Trends in Food & Beverage Pumps

Pumps are Evolving in the Food and Beverage Industry, and Stainless Foundry is Here for it.

As food processors work to meet consumer demand for product innovation – including healthy alternatives, fresh ingredients, novelty experiences, and global flavors – their equipment must be innovative as well. At the center of it all are pumps.

Pumps are the literal heartbeat of food and beverage processing plants. They move media products and ingredients from one part of the production process to the next. Their efficiency dictates the throughput that can be achieved on a daily basis. So, when food companies want to add heartier chunks to soups, or make fresh juice using high-pressure processing, pump manufacturers need to adjust their product lines accordingly.

SFE straightening department hard at work.

Stainless Foundry & Engineering (SF&E) has poured pump casting components for more than 75 years. We work closely with our customers across the food & beverage industries, as well as NAVSEA, nuclear, oil and gas, wastewater, pulp & paper, and more. In doing so, we have not only become experts in pouring pump components of all sizes but have firsthand knowledge of the benefits of different alloys, proven ways to increase quality and efficiency in manufacturing, and techniques to improve the life of a pump.

Pump casting components for food and beverage facilities.

At any given food and beverage facility, there could be hundreds of pumps, from centrifugal, progressing cavity and rotary lube, to reciprocating positive displacement and peristaltic hose pumps – in any combination. If pumps are the heartbeat of food and beverage processing plants, then SF&E has our finger on the pulse. Here’s how we see food and beverage pump applications evolving to meet new product demand, and how we can help.

Food and Beverage Pump Trends

The global food and beverage industry pumps market is estimated to be valued at $9.9 billion USD in 2022. It is projected to reach $12.9 billion USD by the year 2027, according to a report on ResearchandMarkets.com.

A high rate of growth is projected in the area of sanitary pumps due to rising concerns for food safety and hygiene. An outcome of the COVID pandemic is a projected demand for automated systems in pumps such as PLCs that can remotely turn pumps off and on, requiring less human interaction and reducing the chance of virus spread.

Automation can also be used to monitor for pump performance and maintenance, according to the report. When facilities can identify issues before they happen – such as misalignment between motor and pump, bearing issues, and turbulence – they can proactively make repairs and replacements and avoid unplanned downtime.

Examples of filling equipment parts that handle liquids.

Pumps that can handle solids are essential in the food and beverage industry. Not only do they need to effectively move products but do so in a way that does not stress or deteriorate the food. According to the report, most pump pressure changes the flow of the product. Some sensitive products will be unable to withstand high pressure and may change form. It is important that food processors choose the pump of the right pressure for the desired application.

The Power of Partnership

An experienced foundry partner like SF&E can help support this pump evolution in a few different ways. Our operations team can focus on keeping legacy equipment efficient and continuously operated machines humming by producing high-quality consumables and repair parts. And our sales, metallurgy, foundry engineering, and quality teams can work together with a customer to help them determine the best way to produce a new pump design.

Level II visual inspection of our pump parts.

Metallurgy

The metallurgical department at SF&E includes a staff of full-time degreed metallurgists responsible for the producing over 250 alloys. The team has an extensive background in corrosion-resistant stainless steels, which are important when pumping abrasive slurries containing mustard, vinegar, tomatoes, high levels of salt, or clay particles. All pumps for food processing need to be manufactured from food grade materials and have smooth surfaces to prevent contamination, food build up, and bacteria.

In 2021, SF&E worked with Advancing Medical Innovations (AMI) and Performance Compounds Inside (PCI) to manufacture the first antimicrobial stainless steel. It was created using 3PRE Technology, a proprietary process of activating microbial properties. 3PRE Technology can be added to stainless steel during the foundry process to render it capable of destroying and inhibiting bacteria and other disease-causing microorganisms.

SF&E metallurgists can tailor alloys to a customer’s specific application, improve upon a standard grade, and provide failure analysis when needed. And we have the foundry control to modify chemistry in a way that improves the life of a pump. For example, we can add more rare earth strengthening additions or produce tighter than industry standards.

Quality Assurance

Our quality assurance team has implemented processes that comply with ASTM, ASME, NAVSEA,EN/ISO, ISO, and EU PED depending on the application. We have hundreds of control procedures with documentation and data sheets. And we ensure finished products meet customer specifications through a series of non-destructive tests (NDTs).

SF&E has enjoyed a 20+ year partnership with Fristam Pumps, producing sand and investment castings for their pump parts, which come with critical requirements. Fristam’s Centrifugal Pumps have been the sanitary industry’s benchmark for quality and performance and are available in a variety of sizes, weighing anywhere from 15 pounds to 400 pounds. Their Positive Displacement Pumps come in rotary lobe or twin-screw styles and have a true clean-in-place (CIP) design where the pump can be thoroughly cleaned without removing any parts.

SF&E and Fristam work together to achieve measurable surface finish in order to determine if any defects are acceptable or unacceptable, and if unacceptable, whether they are repairable. Collaboration is needed because although there are standards, inspections can be subjective. SF&E needs to be able to leverage its expertise to meet and exceed Fristam’s expectations for quality.

An SF&E employee conducting quality inspections.

Pump volute in grinding cell.

Responsiveness

Pump manufacturers need a responsive foundry partner, no matter if they are working to launch a new design, keep up with growing industry demand, or supplying just-in-time replacement parts. SF&E prides ourselves on customer communication. Our secure online portal offers real-time status updates, change notifications, and the ability to review the option of expediting.

 

If you are looking for a reliable foundry partner with experience in the food and beverage industry, contact us at sales@stainlessfoundry.com.

 

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