Targeted product recovery in hygienic manufacturing reduces waste, decreases operating costs and maximizes the use of raw materials and end products.
by Wallace Wittkoff

As budgets tighten, operators of manufacturing facilities must implement new ways to meet established production quotas while spending less money. Improved operational efficiencies can critically affect the profitability of food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic manufacturers, from the most basic production-line level through entire plant efficiencies, and even overall corporate performance.

One common solution for this has been increasing the focus to more energy-efficient, “green” operations. This has led to the incorporation of more efficient light bulbs or streamlining operations to reduce the plant’s consumption of electricity, which leads to a decreased carbon footprint. The ultimate goal of these lean manufacturing operations is to realize current or higher product yields while using fewer resources, resulting in a healthier bottom line.

Many green initiatives, however, are not driven by sound economic principles. Focusing on improved energy efficiency and consumption in manufacturing operations is admirable, but many manufacturers have already maximized their energy efficiencies. Because of innovative fluid-transfer methods, greater savings than those realized in energy alone can be realized in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic/personal care industries.

Product waste is one area of hygienic manufacturing that experiences extremely high costs. The McKinsey Quarterly Food Waste Alliance reported that, annually, more than $120 billion of product is wasted worldwide. The Natural Resources Defense Council also estimates that the U.S. loses 40 percent of its food from farm to fork to landfills. Between farm and fork are the processing plants that manufacture some of these products. These plants are the focus of this article.

Eccentric disc pumps in hygienic manufacturingEccentric disc pumps can be used in hygienic manufacturing as a normal process pump and as a method of increased product recovery. The result is less waste of critical raw materials and expensive finished products, resulting in a healthier bottom line.

The term product recovery can refer to several different hygienic manufacturing operations—such as improper dosing and product lost through leakages or spills. However, this article will focus on product recovery as it pertains to either raw ingredients or intermediate/finished products that may remain in the suction or discharge fluid-transfer lines at the conclusion of production runs or between product changeovers.

Positive displacement eccentric disc pumping technology possesses the line-stripping and product-recovery capabilities necessary to help save hygienic manufacturers hundreds of thousands of dollars per manufacturing site annually. In turn, the food and beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries have the potential to save many millions annually in recovered—and still marketable and consumable—end products.

Determine High Product-Recovery Values

Three criteria are used to determine if high product-recovery values can be achieved in production processes that directly impact the manufacturing operation’s top and bottom lines:

  • Ingredients used in the raw materials for intermediate or final products that are both extremely expensive and valuable
  • Product changeovers (switching between products) occuring frequently, such as one or more times per day
  • Appropriateness of the product-recovery technique or technology for the ingredient or product

Many critical areas exist within a hygienic-manufacturing operation in which fluid transfer is required. However, many manufacturers are wasting these expensive materials when they do not optimize their product-recovery capabilities, which can be accomplished through the use of eccentric disc pump technology.

The Challenge

Incorporating increased energy efficiency into the hygienic-manufacturing process is one way to save operating costs, but it is not necessarily the best way. Table 1 shows how much money is consumed and potentially saved per positive displacement pump if the cost for energy is $0.10 per kilowatt hour (kWh).

Power consumption and potential savings per positive displacement pumpTable 1. The power consumption and potential savings per positive displacement pump if the energy cost is $0.10 per kilowatt hour

The sum of $1,008 is the energy cost to run the pump annually. If the energy consumption was reduced by 20 percent, which is unlikely, it would represent a savings of almost $202 per pump per year. For a comparison, Table 2 shows a conservative example of how much can be saved when using positive displacement eccentric disc pump technology with a minimum product-recovery capability of 70 percent to transfer a finished product from a feed tank to a filler.

Cost savings when using positive displacement eccentric disc pumpTable 2. Cost savings when using a positive displacement eccentric disc pump with a minimum product-recovery capability of 70 percent

When product-recovery savings of $32,160 are divided by power savings of $202, the product-recovery savings is 160 times higher per pump. The product-recovery savings accumulated in one year in this example will pay for 32 years of energy to operate the pump (not including interest). This is a huge opportunity for the manufacturer. Within today’s pumping technologies, little room exists to improve motor efficiency—especially not by 20 percent. However, product recovery can be improved.