Fit For Service
by Lynn Petrak
Dairy processors look for pumps, valves and fittings
that meet their needs for efficiency, sanitation and flow.
processors have control issues. And the proper pumps, valves and fittings
These days, as dairy companies run more products on
tight margins and stringent requirements, the systems that control flow
must reflect a user’s multifaceted operational realities. “As
the trend of consolidation within the industry continues, as well as the
demands of a more global marketplace, processors need to be agile and
flexible in their production processes. Manufacturers need to be quick to
develop new products and technologies to enable processors to meet those
demands as efficiently as possible,” says Karsten Becker, deputy
marketing manager for Portland, Maine-based valve and pump manufacturer
Tuchenhagen Flow Components LLC.
Although it may sound ironic, as dairies look to become
more versatile in their offerings, they seek easier-to-use and often
tailored systems. “Many are looking for specific functionalities for
specific applications or issues,” says Patrick Sibley, technical
manger of valves for the Waukesha Cherry-Burrell unit of Delavan,
Wis.-based manufacturer SPX Process Equipment.
Sibley notes that the trend doesn’t mean standby
models are all going the way of the buggy whip. “Both cutting-edge
products and classic, decades-established offerings like check valves that
seal at low pressures but in high velocity environments are in
demand,” he says.
A similar outlook is shared by Joe Schlicher, national
sales manager for fitting supplier WCB-Flow Products, also part of SPX
Process Equipment. “As the demand for standard fittings remains
strong in the dairy industry, the demand for custom fabrications and
specialty fittings is on the rise,” he says.
Meantime, Roger Axon, product manager for Vernon Hills,
Ill.-based processing and packaging equipment manufacturer Tetra Pak Inc.,
points out that meeting dairy customer demands involves going beyond just
equipment. “The supplier needs to provide good technical support and
solutions, together with good quality, reliable solutions that are
commercially competitive,” he says.
Bill Duyser, marketing manager for Bradford Fittings,
part of Pewaukee, Wis.-based fittings and valve supplier Dixon Sanitary,
also underscores the importance of comprehensive support. “The
biggest thing our company offers is fact we can distribute to our customers
quickly with 13 different distribution centers,” he says. “In
many cases we can ship same day.”
New Product Showcase
Hands-on service that takes into account customization,
time and labor concerns and capacity issues also means constantly keeping
up with the market by offering new equipment.
On the pump side, several new models, including
centrifugal, positive displacement and self-priming pumps, have been
introduced in recent months.
APV, part of Lake Mills, Wis.-based Invensys plc, has
redesigned its V2 centrifugal pump to create a new stainless-steel model with
a stainless adapter. “The adaptor before was painted cast, and
customers wanted stainless to eliminate the possibility of paint
chips,” explains Anita Maabjerg, regional product manger, Americas,
APV’s most popular pump, according to Maabjerg,
is the W+ high-efficiency, heavy-duty centrifugal pump, featuring
front-loaded seals for easy maintenance. “We also have the inducer
version of the W+, and a self-priming pump, the WS+, for emptying tank
trucks,” she says.
Going stainless was a consideration as well for SPX
Process Equipment. The company recently began offering standardized
stainless-steel adaptors for all of its 200 Series centrifugal pumps.
“The machined stainless steel construction eliminates corrosion
issues found in traditional adaptor materials,” says company
spokesman Scott Dilner.
In addition, SPX Process Equipment’s pumps group
has worked to meet customer needs with its Tru-Fit Close Coupled PD pump, a
design that allows for savings up to 25 percent in overall unit length,
translating into more floor space. “The design also enhances
cleanability and avoids issues associated with shaft misalignment,”
Fristam Pumps, Middleton, Wis., has come to market with
new pumps, too, including a high-pressure pump and a centrifugal pump
called the FPR model. “It is similar to our FPX pump, but we changed
the seal to make it more maintenance free,” explains Sam Raimond,
applications specialist. Raimond says that Fristam’s
best-selling pumps are the company’s centrifugal pumps, including its
FPX and FPR line, in addition to its line of liquid ring pumps that are
For rollout later in 2007, Raimond says, Fristam is
working on a new larger pump. “Capacities keep going up and line
sizes, too, so we need a pump that is bigger and can supply more
flow,” he says.
At Tetra Pak, Axon says, the company’s most
popular pumps include its SX and SRU CIP-able positive displacement pumps,
energy efficient low-shear pumps designed to save processors downtime for
cleaning. “The SX pump design was driven by changes in
processing,” he says, citing developments like more
extended-shelf-life and aseptic products.
Processors also have more to choose from when it comes
to valves. Tuchenhagen, for example, has responded to customer interest in
reliable, low-maintenance products by introducing a new PMO mixproof
cheese-curd valve and a PMO mixproof tank-bottom valve. In addition, Becker
says, the company offers a new control module. “The modules have high
visibility LED’s which indicate all stages of valve activation. New
sensors are very easy to set and are available in a variety of
configurations,” Becker explains.
Tetra Pak, too, has come out with new valves. “We
have available a complete new valve product line which was launched late
last year,” Axon says, adding that the new single-seat valve includes
variants like shut-off and changeover, reverse acting capability, a control
valve and other options.
At Waukesha Cherry-Burrell, Sibley says the
company’s most popular valves for dairy applications include its W60
Series single-seat valves, used for nearly all the duties for sanitary
pipeline equipment; its W45 check valves, with tight-shutoff and options
for high velocity flows like CIP; and its W7RS PMO mixproof valves.
More recently, Waukesha Cherry-Burrell has developed
some new valves, including self-contained pump over-pressure valves and new
adjustable-spring actuators with mechanical settings that are
interchangeable with standard products “The setting is visual-based,
without the need for field-calibration, master gauges and things like
that,” Sibley says, adding that the manufacturer now offers
electropneumatic positioning for control valves.
APV, meanwhile, is working on a new valve that is
slated for an early summer launch. For now, says regional product manger
Tom Gasser, APV’s most commonly used valves for dairy remain its
single-seat models. “We do sell some mixproof valves and doubleseat
valves — more or less, those are for when you replace old flow
control plates,” he says.
On the fittings front, Duyser says customers in the
industry are looking for cleanability and ease of use, in addition to the
ability to be shipped materials as soon as possible. “I would say
clamps are the most popular, because they are easy to disassemble,”
At WCB-Flow Products, Schlicher reports that demand for
standard fittings remains strong in the dairy sector, while orders for
custom and specialty fittings are on the rise. “With the integration
of modular skid systems being built around a specific plant’s
processing system, the use of custom-fit products unique to this design is
required,” he says. “To support these applications, WCB-Flow
Products has enhanced our capacities with dedicated manufacturing cells to
ensure the short lead times.”
Lynn Petrak is a freelance journalist based in the
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