Global Food Production As We Know It Would Fail Without Food Grade Pumps
Across the world, thousands of food products are created and shipped a day. Every product and shipment has an exact manufacturing process that runs like clockwork. There are too many systems and machines to count in food production, but the ones that matter are food grade pumps, which serve several purposes.
First, they have to be up to sanitary standards in both the pump itself and the seals. Second, they need to separate the food product from the mechanical element that moves it. Third, the integrity of the processed product has to be maintained. Companies that manufacture food grade pumps have to ensure these 3 components are always present.
Specific food grade pumps process each food product completely differently. 3 of the most common food grade pumps are lobe, gear, and double diaphragm pumps. Without these pumps, food production would come to a screeching halt, and here’s why.
Lobe pumps are the best for high-pressure, high-temperature applications, and low shear or abrasive products. A lobe pump falls under the category of a rotary positive displacement pump which uses the continuous motion of gears to move liquids, rather than utilizing other pumps. The rotating parts of the lobe pump eventually create a vacuum that draws the liquids into the pump.
Lobe pumps are highly sanitary as well as efficient and corrosion-resistant with simple cleaning while still connected. Food and beverage pumps can either be self-priming or not. If the pump is not self-priming, you can’t let it run dry. The lobe pump has some self-priming capabilities and can run dry for limited periods. Mainly, lobe pumps handle solids, slurries, pastes, and many types of liquids.
Industries that utilize the lobe food grade pump are food, beverage, hygienic, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, chemical, petroleum, pulp and paper, and industrial.
Like the lobe food grade pump, gear pumps are ideal for pumping liquids. A gear pump is considered a positive displacement pump that uses the meshing of internal and external gears to move liquids effortlessly without a pulsing flow. Gear food pumps are also like lobe pumps in that they handle high-temperature liquids.
The main difference between a gear pump and a lobe pump is that the gear pump is designed to handle much thicker liquids. For example, gear food grade pumps are ideal for processing chocolate, sugar, syrup, fat, oil, molasses, and pet food. The meshing of the internal and external gears allows for high pressures for the thicker liquids.
Industries that utilize gear food grade pumps are petrochemical, chemical, paint and ink, resin and adhesives, and pulp and paper.
Double Diaphragm Pump
The double diaphragm pump is another type of positive displacement pump. Unlike the others, double diaphragm food grade pumps are powered by air and known as AODDs (air-operated double diaphragm). Double diaphragm pumps are one of the most common food grade pumps because they are safe and simple enough to use in multiple industries. You can find food grade, hygienic, and industrial double diaphragm pumps.
Double diaphragm pumps are typically made out of stainless steel and PTFE which are FDA-approved food grade materials. The lobe and gear pumps mentioned earlier mainly processed liquids of varying viscosities. It was still important to transfer the liquids carefully to keep their integrity intact.
With double diaphragm pumps, they are ideal for both food and liquids that are in low-care production areas before cooking or pasteurization. Mainly, double diaphragm pumps process food that still has other stages to go through and doesn’t require extreme caution when moving or transferring it.
Double diaphragm food grade pumps are popular across many different industries because of their self-priming abilities and temperature handling.
Why Should You Care?
All these food grade pumps may sound technical and boring, but they have an immense impact on our daily lives. In 2019, agriculture and food production contributed $1.109 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product. Food production in the U.S. is a constant system; it never stops.
You can see this in the grocery store you shop at every day. The sheer amount of food in one grocery store is enough to marvel at but think of the thousands of other stores just in your state. Every day, those grocery stores are being restocked at the end of the day with more food. And where does that food come from? Distribution centers that receive it from packaging centers that receive it from the food production industry.
Without food grade pumps optimizing the food production process, we would not have access to the food that we do. We’re fortunate in the U.S. to have such a large food production industry, and it’s important to remember that others do not. Food grade pumps may be small, but they are the driving force behind the supply of food to Americans all across the country.
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