Recently, Bareman's Dairy, Holland Mich., was looking for an economical way to upgrade its pumps and modernize its pump lines.
Bareman's had been using Alfa Laval's standard Tri-Clover C Series, an affordable pump that usually offers more than 20 years of service. One approach to the upgrade might have been to select high-performance premium centrifugal pumps.
Over the last decade high-performance pumps have been developed to meet new complex and demanding requirements that justify the initial purchase costs. However, budget-constrained applications continued to be handled by pumps like the C Series. What the industry did not offer until recently was an improved standard-duty pump to meet today's stringent demands for improved processes on a tight budget.
Don Scholten, manager of operations at Bareman's, approached his Alfa Laval distributor about injecting new life into his plant's C Series centrifugal pumps while minimizing costs. Fortunately for Bareman's Dairy, its upgrade project coincided with the final beta testing phase of Alfa Laval's new product launch, the Tri-Clover brand Solid C Series pumps. The Solid C maintains the C Series low-cost position while offering the latest advances in efficiency, design, and maintenance.
Bareman's Joins TestBareman's Dairy has more than a 30-year history as a quality dairy product company, and produces more than 5.5 million lbs. of milk and juice per week, with primary markets including supermarkets, convenience stores, and schools. Bareman's served as one of the Beta test sites for the Solid C.
The first test pump was put in service on a gallon line at 80 gpm flow rates. The pump operates for 16 hours before a daily CIP.
Bareman's results have exceeded expectations in many tangible ways.
"It has been standard procedure for us to disassemble the C Series pumps on a weekly basis in order to remove product buildup on the seal faces" Scholten says. "We have now run the Solid C for eight weeks and the pump continues to pass QA inspection without requiring pump disassembly for manual seal cleaning." For just the six pumps in the filling area that will represent a labor savings of at least 1 1/2 hours per week, he added.
Reverse flow of the cleaning fluids is common with CIP procedures in dairies. The Solid C's double threaded impeller and impeller nut will not back off in reverse flow. Scholten says his crew no longer needs to modify the impeller pin so that it does not center and release the impeller when the pumps are cleaned with reverse flow.
The upgrades of the Solid C integrated many of Alfa Laval's pump and seal design features. The seal carbon runs against a silicon carbide stationary seal instead of the stainless back plate. A self-centering stub shaft provides smooth and concentric seal contact and contributes to long lasting and reliable seal performance. A common seal size is used for all sized pumps--the same seal is used in Alfa Laval' premium LKH pumps.
No more foaming problemsFoaming issues are common in many milk filling lines. At Bareman's the shortening of the line run from the pump to the filler with the Solid C has helped resolve foaming issues.
"Before our piping and pump changes, we would even have extreme situations where we would have to shut down the fill line to flush the foam out of the lines before resuming production," Scholten says. Although other factors are involved, Scholten attributes some of the improvement to the Solid C's design, which incorporates impeller and seal designs found in premium pumps--features known to reduce foaming tendencies.
Upgrading to the Solid C was a rather simple matter for Bareman's. As the previous pump was experiencing some cavitation when the supply tank was low, the inlet pipe was accommodated to accept a larger pump inlet. Otherwise, the plant only adjusted the pipe hangers to raise the height of discharge piping and accommodate the taller discharge port of the new pump. With this exception, the Solid C fits right in to an existing C Series installation.
Bob McDowell, quality control mgr. for Bareman's Dairy summarizes, "So far our experiences are positive. The pump is handling our finished products well from the standpoint of mechanical and hydraulic capabilities and we are experiencing no problem in achieving effective CIP. Quality Control sees no problem whatsoever with the pump." Scholten concludes that based on continued success, Bareman's will upgrade the rest of the plant with Solid C pumps.