In industrial production, there are clear specifications for purity and hygiene for every process, but especially strict rules apply in the food industry and pharmaceutical production in order to prevent contamination of these products. That's why special hygienic machines and systems are used in both of these industries. Especially critical are the hygienic pumps that are in direct contact with the products.
Technical specifications of the available Hygienic Pumps
from our alliance members
- Delivery rate: up to 1,500 m³/h (6,004 gal/min)
- Delivery head: up to 800 m (2,625 ft)
- Pressure: up to 80 bar
- Viscosities: up to 1,000,000 cSt
- Temperatures: -20 °C up to 320 °C (-4 up to 608 °F)
- Gases: up to 95 %
- Solids: up to 80 % (max. 45 mm)
- pH-value: 0 - 14
- ATEX / Ex Zone 0, 1 & 2
- according API, ISO or EN standard
for precise dosing or larger flow rates - easy to clean & maintain
Hygienic pumps in a nutshell
To satisfy the special requirements of the food and pharmaceutical industries, hygienic pumps have design details that distinguish them from other types of pumps. Here, the focus is on the following characteristics:
• Cleaning capability
• Lack of a gap
• Lack of dead space
• Vertical model (for multi-stage pumps)
So that they can be cleaned easily, materials and surfaces are used for the construction of hygienic pumps that are as smooth as possible and suitable for regular cleaning with acids and bases. There are no gaps thanks to the use of gap-free O-rings with metal stops. Dead spaces are areas inside a pump where the fluid conveyed can remain and therefore cause contamination – on the impeller or the blades of hygienic centrifugal pumps. To prevent these, such hygienic pumps are equipped with open impellers and blades.
There are also hygienic centrifugal pumps for the handling of large quantities of fluid in multi-stage models; that is, with several impellers arranged one behind the other. The vertical construction ensures that these pumps can be emptied completely, for the complete emptying prevents the risk of contamination.
However, even among positive displacement pumps, there are different pump types that conform to hygienic requirements. They can be used for thin media, but also especially for high-viscosity media. Hygienic positive displacement pumps perform especially well when it comes to filling and mixing systems.
Which pump technologies are available for hygienic pumps?
Essentially, various pump technologies can also be used to satisfy the special requirements of the food industry and pharmaceutical production. Hygiene-compliant centrifugal pumps are frequently used if low-viscosity fluids must be pumped.
Positive displacement pumps are especially well-suited for high-viscosity media: Progressive cavity pumps and rotary piston pumps can handle thick media such as sauces and pastes under pressure, yet gently. And there are also hygiene-compliant multi screw pumps, which are especially well-suited for lubricating and pure liquids and can transport high-viscosity media, even large quantities of these. However, pump manufacturers also offer other technologies such as peristaltic pumps and diaphragm pumps in hygiene-compliant models.
Drives, housings & certificates for hygienic pumps
Pumps’ drive and housing in hygienic models
So that deposits and contamination are avoided during operation, the periphery of hygienic pumps must also be suitable for use in the food and pharmaceutical industry.
This affects the drive above all: Motors and gearboxes that may be used in the food industry and in the pharmaceutical sector, like the pumps themselves, have housings whose surface has no dead space and is easy to clean and consists of wear-resistant materials that will also stand up to aggressive acids and bases. Furthermore, they are constructed so that spray water cannot penetrate the inside of the housing.
Certificates guarantee the suitability of hygienic pumps
To ensure that a pump is suitable for hygienic handling in the food industry or for the handling of sensitive pharmaceutical media, system operators should rely on hygienic pumps that have been examined by organizations such as the EHEDG (European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group) or 3A Sanitary Standards. For systems in the USA, the American FDA specifies standards; in Europe, depending on the industry, the GMP directives have to be considered. Some corporate groups also formulate their own corporate standards.
The focus of the hygiene examinations by independent organizations is on aspects such as the surface quality, material selection, construction, and documentation. Hygienic pumps that have passed these organizations’ suitability test receive a corresponding certificate.
Hygienic pumps for pharmaceutical processes and cosmetics
Traditionally, the pharmaceutical sector is stricter than other industries when it comes to requirements for purity and hygiene: Here, not only a minimum of germs, but also aseptic or sterile conditions have always been required – i.e. the maximum possible absence of microbes.
In the meantime, the pharmaceutical and food industries have grown closer together, for food manufacturers also want to avoid as many risks as possible due to poor hygiene. This also explains why well-known manufacturers’ hygienic pumps are usually suitable for all industries that pose special requirements with regard to hygiene: For pharmaceutical production as for the food industry and cosmetics production. There are also numerous certifications for this: Most hygienic pumps have both an EHEDG seal as well as a 3A Sanitary Standards certificate.
Hygienic pumps for every area of application
To ensure that hygienic pumps fulfill operators’ requirements, the operators should rely on manufacturers of high-quality hygienic pumps, the suitability of which has been confirmed by independent organizations.
Are you looking for a hygienic pump for food or pharmaceutical production? The members of the Star Pump Alliance offer various pumps in hygiene-compliant models. Feel free to submit your non-binding inquiry to receive a detailed examination and quotation!