© Gernot Walter

Smoothie in a bottle

Smoothies with pieces of fruit, or dairy prod­ucts such as butter­milk and yogurt pose no problem for the ProMi­nent DULCO flex Control peri­staltic metering pump. It places the right amount in the pack­aging, even when it comes to viscose food prod­ucts – made possible by an EC drive.

ProMi­nent is a glob­ally estab­lished expert for metering tech­nology and water treat­ment. The precisely control­lable diaphragm metering pumps, from the company based in Heidel­berg, ensure that the water quality in swim­ming pools meets the prescribed stan­dards exactly, for example. Peri­staltic pumps, on the other hand, convey fluids, even with a high viscosity and strong outgassing, without problem. Just like a tube of tooth­paste, the pump keeps pushing the mate­rial forward. But what do you do when both skills are required at the same time – metering viscose mate­rial with preci­sion? ProMi­nent devel­oped the DULCO flex Control peri­staltic metering pump, which combines both strengths with each other precisely, for this purpose.

In a class of its own

Conveying high-viscosity media with a constant speed, and bottling or decanting it precisely is a real chal­lenge – and not only in the food industry. Thanks to intel­li­gent soft­ware, the DULCO flex Control inde­pen­dently controls the metered quan­ti­ties – in a range of a maximum of 30 liters to a minimum of 10 milli­liters per hour. This means it can add precise quan­ti­ties of color addi­tives or flavoring agents to the food prod­ucts on their way to the pack­aging. As the pump can also meter media with gas inclu­sions without prob­lems, outgassing liquids, such as the disin­fec­tant hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), can be easily conveyed. The peri­staltic metering pump simply pushes the air along, too.

The DULCO flex Control peri­staltic metering pump from ProMi­nent can precisely meter viscous mate­rial. (Photo | ProMi­nent)

Spick and span

Pumps with valves or impellers have gaps and other dead space. Often, they have to be disas­sem­bled so they can be cleaned to ensure they are germ free. In contrast to this, with peri­staltic pumps, the food product only comes into contact with the hose. The food-safe hose can be cleaned and disin­fected using CIP (cleaning in place) or quickly changed following a batch change. ProMi­nent devel­oped a unique process without tools for a quick change: One half of the rotor can be removed so that there is enough space to remove the hose by hand and to insert a new one again. The DULCO flex Control is also cleaning up in another market in addi­tion to the food industry. In water treat­ment, it adds long-chain poly­mers to indus­trial waste­water. The suspended parti­cles grow to a partic­ular particle size and can then be easily filtered out in another process step.

Customized solu­tion

Intel­li­gent soft­ware also needs an intel­li­gent drive. The ebm-papst VDC 49.15 brush­less DC motor meets this require­ment. With inte­grated control, it aligns with the dynamic adjust­ment range of the pump. Depending on the metered quan­tity, the motor turns very slowly to very fast, making the precise metering possible in the first place – and without over­heating during contin­uous oper­a­tion.

“ebm-papst catered to our design wishes. We now have a special drive tailored to our needs,” explains Holger Ludwig, Project Manager from ProMi­nent. ebm-papst in Lauf adapted the near-stan­dard drive to the require­ments of the patented hose-changing process of the pump. An extended drive shaft with a cross profile now fits as the perfect coun­ter­part on the special axle shape of the rotor. This means the force of the motor is not only reli­ably trans­ferred onto the hose, but also means that only half of the rotor needs to be removed during the change. “We have found a partner in ebm-papst that supports the preci­sion of our prod­ucts in the best possible way,” says Ludwig – and so the seeds are sown for further projects. 

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