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Watson-Marlow MasoSine pumps replace AOD’s at Pukka Pies to offer faster, quieter and more efficient operation

24 January 2011

MasoSine pump technology from the Watson-Marlow Pumps Group has solved a number of pump-related problems at leading UK pie manufacturer, Pukka Pies Ltd. Aiming to lower decibel levels, reduce cycle times and cut energy consumption, Pukka Pies replaced pneumatically operated air pumps with MasoSine SPS 2.5 pumps to transfer meat fillings at its headquarters in Syston, Leicestershire, from where it produces over 60 million pies every year.

“We were using a pneumatic air pump to transfer pre-cooked meat from a 200 litre capacity mixing bowl to a depositor feed hopper ready to fill the pies,” explains the company’s maintenance manager, Simon Kemp. “In the first instance, the pump was very noisy and we wanted to improve the working conditions for our bakery operatives. We also found that the meat mixture – which is rich, thick and full of meat chunks and therefore must not be damaged – was problematic for the pumps we had on site. We needed to find a pump which could suction lift the mixture from the mixing bowl up to the depositor feed hopper, whilst maintaining product integrity.”

Easy as pie
An enquiry for a MasoSine positive displacement pump from Watson-Marlow saw Pukka Pies introduced to the SPS 2.5 model, a highly reliable, economic pump ideally suited to high pressure, hygienic operations in sectors such as food manufacture. The pump’s exclusive sinusoidal rotor overcomes the limitations of conventional rotary lobe pumps to produce powerful suction with low shear, low pulsation and gentle handling, all of which contributes significantly to lower noise output.

“With the installation of the first MasoSine SPS 2.5 we managed to lower noise from 94 decibels peak, to 74 decibels peak,” states a pleased Mr Kemp.

The process of transferring meat to the top level depositor feed hopper is controlled by Pukka Pies’ own variable speed drive (VSD) system. In combination with the easily-integrated SPS series pump, which features impressive suction lift for the dense pie fillings, the new system is delivering a further benefit in the name of 20% faster pumping times.

“Furthermore, since the installation of our first MasoSine pump around two years ago, we now use far less compressed air – to the tune of 660 litres per minute. This obviously equates to significant savings in our energy consumption,” adds Mr Kemp.

The MasoSine pumps at Pukka Pies consist of stainless steel power frames and bearing houses with elevated baseplates and wheels to assist with mobility and reduce friction. They also feature a right-angle gearbox to reduce footprint.

No-Hassle Cleaning
With around 280 employees, Pukka Pies was founded in 1963 by Trevor Storer, and is run today by his sons, Tim and Andrew. Pukka is now one of the UK’s most popular pie brands, offering fillings that include steak and kidney, chicken and mushroom, and minced beef and onion.

With hygiene and product quality two factors of paramount importance at Pukka Pies, changing from one product/recipe to another requires stripping down the pumps for cleaning.

“We strip the pumps between product changes and at the end of each working day in accordance with a strict cleaning schedule, so it’s great that the MasoSine pumps are so easy to dismantle and clean,” says Mr Kemp. “It only takes around 20 minutes before we are ready to go again, which is quicker than using our previous air pumps. Crucially, the sine pumps are stripped and cleaned by machine operatives rather than trained engineers.”

On the level
Impressive growth at Pukka Pies has been matched by process innovation, with the MasoSine pumps a case in point. The company now has a number of SPS pumps on site, including several pumps operating with a flooded suction and three which utilise the suction lift capacity of the sine pump.

“The different fillings must not be broken up by the pumping operation,” explains Mr Kemp. “We need to retain sizeable pieces of meat to maintain the necessary quality levels our customers expect. Fortunately for us, the large pumping chambers within the MasoSine SPS pumps preserve and maintain product integrity, even for fragile product such as pre-cooked meat or chicken.”

Since installation, Pukka Pies report no reliability or maintenance issues, with the pumps operating every day between 08:00 and 17:00, transferring around 200 litres of pre-cooked meat every 20 minutes.

High pressure performer
SPS series pumps offer capacity up to 91.2 m³/hr and pressures up to 15 bar thanks to their heavy duty construction. They can safely pump high viscosity products, while their innovative yet simple design allows economical in-line maintenance. With a single shaft and rotor, there is no need for the complex timing gears and multiple seals associated with conventional rotary lobe pumps.

“There’s no doubt that the MasoSine pumps have become a key part of our process,” concludes Mr Kemp. “Firstly, the health and safety of our workforce is paramount, which along with clinical hygiene, process efficiency and reduced energy consumption, have made the entire project a real success.”


Heather Beale                              

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