Emerging markets. Cryptocurrencies. So-called “sustainable” goods. When people think of growth markets, these are the things that typically spring to mind. But did you know that, according to a press release published by The Express Wire, the beverage pumps market looks as though it will likewise enjoy impressive growth? Indeed, forecasts see it growing steadily year over year until it reaches a total value of more than $1 billion by 2026.
If you aren’t familiar with the industry, you may find yourself wondering what exactly a beverage pump is and its place in the food-service industry. Beverage pumps have places in both production and consumer applications, and the dairy, non-alcoholic, and alcoholic segments of the industry use these pumps to make and deliver their goods. Beverage pumps come in a number of configurations, and in this article, we will highlight the types of pumps used in food industry, how to choose the best one, and some common applications.
Choosing the Right Pump for Beverage Manufacturing
Beverage manufacturing — indeed, all food-related manufacturing — faces a number of market and regulatory challenges. Perhaps the biggest of these is sanitation. In order to maintain market share, maintain regulatory compliance, and avoid legal action, manufacturers must select pumps that are easy to clean and won’t foment bacterial growth or other kinds of spoilage. As one pump manufacturer explained to Maintenance Technology, “You may have five or six different regulators coming into your plant unannounced.”
But cleanliness is far from the only concern for manufacturers. Logistical and economic considerations also come into play. Some of these include:
Life Cycle Costs: The price of operating a pump is every bit as important as the cost of acquiring and installing it. Determining a pump’s operating efficiency is extremely important.
Physical / Chemical Characteristics of Moved Material: Different pumps excel at moving different kinds of materials and choosing one that fits poorly with its use case can greatly increase costs and decrease reliability.
Replacement Costs / Availability: Pump reliability and estimated lifetime should always be considered in light of estimated replacement price and pump availability. In some contexts, a relatively simple and easy-to-purchase pump is preferable to a longer-lasting but expensive to replace option.
Given these criteria, you must take care to select the right kind of pump. One popular option is a positive displacement pump, which works by trapping a certain amount material and then forcibly displacing it through the discharge area. Several types are employed in beverage manufacturing, such as peristaltic pumps. Also known as roller pumps, peristaltic pumps mimic the contraction and relaxation action found in the human digestive system. Relatively easy to clean and maintain, such pumps still face significant limitations when it comes to cleaning due to the fact that they typically use rubber hoses, which cannot tolerate temperatures greater than 200 °F. They are most typically used to move materials with a high solids content, although beverage applications include coffee machines and beer dispensers.
Progressive cavity pumps are another kind of positive displacement pump that displaces pumped material by trapping and forcing it through an array of distinct, regularly placed divots that are often arranged on some kind of screw-shaped rotor. They work well with materials that have high viscosity, such as cream or chocolate. While they often have relatively low energy requirements and modular constructions, they’re not well suited for clear, low-viscosity beverages.
While you’ll find these sorts of pumps in many food applications, they have more limited uses in beverages. We’ll discuss two more popular options in the next section.
Centrifugal Pumps vs AODD Pumps
Another kind of positive displacement pump that is widely used in beverage manufacturing is the double diaphragm pump. By employing a dyad of flexible membranes, this pump can continuously move fluids through a pumping system. Like other positive displacement pumps, they work well with highly viscous liquids. They also excel at moving materials such as honey or pre-gelled starches that might prove sensitive to sheer. And they can tolerate variations in flow, which often becomes necessary with very “thick” liquids.
Many applications don’t require the slow action provided by a double diaphragm pump. For the vast majority of end uses, a centrifugal pump will prove the best option. Economical to purchase, install, and operate, centrifugal pumps run at an exponentially faster rate. Their simple design makes them easy to maintain, run, and clean, and they can most often hold much larger volumes than the other pumps listed above. Your product will also not pulse as it runs through your system, and because centrifugal pumps are the most commonly found type of pump, you can quickly replace them should the need arise and do so at competitive prices.
Common Pump Applications in the Beverage Industry
The beverage industry is wide and varied, meaning that the application of centrifugal pumps in the food industry can look very different according to its context. Some common scenarios include the movement of:
Beer, wine, and similar fermented drink
Milk and cream
Constituent materials such as fruit-concentrate, flavoring syrups, and yeast
Oils and other liquid fats
Byproducts such as curds, whey, grain, and mash
Cleaning agents, including water and steam
This is only a few examples of common beverage-related pump applications. Each manufacturer has unique needs and needs a specific pump setup in order to meet them.