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St Helens-based Lea Green Foods is using peristaltic pump technology from the Watson-Marlow Pumps Group to dose oil into vegetable trays with precision and cleanliness.

Last year, Lea Green Foods, which provides a range of pastes and purees to the food service and manufacturing markets, decided to introduce a process that entailed the repeatable, accurate and hygienic dosing of vegetable oil into trays of produce such as tomatoes and roasted peppers.

Barry Rushton, the company’s engineering manager, said: ‘It was a fairly new concept to be honest and we were unsure of how much demand there would be.

‘For these reasons, we didn’t want to outlay excessive capital designing and building a new production process,’ he added.

Rushton decided to try replicating the required process using a one-month-trial 520 series pump from Watson-Marlow, a model designed specifically to meet the needs of the process sector.

He said: ‘We needed a pump that could operate at a variable flow rate depending on the volume, speed and time of our production.

‘We tried it using a selection of different oils and it performed very well.

‘I was particularly interested in achieving accurate dosing of each 300ml volume as we have to declare a given weight for the product within +/-2 per cent,’ added Rushton.

Watson-Marlow’s 520 series pumps are fitted as standard with the 520R pumphead, which accepts up to 9.6mm bore tubing for flow rates up to 3.5 litres per minute.

The 520R features a low-shear, high-reliability pumphead design for high accuracy and a long tube life.

A key feature of the 520 series pump is its Memo Dose facility, which has helped Lea Green to benefit from an accurate and repeatable dosing capability.

Another beneficial factor was the design of the filling nozzle; here, a small quantity of fluid is sucked back up into the tube to prevent any drips after dosing.

Rushton continued: ‘The fact that we have no drips not only means less product waste, but also creates a clean process – something that is pretty important in the food industry.

‘We also specified food-quality 9.6mm-bore Marprene as a tubing material,’ he said.

Manufacturing processes at Lea Green Foods comply with stringent food hygiene standards.

The company also achieves EFSIS Higher Level BRC standards.

With demand beginning to rise for the new products, Lea Green Foods requested an extension to the pump trial period, keeping the Watson-Marlow 520 series model for a further three months.

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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