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When Rowe’s the bakers suffered repeated failures when using impeller pumps to transfer liquid egg in glazing processes, it turned to peristaltic-pump technology from Watson-Marlow.

As well as selling products such as pasties, savouries, sandwiches, cakes, breads, rolls and confectionary through its own stores, Rowe’s also supplies on a wholesale basis to most of the UK’s leading supermarkets.

Engineer Phil Thomson is part of a team that helps ensure production is both continuous and efficient.

One particular recent problem on the pasty production line was causing the maintenance team a few headaches.

Here, egg mix is pumped into a glazing unit that is effectively a container with two integral spinners.

The spinners create a mist that is allowed to fall and form a glaze on pasties passing below on a conveyor.

Until recently, the company was using a conventional impeller pump for the task, but repeated failures and downtime became a growing cause for concern.

’The problem with an impeller pump is that it lacks a non-return valve, so if the process stops, then the pump needs to be re-primed,’ explained Thomson.

’Furthermore, because egg congeals, dedicated cleaning of both the pump and its connections is required.

’The escalating downtime meant ultimately that we had to find an alternative,’ he added.

Fortunately Rowe’s already had chemical dosing pumps from Watson-Marlow on site and so Thomson was aware of the capabilities of peristaltic technology.

’Watson-Marlow explained what pumps would be suited to the application, finally recommending a 520-series process pump that it kindly supplied on loan for trial purposes,’ he added.

Peristaltic pumps have no valves, seals or glands, and the fluid contacts only the bore of the hose or tube, eliminating the risk of the pump contaminating the fluid, or the fluid contaminating the pump.

Importantly for Rowe’s, Watson-Marlow pumps enable users to clean in-line at full velocity, without the intrusion of the bypass required by most other positive-displacement pumps.

The pump self-drains, has low-shear action and straight-through flow, and the tube is fully swept for superior hygienic performance.

After a two-week trial at the company’s production facility in Falmouth, Rowe’s duly acquired the Watson-Marlow 520 series pump.

’While impeller pumps are cheaper, we could easily burn out four a year on a single production line.

’If you add in the downtime and labour costs, peristaltic technology makes far more economic sense,’ explained Thomson.

As a further benefit, the peristaltic pump has also reduced the amount of foam caused by air entrapment.

Foam is classified as product waste and was being created at a rate of around one litre an hour.

’Considering all the costs we incurred with our impeller pumps I estimate that we will achieve payback on our investment within 12 months.

’In fact, we have just ordered a second pump for another glazing unit and hope to replace them all over the course of the coming two years,’ Thomson concluded.

Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group

Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group (WMFTG) is the world leader in niche peristaltic and sinusoidal pumps and associated fluid path technologies. Founded on nearly 60 years of supplying engineering and process expertise and with over one million pumps installed worldwide, our pumps are tried, tested and proven to deliver.

WMFTG is a wholly owned subsidiary of Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc (LSE: SPX), a global organisation employing approximately 4,800 people worldwide. Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group comprises nine established brands, each with their own area of expertise, but together offering our customers an unrivalled breadth of solutions for their pumping applications:

  • Watson-Marlow Pumps: peristaltic tube pumps for biopharm and process industries
  • Watson-Marlow Tubing: precision tubing for pumping and other purposes, in a range of materials
  • Bredel: high flow, high-pressure hose pumps
  • Alitea: unique peristaltic solutions for OEM customers
  • Flexicon: aseptic filling and capping systems
  • MasoSine: gentle sinusoidal pumps for food, chemical and cosmetics applications
  • BioPure: advanced single-use tubing connector systems
  • Asepco: aseptic valves for the biopharmaceutical industry
  • FlowSmart: high purity sanitary gaskets, silicone transfer tubing and reinforced silicone hoses for the biopharmaceutical industry

Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group is an international operation based in Falmouth, Cornwall, UK. Watson-Marlow Fluid |Technology Group has offices in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Sharjah UAE, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, USA and Vietnam.

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