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Safe conveying as well as precise metering of milk concentrate

Prevention of recontamination in powdered milk production for baby food
Manufacturers of milk-based food for babies and small children have to uphold the highest purity standards in their products, as well as consistent quality and optimal process safety in the plant. There is significant risk of hygienically unsuitable system components recontaminating the end product. This is why there are strict standards regarding hygiene and material approvals for production systems.

For even better compliance with these requirements a  Swiss producer of infant formula and follow-on milk, has acquired a new, hygienic high-pressure pump for conveying the manufactured milk concentrate reliably and safely as well as for metering and further processing precise quantities.The company decided on a Triplex G3F process diaphragm pump in an aseptic design with a collecting pipe and pressure transmitter solution from LEWA GmbH.

Technic

Producer: LEWA GmbH

Pump LEWA triplex G3F in aseptischer Ausführung
Medium Milk powder
Flowrate up to 180 m³/h per Pumpe
Pressure up to 1200 bar

Task

Due to the high hygiene requirements for the production of food for children and infants, it is necessary to make continuous adjustments to new legal mandates. This is why it is essential that we coordinate the individual components to each other perfectly in order to meet the highest purity specifications and, beyond that ensure consistent product quality. For the production of special milk powder for infants and small children, whole milk, consisting of about 87 percent water, is dehydrated. In this process, the first step is producing a milk concentrate under gentle vacuum conditions. The concentrate is extremely critical with regard to hygiene. The prepared concentrated semi-finished product is then pumped to a clean room for further processing, which is where subsequent drying takes place. This step previously involved using a plunger pump that was not optimally suited for the application due to its design and mode of functioning. The need to cool the plungers of the pump with water resulted in a high recontamination risk for the finished product, which cannot be sold and must be disposed of if it becomes contaminated. That is why the Swiss company was looking for a solution that did the job without plunger flushing.

Solution

The decision was made to purchase a LEWA triplex G3F process diaphragm pump from experienced pump manufacturer LEWA. The Triplex series in the company's repertoire features pump units that are specifically designed for the high pressures and flow rates of the food and fat-processing industry, meaning that the required throughput of 4,000 l/h at 250 bar was no problem at all. The G3F also features a total of three M9 pump heads specifically selected for this aseptic application. These pump heads feature PTFE sandwich diaphragms, which guarantee both high operating safety and comparably low maintenance effort. The pump's hermetic tightness with the corresponding system connection ensures sterile conveyance of the product. All wetted surfaces are made of high-strength DIN 1.4571 (316 Ti) stainless steel and designed with a surface roughness of Ra < 0.5 µm in accordance with the hygiene requirements. There is a collecting pipe on the suction and discharge side which was provided with a pressure transmitter in an aseptic design at the request of the customer.Both the collecting pipe and flange were designed with a surface roughness of Ra < 0.8 µm for improved cleanability. As a result, maximum operating safety can be ensured in accordance with the required hygienic design specification.

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