Reliable, durable aseptic process pump makes key contribution to success
The Swiss subsidiary of Dutch company DSM Nutritional Products AG uses the spray drying method when producing vitamin and carotenoid powders for the pharmaceutical and food industries. The procedure uses pump technology to convey various emulsions into a spray tower, where they are dried into powder. Since the feed and booster pump that was being used proved to be an uncertainty factor, DSM was in search of an alternative. They finally made a find when they talked to the pump experts at LEWA NIKKISO Switzerland, who recommended a LEWA triplex process diaphragm pump with diaphragm monitoring for the application. In order to fulfill the food industry's stringent hygienic provisions, the hermetically tight pumps are electropolished and CIP-approved.
"Pump technology plays a central role in drying oil-in-water emulsions for the food and pharmaceutical industries. These emulsions contain substances such as vitamins or carotenoids as active ingredients," explained Natalie Ibald, Plant Manager of Formulations at DSM Nutritional Products AG. "As part of the process chain the pumps are used for conveying the mixtures into the spray tower and are 100% integrated into the closed plant system.” With the previous system, the risk of unforeseen interruptions to this process couldn’t be ruled out. As a result, the different emulsions could not be processed further. In other words, it was not possible to dry them into powder. The pump diaphragm was the reason: it was often too sensitive to withstand the stress placed on it when starting up the pump.
In the course of searching for a reliable alternative, DSM got in touch with the Swiss subsidiary of pump manufacturer LEWA. The prior experience with the short service lives of the previous pumps, led DSM to place special focus on reliable function and a robust design during the project planning phase. "Certain foods have provisions regarding microbiological purity that are many times more stringent than those for producing other food products," explained Ibald. "Every type of contamination had to be ruled out to produce the widest possible variety of products on the system."
Process diaphragm pump guarantees safe start-up operation
After considering all parameters, LEWA NIKKISO Switzerland recommended a type G3F triplex process diaphragm pump for the spray tower application. "A spring continuously holds the integrated sandwich diaphragm located in a neutral position.This protects the diaphragm against incorrect positioning and prevents it from being damaged while the pump is starting up," said Pietro Pettoruto, Managing Director at LEWA NIKKISO Switzerland AG. By a pressure relief valve the pump can be adapted to different operational situations in order to prevent any overloads that may arise. "Since two PTFE diaphragms are used, the pump is hermetically tight and effectively prevents external contamination," explained Pettoruto. As an additional safety feature, the DPS monitoring system from LEWA continuously monitors the condition of the diaphragm. If damage to a diaphragm is detected, production can continue without any problems up to a planned maintenance stop. The components can then be replaced quickly and easily by releasing the cassette for the assembly.
Triplex pump features aseptic, FDA-compliant operation
To fulfill the stringent hygiene provisions the LEWA triplex maintains a hermetically tight space without dynamic seals, guaranteeing completely clean and aseptic production conditions. To ensure FDA-compliant pump operation all pump heads that come into contact with the product are also electropolished.
Because the pump can be cleaned in place (CIP) using different alkaline and acidic agents and without prior dismantling, it is possible to meet the special requirements for baby food as well. "Our specifications with regard to quality, robustness, and hygiene were followed to the letter in this project. As a result, our production has become noticeably more efficient and reliable." said Ibald.
Source: LEWA GmbH
Picture: DSM Nutritional Products AG