller. Cutting action occurs only when solids are present, shredding through stringy, fibrous and solid type waste. Shedder pumps reduce solids to an acceptable flow rate.
With the correctly specified pump for the process, daily unclogging is eliminated and unplanned downtime is greatly reduced. In fact, the pump should not need daily, weekly or even monthly maintenance. Proactive preventative pump management can be scheduled yearly, or quarterly in extreme use. Since the shredder pump adequately reduces solids for disposal, there is no accumulation in the pit. This also means you can spend your time on profitable actions within the plant.
BJM Pumps has documented examples of companies we have helped solve this issue:
- RAD-AX® Technology Chips Away at Food Industry Challenge
- How BJM Pumps Cut Meat Plant Maintenance Costs
- Juice Producer Uses Corrosion-Resistant Submersible Shredder Pump for High-Temperature Sump Application
Quality shredder pumps will easily handle the daily waste from high volume, high temperature runoff, corrosive or abrasive fluids and unexpected waste such as plastic, metal or wood. Your manufacturer should be able to recommend the right shredder pump to handle all of your specified requirements.
BJM Pumps offers solutions for the food and beverage industry, even in toughest environments in a wide range of food processing applications. For 35 years, we’ve designed custom solutions using our specialized pumps to handle the challenges that you face every day. Our pumps stand up to the food residue, cleaning chemicals and other objects that find their way down the drain. To learn more, download our Food & Beverage Industry Buyer’s Guide for Submersible Pumps or contact us.