Food & Beverage
Problem solver for food industry

Food processing companies are increasingly discovering the benefits of utilising Vaughan chopper pumps in environments in which conventional pumps have historically failed.

As environmental awareness and resulting laws have come into effect, and as managers seek to increase production efficiency, improved methods for moving debris-laden waste slurries have been needed. Historically this has been accomplished through the use of the ‘non-clog’ pump, where a recessed or open impeller passes large solids through the pump. However, experience has proven that the name ‘non-clog’ does not mean the pump won’t clog. In many cases, especially where the solids size may be larger than the passages through a non-clog pump or where long stringy materials are present, a more aggressive approach, such as a chopper pump, is needed. Compared with a conventional non-clog pump, a chopper pump is essentially a non-clog pump plus a chopper system – that is, two machines in one.

The benefits of Vaughan chopper pumps
There are many benefits to using a Vaughan chopper pump. Positive chopping allows large, troublesome materials to pass through the pump, eliminating downstream plugging of valves, heat exchangers, nozzles or other pumps.

A single Vaughan chopper pump can replace two pieces of equipment; i.e. a comminutor (or pre-grinder) and a ‘non-clog’ pump, resulting in much lower maintenance costs.

Vaughan chopper pumps can handle solids that no other pump can handle. Chopping material at the pump produces a more homogeneous slurry and reduces pipeline friction.

The heavy-duty mechanical seal design and bearing system incorporated in each Vaughan pump reduces downtime by withstanding the heavy workload and associated forces of chopping and pumping solids reliably.

Vaughan chopper pump impellers, cutter bars, upper cutters and cutter nuts are made of cast alloy steel which is then heat treated to a minimum of Rockwell 60C hardness to provide extended service life in most applications.

Vaughan company’s 50 years of extensive experience in designing and manufacturing chopper pumps for severe duty applications instills trust and product confidence. In addition, every Vaughan chopper pump supplied is backed by a performance guarantee as assurance of clog-free, solids-handling performance.
Instead of attempting to pass whole solids through the pump, a Vaughan chopper pump cuts material into smaller, more manageable pieces as it enters the pump. Using a patented chopping action, the sharp leading edge of each impeller blade cuts material against two stationary shear bars cast into the suction plate, which extends across the entire intake opening. Depending on the number of impeller vanes, shaft rotational speed, and discharge flow, large solids are chopped into varying sizes from 3 to 30 millimeters before passing through the pump. This capability, along with its heavy-duty design and non-clog performance guarantee, set the Vaughan chopper pump apart from other types of non-clog, grinder, macerator or cutter pumps available on the market today. There are some typical applications in the food processing industry where the use of a Vaughan chopper     pump is going to provide excellent results.

Meat processing
Vaughan chopper pumps are successfully being used in a wide variety of difficult applications in the meat processing and seafood industries in New Zealand and Australia. In the meat industry a chopper pump will solve difficult solids handling problems with ease. Typical applications include chopping and pumping wastewater containing paunch material, fleshings and hide, wool, blood, bone, ears and face pieces, offal and casing threads, fat and other waste materials from the processing floor.

Seafood industry
Vaughan chopper pumps are used to chop and pump fish wastes, entrails, scales, heads, tails and carcasses, mussels and crab shells. This type of material would easily clog other types of pumps especially when other types of waste material such a plastic bags and strapping and rag enter the waste sump. A Vaughan chopper pump can chop and pump large solids such as entire fish carcasses which typically cause binding or damage to non-clog pumps.Poultry industry
The extensive poultry industry is finding that Vaughan chopper pumps are essential for minimising and eliminating maintenance time on processing systems which get clogged with feathers, blood, and other waste by-products. Typically, the pump would be installed in the main factory waste sump where it will chop and pump wastewater containing chicken or turkey feathers, blood, gut, legs, feet, etc. In most cases, a chopper pump would normally transfer the solids-laden wastewater to a rotary screen where the solids     are removed.

Vegetable processing
Vaughan chopper pumps are used extensively in vegetable processing plants to transfer processing wastes. Applications include pumping wastewater containing carrots, potatoes, lettuces, apples, corn cobs and husks, pumpkin shells, beans and beet, to name and few. Normally, vertical wet well or submersible type chopper pumps are used for this type of application, with a range of material options to suit depending on the fluid pH.

All of the applications discussed here centre on the pump’s ability to handle solids from a pumping standpoint. It is important to note that Vaughan chopper pumps can also eliminate seal and bearing failures observed in other pumps. Because the chopper design requires heavy shafting, an added benefit is longer life resulting from stronger parts and less vibration. Quite often seal failures in conventional pumps are associated with solids wrapping or binding at the impeller or seal. This can cause severe vibration that is transmitted through the shaft and seal to the lower bearing. This results not only in seal and bearing failure, but also can introduce moisture into a submersible motor. The heavier shafting and short overhang of the Vaughan chopper pump bearing and seal design addresses this problem and reduces maintenance costs as a result.

Companies in the food processing industry and engineering firms alike are increasingly discovering the economics of applying Vaughan chopper pumps in applications in which conventional pumps have historically failed. These failures are generally due to plugging or seal and bearing failure, and all contain hidden costs that must be addressed. More often than not, equipment that has purchased solely on price has a higher failure potential than properly specified and purchased equipment. The solution starts with the user’s request to obtain equipment that will operate maintenance free, and it ends with the foresight of those with purchasing authority to think toward the future.

Article submitted by Pump Systems Ltd  •

Email: matthewm@pumpsystems.co.nz

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