A West Virginia bottling facility faced frequent pump replacements.
United Dairy, Service Pump & Supply, BJM Pump LLCs

High-temperature applications are common in the food and beverage industry. Whether handling heated liquids or pumping cleaning solutions in clean-in-place (CIP) systems, many of types of pumps struggle to operate reliably when high temperatures are involved. When one West Virginia bottling facility was experiencing frequent replacement of its wash-down sump pumps, its maintenance team contacted a trusted service provider for support.

United Dairy bottles milk from family farms located within 100 miles of the plant.Image 1. United Dairy bottles milk from family farms located within 100 miles of the plant. (Images courtesy of BJM Pumps LLC)
Service Pump & Supply (SPS) has supported industrial equipment owners in the Ohio River Basin and Appalachia regions of the U.S. by providing pump and motor remanufacturing services since 1980. One of the company’s five service centers, based in Huntington, West Virginia, has a history of providing reliable service to the United Dairy plant in Charleston, West Virginia, a facility known for selling milk free of antibiotics and artificual growth hormones. Due to their long-standing relationship with the United Dairy plant, SPS makes regular site visits to the facility. In February 2015, Ron Keesee, an SPS support rep, was visiting with James Ward, maintenance manager at the United Dairy plant. During their plant tour, Ward spoke with Keesee about frequent pump replacements for one of their wash-down sumps. Each submersible pump that had been placed into the wash-down sump would work for three to six months before it needed to be replaced. Ward asked Keesee if they could find a pump better suited for the facility’s high-temperature application.
The process requires a cleaning solution to properly sanitize the tanks and trucksImage 2. The process requires a cleaning solution to properly sanitize the tanks and trucks, followed by a clean-water washdown using hot water heated to a maximum of 140 F. All the hot liquid from this wash-down cleaning process collects in the wash-down sump—sometimes along with mop strings or plastic tags.
The three-foot-deep wash-down sump in the roll-receiving area collects wash-down water, which is very hot and contains chemicals used during the cleaning process. The cleaning process first uses a solution to sanitize the tanks and trucks, then a clean water wash down using water heated to a maximum of 140 F. The hot liquid from this cleaning process collects into the wash-down sump. During their conversation, Ward and Keesee discussed the major requirements for a new submersible pump for the wash-down sump:
  1. Because the wash-down water flowing into the sump was consistently at 140 F, the new submersible pump had to handle high temperatures. Most submersible pumps can’t withstand liquids at temperatures higher than 104 F, because the high temperatures typically cause motor failure. In this case, the hot liquid had been causing the previous pumps to fail regularly over a two-year period.
  2. The submersible pump would need to be capable of handling any debris that might get into the wash-down sump. While the wash down process primarily sends liquids into the sump, mop strings or plastic tags also get washed into the sump. It was important to select a pump that would keep operating in the event any solid materials unintentionally entered the sump.
After his discussion with Ward, Keesee recommended a submersible shredder pump for the United Dairy plant’s wash-down sump. The selected pump was designed to pump temperatures up to 200 F and handle up to 3.5-inch solids. Using winding protection and National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Class R motor insulation, the pump’s motor can withstand temperatures up to 220 C. An automatic switch turns the motor off if the temperature or amp draw gets too high. When the motor cools, the switch automatically resets, and the pump resumes operating.
Service Pump & Supply worked closely with United Dairy bottling plant to find a longer-lasting solution for the facility’s washdown sumpsImage 3. Service Pump & Supply worked closely with United Dairy bottling plant to find a longer-lasting solution for the facility’s washdown sumps, which collect very hot, chemical-laden fluids. The original pumps were lasting three to six months.
Engineered to shred solids, the pump uses a cutting impeller with a tungsten carbide tip. This design allows the pump to rip apart solids against a tooth-edged, spiral-shaped diffuser plate. The pump is manufactured from hardened cast iron to withstand rough handling and is built with a 304 stainless steel motor housing to provide both abrasion and corrosion resistance. The pump’s motor is protected with double mechanical seals, comprised of a lower seal made of silicon carbide/silicon carbide and upper seal faces made of carbon/ceramic. An additional lip seal is installed above the impeller to help prevent unwanted materials from entering the seal chamber. After reviewing the specs with Keesee, Ward purchased the 7.5-horsepower (hp) submersible shredder pump. “SPS did a great job rebuilding some of our motors, so I trusted Ron’s recommendation,” Ward said. “Buying new pumps every few months gets expensive, so I was determined to find the right pump for our sump and save our maintenance dollars by installing a more heavy-duty submersible pump.” Ward’s in-house maintenance team installed the pump into the wash-down sump, using a steel cable to suspend the pump into the three-foot-deep pit and elevate it only inches from the bottom of the sump. “I’m pleased to report that the (pump) has been operating reliably in our wash-down sump for about 16 months now, and the high temperatures don’t seem to bother it one bit,” Ward said.