Creative solution solves clean-in-place pump service life issue

Beef Central, 28/01/2017

SOMETIMES parts that are providing reliable, long-lasting service in a meat processing environment can suddenly begin to fail when the conditions change.

Such was the case recently for Queensland food and beverage industry pumps and cleaning systems provider Euro Pumps, which had a processor client needing to raise the water temperature used for cleaning from 55C to 75C.

The abattoir had recently changed the livestock mix going through the plant, and the 20 degree increase in water temperature was necessary to cope with changes in fat and blood adhesion and soiling on production line equipment.

Raising the water temperature was effective in cleaning the production line equipment, but it caused an unexpected side-effect: the nylon-cased clean-in-place (CIP) pump valves began to fail.

The initial solution attempt was to custom-manufacture new valve cages from stainless steel, which brought about other issues causing the stainless-steel springs to break and fail. Further investigations showed that the spring breakage was attributed to the stainless steel binding on stainless steel, so the solution was electro-coating the springs. This, however, did not prove to be a long-lasting solution as the coating quickly wore off.

A suggested anti-seize type compound was not an option due to the hot (75˚C), high pressure (100 Bar) water flowing through the system. By this time, the processor was getting anxious and the problem needed to be solved quickly.

Euro Pumps product development manager Joanne Field said the problem had people involved with the project stumped, until they sought some assistance and advice from specialist plastics manufacturer, Cut To Size Plastics.

“I called Cut To Size’s technical sales representative, Campbell Parminter, who immediately started thinking outside the box,” she said.

“After examination of the original cages, material identification and a check for chemical compatibility with common additives to water, Cut To Size identified that the failure was due to accelerated chemical degradation due to the elevated heat in a chemical environment – and not just heat, as was first suggested,” she said.

Cut To Size recommended a special high performance polymer to solve the problem. This test polymer was highly successful and has passed a standard service life test of 1000 hours. Further testing is still underway and both parties are expecting it to far exceed the standard 1000 hours.


Old Nylon Valve cages and the stainless steel solution (top) and Cut To Size’s new special high performance polymer for Euro Pumps’ pump valves (below)

“The solution was a great example of how teamwork between suppliers and customers can yield outstanding results,” Ms Field said. “Before we contacted Cut To Size, some of these pumps were wearing out in as little as one week and our client needed much more reliable performance than that. Campbell and I enjoy working together on solving problems,” Ms Field said.

“Now they’re not only lasting the industry standard, but we are aiming to well exceed it, pending the results of further testing,” she said.

Mr Parminter is happy with the success of the solution, which he hopes will further cement Cut To Size’s relationship with Euro Pumps. “Our attitude is always to find the best way to solve our customer’s problems, we listen and ask questions – we never put a project in the ‘too hard basket’,” he said.

Trend towards Clean-In-Place systems

Higher safety demands faced by food, beverage and agribusiness processors and packagers are driving demand for advanced engineering plastics to withstand the demands of the latest cleaning and hygiene systems.

Clean in Place (CIP) systems, enzyme systems and aseptic packaging are important areas where such plastics can offer high performance in terms of resistance to temperatures, radiation, chemicals and water.

Efficient food packaging equipment no longer has to be disassembled for cleaning, being fitted instead with a built-in “flush” (or CIP Clean in Place) system. Acid-based cleaning solutions are automatically routed through CIP machines’ plumbing so the tear-down and set-up cycles that previously took many hours can be reduced to a matter of minutes.

Better hygiene and equipment utilisation outcomes are also produced by advanced agribusiness systems where enzymes are used for cleaning tanks and equipment such as ultrafiltration membranes or heat exchangers in the dairy industry, for example.

“Both CIP and enzyme systems make demands on the materials with which they come in contact,” said Frank Domajnko, QLD manager with Cut To Size Plastics.

CIP systems are generally acid-based or, more commonly, chlorine-based. Depending upon the concentration, these cleaners can be moderately to extremely caustic. Plastics such as Cut-to-Size’s high performance polymers can be highly resistant to acid and chlorine. At the same time, their non-porous surface resists staining, clearly outperforming widely used alternatives.

Selecting the correct materials for their dimensional stability, excellent wear resistance, high strength and ability to be used continuously at higher temperatures also make it an ideal candidate for replacing stainless steel components. For example, coupled with its stiffness and ease of fabrication, high performance plastics are commonly used in food presses. Here too, the material resists the highly-chlorinated sanitising solutions.


About Cut To Size

Cut To Size Plastics has been supplying Engineering Plastics to Australian and International customers for 35 years. The company cuts, routs, bends and machines a variety of high-performance plastics to customer specifications. The company uses advanced CNC machining equipment at its facility at Yennora, coupled with GibbsCAM and Solidworks software to translate component drawings from computer to the CNC machines.

The company holds extensive stocks of Nylon, Oilamid, Acetal, Teflon and UHMWPE combined with HDPE, PVC and Polypropylene and high performance plastics to complement service to Australian Industry. The company also has access to the most advanced engineering plastics worldwide.

  • Information about Euro Pumps, contact Joanne Field Mobile: 0409 123 850 or email:
  • Information about Cut-To-Size Plastics contact Pat Flood, ph 02 9681 0400,

Source: Euro Pumps




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