Industrial pumps for the food industry are a key piece of equipment in many production lines for foodstuffs. In the making of food products, pumping equipment is used for moving semifinished products and media of various kinds, whether hot or cold, liquid, semi-liquid, or thick, maximally dense or pasty, masses that are susceptible to mixing and foaming, as well as substances that contain various inclusions.
The range of pumps for the food industry is vast, and devices exist for working with all kinds of foodstuffs. These units serve to pump products of different consistency from one container to another, under pressure. They are used for loading or discharging ingredients. They are often installed in the external circulation circuits of industrial plants.
A key feature of food-industry pumps is that the viscosity of the ingredients in a process can differ, ranging from water all the way to thick minced meat.
This equipment is used for pumping:
- drinking water and mineral water,
- syrups and lemonades,
- condensed milk,
- confectionary cream,
- preserves, marmalade, and jams,
- milk and other dairy products, e.g.:
- yogurt with fruit,
- sour cream,
- cheese and egg masses,
- processed cheese,
- bullion extracts and spices,
- vegetable pulp,
- minced meat
- olive oil.
In the production of bakery and confectionery products, pumps are necessary equipment for moving dough, yeast dough, malt, fondant or cream filling, and mixtures of fats or oils.
Synonym: pumps for food industry, pumping equipment for food industry, centrifugal pump for food industry, membrane pump, diaphragm pump, impeller pump for food industry, food grade peristaltic pump, submersible pump for food industry, submersible screw pump, food industry pump for viscous liquids, food industry beer pump, vacuum pump for food industry, circulating pump for food industry, self-priming pumps, non-self-priming pumps, piston pumps, peripheral pump, rotary pump, rotary vane pump, gear pump, screw pump, laminar pump, positive displacement (PD) pumps, progressing cavity pumps, rotary lobe (RL) pumps.
Types of pumps in the food industry
Common requirements for all types of pumps employed in the food industry are reliability, resistance to aggressive substances, performance, and environmental friendliness.
Pumps differ in how they work:
1. Self-priming pumps are installed above a tank. This serves for cases where intake happens from above. These mechanisms are distinguished by increased power, as a sufficient pressure must be generated to lift ingredients up from various depths.
2. Non-self-priming pumps are placed at the bottom of the working tank, which ensures uninterrupted movement of the fluid.
Both types are used to pump water, juice, milk, kvass, wine, vodka, and other beverages of similar consistency.
Major types of food-industry pumps:
- rotary (cam actuated),
- guided-vane (roller-vane)
- gear pump,
- screw pumps (with single-screw and submersible subtypes)
Each type of pump is, depending on the specific design, divided into subtypes, thus you can choose the right option for your food-industry production.
Food pumps are divided into certain categories based on the temperatures at which they operate:
- high-temperature models (without a shaft seal) for pumping or circulating hot liquids (up to 350°C);
For products of different density and viscosity, different types of pumps are used:
- for exclusively liquid media, centrifugal pumps are widely used;
- pumps used in the food industry for viscous (thick) liquids are of the following types: membrane, impeller, rotary, gear, screw, and peristaltic.
milk, vegetable oil, juices, wine, beer, spirits
dairy products, dough, brewer’s yeast, syrups, chocolate, molasses, ice cream
glaze, puree, molasses, praline masses, condensed milk
wine, vinegar, fruit juice, must
gross lees in winemaking
fruit-juice concentrates, sauces, pastes, starches, edible oils, jams and jelly-like substances
wine, olive oil
mayonnaise, ketchup, yogurt
wine, juice, water, beer
grape must, yogurt, sour cream, kefir, cream, juices with pulp, ketchup, tomato paste, fruit purees
sour cream, kefir, cream, molasses, butter, dough
wines, wine-making substances, vegetable oils, juices
honey, kefir, sour cream, mayonnaise, low-fat curd cheese, cream, and other dairy products
When working with homogeneous liquid media that are characterized by a low density, centrifugal food pumps are used, e.g. for milk, vegetable oil, wine, and beer.
The device’s operating chamber features a shaft and rotating wheel (impeller) that is driven by a motor and ensures that the raw-ingredient mass moves towards the discharge point.
These pumps’ advantages include:
● simple to operate;
● wide temperature range – from −20°C to +135°C;
● works with a variety of fluids – this group comprises milk pumps as well as pumps for carbonated beverages (mineral water, beer, kvass, soda);
● virtually silent operation with no pulsation.
The main distinguishing feature of rotary (cam) pumps for food products are two synchronized rotors inside a metal body, and these rotors are driven by an electric motor.
These units are used for dense mixtures that fill the entire space between the rotor blades through the suction pipe. Under the rotational movement of the blades the liquid is fed into the outlet pipe and then, in uniform portions, into a pipeline.
These pumps stand out due to their:
- high performance;
- reliable and simple design;
- versatility – these are suitable for almost all types of media
A distinguishing feature of cam pumps is that the structure of the raw ingredients does not change as they are pumped. These pumps ensure delicate treatment of liquid foodstuffs of a wide range of consistency: fermented milk products, curd–whey mixtures, high-fat cream, condensed milk, ice cream, and chocolate.
Laminar pumps in the food industry are intended primarily for pumping viscous masses.
The operating body of roller-vane pumps for the food industry consists of an eccentrically mounted rotor with radial grooves that are arranged along the length. Flat vanes, subject to centrifugal force that presses them against the stator, slide in these special recesses.
When the pump is operating on the suction-intake line, a rarefaction effect is achieved, so the pumped mass completely occupies the space between the vanes, and it is then subsequently pushed into the discharge pipeline.
Features of this pump type:
● quiet operation;
● reliable and durable design;
● high performance;
● can run in reverse;
● long service life if used correctly.
This pump equipment is simple in design and does not require additional maintenance. It can be used as a proportioner.
Piston pumps are devices that work according to the hydraulic principle. They are designed to suction and discharge liquid media of different densities and viscosities depending on the model. They work by displacing the liquid medium via reciprocating movements of the piston. When the piston mechanism moves a vacuum is formed and, due to the pressure difference, the liquid is drawn into the pump. The impact on the pumped product, which may be of varying degrees of viscosity, is gentle.
Among the main features that distinguish these pumps are their:
- high performance;
- reliable and simple design;
- ability to provide strong pressure force.
The way that modern piston-pumping units are designed ensures uniform pumping of liquid with minimal impact on the pumped medium.
A membrane (diaphragm) pump for the food industry is a hydraulic volumetric device with two membranes (diaphragm) or a single membrane as an operating body. The membrane consists of a flexible plate attached to the body at the edges. The membrane works in a similar way to the piston in piston-type pumps.
The equipment is suitable in all respects for products of low and medium viscosity, e.g. fruit-juice concentrates, sauces, pastes, starch, butter, jam and jelly-like substances.
1. Simple design: the absence of any rotating elements means higher performance and longer service life.
2. Convenient to operate, easy to adjust the throughput and operating pressure.
3. Versatility – these units can pump viscous and dense liquids, as well as substances with solid inclusions (yogurt with fruit pieces, pastry cream with crumbs).
Diaphragm pumps can idle, i.e. the lack of liquid in any section will not cause the unit to break down.
Various kinds of drive are available:
- mechanical (with motors of various types, for example, electric motors or internal combustion engines);
These devices belong to the self-priming category.
In terms of the mechanism, a peristaltic pump is a rotor in constant motion with special rollers attached to it, which exert a uniform pressure on the elastomeric flow tube.
After the roller has made a complete rotation, the tube returns to its original state, which creates a vacuum inside it. In this way, the liquid inside is moved.
An advantage of this device is the complete isolation of the product, which ensures a high degree of hygiene and maximally gentle movement of substances.
Pumps of this type are widely used for viscous or abrasive media, often ones with a high content of solids, such as mayonnaise, ketchup, yogurt, and ice cream with added ingredients.
A peristaltic pump is the best choice for delicate products that need a steady, not too intense flow to prevent damage that could affect the final quality. An example is the production of wine or olive oil, where it is important that the original qualities of the product be preserved.
- no contact between the product and the mechanism;
- works in “dry mode” without any detrimental consequences;
- suitable for products that are susceptible to external influence;
- any inclusions in the medium can be up to almost half the diameter of the tube itself.
A peristaltic pump provides the gentlest pumping action of all options currently available.
The name of this type of pump denotes the distinctive feature of its design, that is, the main operating element is a flexible impeller (wheel) that is enclosed in housing and connected to an electric drive. On the outside, it consists of a cylinder with rubber blades that transfer the liquid.
An impeller food pump is one of the most versatile and common types of pumping equipment. These pumps are widely used for pumping both delicate liquids and thick products with fairly large solid elements.
They are suitable for the hottest liquids (standard models up to 80°C, and by replacing the impeller up to 120°C).
Products for which impeller pumps can be used include grape must, yogurt, sour cream, cream, juices with pulp, ketchup, tomato paste, and fruit purees of a uniform consistency with good fluidity.
This type of pump is also used for all easily flowing liquids, e.g. wine, juice, water, and beer.
Advantages of impeller pumps:
- high degree of suction;
- easy to maintain;
- suitable for even the thickest liquids;
- stable pressure and lack of any voids ensures a uniform flow;
These pumps are among the self-priming kinds. The pump’s performance depends on the speed, so the plant is often used as a proportioner
In gear-type pumps, the mechanism that moves the liquid consists of two engaged gears.
The way they are engaged can be internal or external. In units with internally engaged gears, the operating bodies are set as one gear inside another. In units with externally engaged gears, the two gears are in a series. This is the most widespread model.
Different gears are available with regard to their teeth, namely:
Helical- and chevron-toothed gears provide a smoother flow and higher performance.
Gear pumps are capable of pumping media with very high viscosity, e.g. molasses, dough, butter, and fermented dairy products.
- simple and compact design;
- rhythmic flow;
- wide temperature range (up to 220°C).
This kind of pump is not intended for products that include particles, regardless of the size of those particles.
Screw pumps are self-priming, volumetric units for transporting liquids, including those which have a higher density and contain solid elements.
The major feature of their design is the presence of a rotor and stator. The driving force is a stainless-steel screw, which rotates and thus moves the product along while maintaining the consistency of that product. The raw ingredients do not get mixed, nor do they foam. The temperature of the working mass can be up to 90°C.
Advantages of screw pumps:
- minimal impact on the liquid being pumped;
- no pulsation, so they act as proportioners;
- able to pump masses with abrasive components;
- high reliability and long service life.
In the food industry, single-screw food pumps are used. They can pump fermented milk products, low-fat curd cheese, sauces, mayonnaise, condensed milk, vegetable puree, and tomato paste.
All screw pumps can be manufactured in a vertically oriented design. With a submersible screw pump you can pump viscous liquids from a tank which are impossible to pump from outside.
A helical pump is a type of screw-based unit that is used to transport products with high viscosity. These units can work with poorly-flowing liquid due to their receiving funnel with an auger that feeds the liquid to the screw mechanism, as well as a suitable angular rotation speed on the shaft.
They are used for pumping process cheese, cheese masses, curd cheese, butter, emulsions of sausages and minced meat, bread and cookie dough, mayonnaise, sauces, chocolate, fudge, biscuit cream, juice, malt crush, potato puree, vegetable pulp, jams and jellies, fruit and vegetable purees, honey.
The main feature of these pumps is that they work manually – to operate them you do not need any energy sources or additional devices. This extremely simple piston-type equipment does not require especial physical effort and it is used for pumping thick or liquid masses of foodstuffs.
This category of equipment includes peanut-butter pumps and devices for pumping beverages, syrups, milk, wine, and spirits.