Sanitary Lobe Pump Guide for Chocolate Applications
What is a Lobe Pump?
A Lobe Pump is a versatile pump that can be used in a range of trades, including Beverage, Pharmaceutical, Chemical and Food industries. Later in this guide we will be focusing on the use of Lobe Pumps within the Food Industry, specifically for Chocolate applications. It is important to note that Lobe Pumps still have many benefits for other industries including, being highly efficient, reliable and corrosion resistant, as well as being manufactured to support CIP and SIP (Clean-in-place/Sterilize-in-place) features.
To view a list of potential applications that a Lobe Pump can be used for, visit Sanitary Lobe Pump.
How does a Lobe Pump work?
There are 2 lobes within the pump casing that rotate in opposite directions without touching each other. The lobes will rotate passed the suction port of the pump casing, when this happens, the volume between the lobes increases, creating a vacuum which draws liquid into the pump casing. As the lobes rotate towards the discharge port, pressure builds up due to the volume between the lobes decreasing. This causes the liquid within the pump casing to flow out of the discharge port, as shown in the image below.
Benefits of Using a Lobe Pump
- The Lobe Pumps that TS Group supply are fully EHEDG compliant and are manufactured from Stainless Steel to ensure the pumps are hygienic.
- Can be ATEX rated for pumps being used within potentially explosive environments.
- Lobe Pumps can be fitted into pipework horizontally or vertically, highlighting their versatility. If the pump is fitted within the pipework vertically, the pump can self-drain, which is particularly helpful alongside the SIP & CIP feature of a Lobe Pump.
- Lobe Pumps have a speed range of up to 1500 rpm.
- The mechanical seal and lobes of the pump can be completely pulled out from the front of the pump casing which aids in maintenance of a Lobe Pump.
- The discharge pressure of our Lobe Pump is up to 15 Bar.
- Lobe Pumps have accurate flow control ranging from 0.04 to 2.5 l/rev
- Can be fitted with a variety of connection types, heating or cooling jackets, air or spring loaded integral safety valves, as well as the option of Bi-Wing Lobe Design or Quattro Lobe Design. These variations can all be fitted based on the application you wish to use a Lobe Pump for, let us know what you need, and we’ll spec the pump up for you.
How to maintain a Lobe Pump
Regularly checking your Lobe Pump will avoid unnecessary downtime and reduce breakdown costs.
What to check
- Is the pump producing excessive noise? This may indicate lobes dragging against the pump casing, as well as wear problems to the pump bearings or gears.
- The gearbox oil level, if the oil level has decreased, check over your pump for oil leaks.
- The suction and discharge pressure of the pump, ensure that they are at the standard system levels.
- If your Lobe Pump is fitted with a Heating or Cooling Jacket, check the temperature is correct.
- The pressure and flow of the flushing system, if featured on your pump.
When to change the oil in your Lobe Pump
- After 300 hours of operating since the initial commissioning of the pump, the oil should be changed
- After the initial oil change, one should be carried out on your pump every 3000 operating hours or every 3 months, whichever comes first.
- If your Lobe Pump isn’t used regularly, the oil should be changed every 2000 hours of operating or at least every 3 months.
Using a Lobe Pump for pumping Chocolate
Pumping chocolate can be a very delicate process. For this reason, a number of factors have to be taken into account. The viscosity of the fluid can be very high, so it is essential that the appropriate pump is selected. This is why the Lobe Pump is an ideal solution, they are hygienic pump, easy to clean and are capable of efficiently pumping high viscosity products.
For chocolate containing suspended solids, such as nuts, your Lobe Pump will be provided with Bi-Wing lobes which reduces the amount of damage to the solids.
One issue faced when pumping chocolate is maintaining a constant temperature because if the temperature is too hot it can cause the chocolate to caramelise, whereas, if the temperature is too low the product could solidify or crystallise within the pump. This can affect the efficiency of the pump, with a reduced flow or even a complete blockage which will more than likely cause damage to your Lobe Pump. TS Pumps solve this issue for their customers by fitting a Heating or Cooling Jacket that will maintain the product being pumped at a constant temperature, the jacket can be fitted to the front cover of the Lobe Pump or to the body of the pump, alternatively, a jacket can be fitted to both of these areas.
2 Recommendations for protecting your Lobe Pump when pumping Chocolate
- Chocolate is an abrasive, shear-sensitive product with a high risk of caramelisation, where fast rotation speeds could damage both the product and the pump, to avoid this, we recommend low speeds. In general, we recommend a speed lower than 100 rpm for chocolate applications, this is applicable to all liquids with a high sugar content, typically the higher the sugar content, the lower the speed we recommend.
- When the chocolate has a particularly high abrasive content, we also recommend choosing our FDA approved hardening treatment to reduce the wear of the pump parts.
What type of sealing is appropriate for pumping chocolate through a Lobe Pump?
TS Group supply various seal options that are ideal for your Lobe Pump when being used for chocolate, all of which are in accordance with FDA and EC-1935/2004 guidelines. Your choice of seal must be appropriate for the type of chocolate you are pumping.
Single mechanical seal Tungsten carbide (TC/TC/FKM)
The single mechanical seal is our standard choice for chocolate applications. Mechanical seals are a durable option suited for higher pressures and more abrasive products. This is due to Tungsten carbide being the recommended material because of the material’s high resistance to wear and shock.
Maximum system pressure depends on the pump model.
Double mechanical seal (TC/TC/FKM)
In the risk of dry running the pump, a lubricated mechanical seal is a suitable option. Lubrication can be done by food grade fat or with a food grade oil. Both low pressure and overpressure can be used with this seal configuration.
Maximum system pressure depends on the pump model, please get in contact with us for this information.
Double O-Ring seal with food grade lubrication (FKM)
This is a user friendly and economical option for applications with a risk of dry running. Lubrication can be done by food grade fat or with a food grade oil.
The service life of these seals will be reduced with higher speed, pressure and abrasiveness. Maximum system pressure of 3 bar.
Food Grade Fat Lubrication
The lubricator supplies the mechanical seals with a food-grade grease certified according to USDAH1. After activation an inert gas will empty the bottle within 1 to 12 months depending on the setting.
Chocolate can be very abrasive and can caramelize, leading to rapid wear of the surfaces, the aim of introducing food grade fat lubrication is that it will coat the mechanical seal faces with clean grease rather than chocolate, therefore reducing pump wear.
Head over to the product page…
Upon delivery, your Lobe Pump will come with a lobe rotor tool and dummy rotors to aid in replacing lobes and mechanicals seals within the pump, just one way we aim to reduce your pump’s downtime and increase efficiency. Interested in getting your hands on one of our Lobe Pumps? No worries, get in touch with us today!
Contact us now using the information below or head to our Contact page, fill out the form and we’ll be in touch soon.