MasoSine pump provides rapid drum unloading at Britvic07 December 2011

Britvic is reporting that four MasoSine SPS pumps, from Watson-Marlow, built into a bespoke drum unloading system, are allowing its plant to unload 45 gallon (200 litre) drums of fruit juice concentrate, four at a time, in just two minutes.

Birkenhead-based controls specialist Compere Systems built Britvic's batch unloading equipment, and managing director Graham Fenney says the pumps were selected partly because tipping solutions couldn't match the cleanliness requirement or fit into the available space, and partly because the firm had used Watson-Marlow before on a conventional syrup pumping application.

The custom rig uses four 5.5kW MasoSine SPS pumps piped to four suction lances mounted on a pneumatic cylinder, to allow simultaneous unloading of the four, 45-gallon drums. Fenney describes the concept as based on a semicircle configuration feeding six stations, with each station able to datum a pallet holding the drums.

"The unloading head pivots in the centre of the semicircle and can rotate round to each position," explains Fenney. "This allows the operator to bring in a pallet, position it, remove the drum lids, prepare the inner plastic and insert the lance – all in the two minutes it takes for the previous pallet of four drums to unload. It's a very efficient load and unload process."

The MasoSine pumps themselves are mounted on a mezzanine in the middle of the plant semicircle, one metre off the ground. Fenney says they are ideal for such industrial and sanitary applications because they can handle pressures up to 15 bar and capacities up to 91.2m³/hr, while also providing a gentle, low-shear pumping action.

Equally, the single rotor design helps preserve product integrity and eliminates the need for fragile timing gears, for example, associated with rotary lobe pumps. Also, the single rotor design means one shaft and one seal, resulting in lower maintenance and lifetime ownership costs.

So impressed is the soft drinks manufacturer, that the company has recently enquired about taking further rigs.

Brian Tinham

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