Manufacturers in the food-and-beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetic/personal-care industries are under constant pressure to streamline their operations, all with the ultimate goal of optimizing both the bottom line and production rates. For most, the obvious “low-hanging fruit” in operational-cost savings is making their operations more energy-efficient, which can result in current or higher product yields while using fewer resources.
However, most operations have already reached the limits in the ways they can, for example, reduce electricity use and, to be honest, the cost savings resulting from the implementation of, say, high-efficiency light bulbs can be relatively minuscule. Fortunately, thanks to innovative fluid-transfer methods, it is possible for hygienic manufacturers to realize far greater savings than those realized in energy alone, with these savings oftentimes accumulated at a much greater magnitude than through other process improvements.
It is called “product recovery” and in the case of food-and-beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetic manufacturing, it refers to the high utilization (or yield) of products or ingredients through substantially eliminating waste, and thereby increasing profits, that would otherwise remain in suction or discharge process lines during changeovers or at the end of production runs.
The cost savings that can be realized through an optimized product-recovery regime can dwarf those that occur through enhanced energy usage. For example, a positive displacement pump that runs 16 hours a day at a cost of $0.10 per kilowatt hour (KwH) will cost $1,008 to operate annually. An energy savings of 20% (admittedly a high figure) would represent a cost savings of almost $202 per year per pump. By comparison, a positive displacement pump that can recover 134 pounds per day from production piping at a rate of $1.00 per pound will save $32,160 per year, or a rate 160 times higher than any power savings. Another way to view it is that the product-recovery savings accumulated in one year in this example will pay for 32 years of energy to operate the pump—a true definition of turning product recovery into “profit recovery.”
The pump technology that is able to realize these eye-opening product-recovery rates is the eccentric disc pump. The critical key to the eccentric disc pump’s heightened product-recovery capabilities is that it operates via a disc that moves on an eccentric plane within a circular channel, which gives the pump the ability to provide non-pulsing, low-slip operation with high volumetric consistency.
Most important for product-recovery considerations, eccentric disc pumps are so efficient that they can pump air when no fluid is present. This creates a vacuum effect on the pump’s suction side and a compressor effect on the discharge side. In other words, once the product runs out in the feed tank, the eccentric disc technology continues to pump air in a very constant, non-abrupt, non-pulsating manner so that the surface tension on any remaining fluid is not broken. This produces a plug effect, which pushes out the product “plug” as a whole.
Leading the way in eccentric disc pump development for use in product-recovery applications is Mouvex®, Auxerre, France, a member of the Dover Corporation’s Pump Solutions Group (PSG®), Oakbrook Terrace, IL, USA. To demonstrate its commitment to the benefits that product-recovery enhancement can offer hygienic manufacturers, Mouvex has created a Product Recovery Initiative, which it proudly launched at the IFT’s recent Annual Meeting & Food Expo, which was held from June 21-24 in New Orleans, LA.
The fulcrum of the Product Recovery Initiative is the Product Recovery Demo Unit, which allows viewers to see first hand how the unique operation of Mouvex Eccentric Disc Pumps. Mouvex has also created a Product Recovery website that features a complete suite of market-specific tools that have been designed to increase knowledge and illustrate the tremendous cost-savings potential that can be realized when using Mouvex Eccentric Disc Pumps in a comprehensive product-recovery scheme.
We are interested in hearing about any product-recovery-related successes you have had in any of your hygienic-manufacturing operations. If there are any recent instances where a Mouvex pump has helped optimize your capabilities in a product-recovery application, please send me an email at email@example.com.