Fit For Service
by Lynn Petrak
Dairy processors look for pumps, valves and fittings that meet their needs for efficiency, sanitation and flow.
Dairy processors have control issues. And the proper pumps, valves and fittings can help.
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, for pumps.
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,” Dilner adds.
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 CIP-able.
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,” he says.
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 Chicago area.$OMN_arttitle="Fit For Service";?> $OMN_artauthor="Lynn Petrak";?>