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Feature Pumps Banging the drum for mobile pumping

One pharmaceutical manufacturer has overcome the issues associated with emptying drums of petroleum jelly, a high-viscosity fluid, through the use of a Viscoflux mobile drum emptying system from Flux Pumps

European pharmaceutical manu- facturer of creams and ointments for treating skin irritation carries out a precisely specified produc- tion process, whereby the ingredients and additives are mixed together before the ointment is filled into containers. One important constituent of these ointments is petroleum jelly, a sub- stance that is not free-flowing. The jelly is supplied in 200l drums with beads. For about ten years, the company had been using a stationary system with a stainless steel reciprocating pump guided by pneumatic cylinders to empty the drums. Due to its age, the transfer system was starting to cause technical problems, in particular, downtime due to wear. The manufac- turer initially investigated whether comprehensive repair would be worth- while; however, a cost analysis revealed that refurbishing the system would be expensive.


The system also had a few disadvan- tages. The pulsating filling process and high shearing forces had a negative influence on product quality, for instance. Added to this was the high noise level of the reciprocating pump, which staff were exposed to. Moreover, the system used compressed air, which meant lower efficiency compared, for

example, to electric systems. Another drawback was that it was heavy and difficult to dismantle and that its posi- tion was fixed. The company was there- fore looking for a mobile system that could be better integrated into the pro- duction process.

One of the alternatives considered was heating the raw material to make it pumpable, e.g. for using a centrifugal pump. However, this approach was problematic due to the long heating process and other associated issues. After weighing up the pros and cons, the company opted for Flux's Viscoflux mobile drum emptying system.

Continuous, gentle pumping The system consists of a mobile lifting device with an integrated override clutch, motor, eccentric worm-drive pump and follower plate with process seal. Barrels with a wide range of diam- eters, including conical drums, can be emptied by exchanging the follower plate and the process seal. The pump unit is lowered for pumping by means of a rechargeable battery powered motor until the follower plate touches the material. From then on, the lifting sledge is lowered further indepen- dently of the pump. During the pump- ing process, the self-priming eccentric

The Viscoflux

mobile drum empty- ing system offers cost and energy savings, physical flexibility and additional process reliability

worm-drive pump creates a vacuum underneath the follower plate which pulls the plate down automatically. The system pumps continuously, so that the fluid is handled gently.

Peace of mind in cheese processing

products and seven Busch booster pumps on the ring main system which supplies vacuum to Multivac and Supervac machines.


The Multivac line produces Cathedral City sliced and thick sliced mature and lighter cheese, with the Supervac used for the 2.5kg and 5kg deli block line. Mark Yates, after sales director for Busch (UK), said: “A well planned and regular service contract using skilled person- nel brings a wide range of benefits to customers, but probably most important is the peace of mind it provides to produc- tion and engineering managers.”

“In addition to maximising uptime, vacuum equipment that is regularly and properly serviced operates so much more

efficiently, resulting in increased plant productivity and with energy prices continuing to rise, also helps to keep running costs to a minimum. Budget planning and control is straightforward with a fixed cost service contract. Most importantly, our customers can also be confident that any spares used are genuine manufacturer sourced products and not inferior quality counterfeits.” Chris Lowe, engineering manager for Dairy Crest Pre Pack in Frome, said: “The importance of ensuring we have continuous and efficient oper- ation of our vacuum packaging system is something that cannot be under- estimated. “We rely on the service provided by Busch’s engineers and their knowl- edge and expertise is extremely helpful to us... they also offer useful advice on other solutions to help us to increase our operational efficiencies.” Busch

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acuum pump manufacturer Busch is providing a service package to UK dairy produce specialists, Dairy Crest. Engineers from Busch provide regular service to a range of vacuum pumps, including three Busch R 5 rotary vane

In the case of the petroleum jelly, during pumping the flexible process seal adjusts to the drum’s beads and, to a certain extent, even to dents in the drum wall. The product is hermetically sealed in this way, ensuring a reliable process even if pumping is interrupted. Almost no residual jelly is left behind on the drum wall. The amount remaining in the barrel is less than 1%. This ensures efficient use of the fluid and no need for subsequent cleaning. The mobile Flux drum emptying system is available for several different diameters as standard. The Pharma Food Cosmetic version can also be used for conical drums, even if the fluid is supplied in aseptic bags. These bags do not even have to be fixed. The residual amount that can be achieved here is still less than 2%.

Since the pharmaceutical company uses petroleum jelly at various points in the production plant, the system's mobility is another advantage. Thanks to the integrated mobile lifting device, it can easily be moved to the required pumping location or cleaning station. This is even possible if the place of use is located on a different floor because its compact design means it can be transported in a lift.

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