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Avoiding sticky situations

Florian Walter, MasoSine Product Manager at Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions, outlines the importance of design in pumps that transfer and blend juice concentrates, sugar syrups and flavourings found in soft drinks, and what companies should look for when specifying a pump for handling beverages.

Consumer tastes in soft drinks are constantly evolving. In 2023, consumers are demanding non-alcoholic beverages that help optimise their mental performance at work, home and play, according to a recent report from market research group Mintel. Last year, Mintel found a growing emphasis on adopting an active and healthy lifestyle following a post-Covid interest in boosting immunity. In addition, the growing gaming market has spurred beverage manufacturers to increase their offerings that promote energy and focus.

The changing mix of drink options on the supermarket shelves may be a boom for consumers, but it’s a sticky situation for soft drink producers. Manufacturers need to provide a larger variety of soft drinks to stay competitive, meaning their production lines must be increasingly flexible and able to toggle between different formulations.

Pumps are integral to both the process of offloading the concentrates of different consistencies and the mixing process of the production line. In the morning, pumps that offload the thick juice concentrate from a delivery tanker may need to be cleaned and put back to work unloading the thin formula of a sugar free energy drink in the afternoon. The machines that blend these formulas also need to be ready to do double-duty.

Unique challenges need a considered solution

Each manufacturer will have a unique challenge and must work with a pump supplier that can look at their fluid path in its totality. Manufacturers may think they need a bigger pump, but that’s not always the best solution or the only consideration.

Before manufacturers buy a pump, they need to make sure the supplier is willing to understand what they want to do and what the entire system looks like. For instance, is the supplier willing to do the calculations and make sure the system can achieve the required flow rate? The solution may be a bigger pump, but it also might require a shorter pipe with an increased diameter.

With the need to be increasingly adaptable, beverage manufacturers need pumps that can offload and mix formulas of varying viscosities with consistent results. The trickiest applications involve thick fruit juice concentrates, which can have a honey-like consistency. If the pump action is too rough, the fruit pieces in some formulas can be damaged and compromise the quality of the soft drink.

Furthermore, cavitation can cause production times to slow down and maintenance costs to rise. A well-documented problem in certain pump types, cavitation results in small bubbles of gas forming when the impeller blades cause areas of low pressure to form where fluid accelerates around and past the blades. The faster the blades move, the lower the pressure around the impeller becomes. As it reaches vapour pressure, small bubbles of gas can collapse, typically causing noisy local shock waves in the fluid that can even result in damage to the blades.

Select a pump up to the task

Increasingly, soft drink manufacturers are turning to low pulsation pumps, such as Certa SineR pumps from MasoSine which deliver a smooth and consistent product flow and a better flow meter accuracy. The rotor produces powerful suction with low shear, low pulsation and gentle handling. Even the fruit chunks remain undamaged, resulting in a high-quality product that meets customer expectations.


Furthermore, Certa’s powerful suction can increase yield while offering time and cost savings. Certa sine pumps typically require up to 50% less power than conventional lobe or circumferential piston pumps. In fact, the higher the viscosity, the greater the energy savings. And with cavitation no longer a concern, the pumps require minimal maintenance and operator training.

With frequent product changeovers, soft drink manufacturers also need equipment that can be cleaned quickly without the risk of cross contamination. The Certa MasoSine pumps have been designed and certified according to the latest hygienic design standards set by both the European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG) and 3-A, ensuring these pumps will need minimal downtime for cleaning between formula changeovers.

A multi-benefit solution

FAMIX-Maschinenbau GmbH is using MasoSine Certa 100, 200, 250, 300 process pumps in its beverage systems around the world for their ability to handle different viscosities of syrup and drinks ingredients. Pulheim, Germany-based FAMIX is a leading manufacturer of beverage machines and its customers include the world’s leading beverage companies.

Since 2000, FAMIX has integrated MasoSine pumps into its TurboDigi Mixer and TurboDigi S Mixer beverage systems, which are used for carbonated and non-carbonated drinks. Metering, mixing and carbonation are carried out in one operation by TurboDigi Mixer and TurboDigi S Mixer. Product changes, cleaning and sterilisation can be carried out quickly with the minimum of wastage.

FAMIX uses Certa pumps for their ability to handle viscous fruit juice, for example, without any impact on pump speed. The gentle handling with virtually no pulsation of the Certa Sine pumps is perfect for the metering of syrup with excellent CIP-capabilities.

Herbert Falterbaum, Managing Director of FAMIX, said: “We chose MasoSine over the competition mainly because of the use of one impeller only. We also chose this pump because soft drink manufacturers want systems that can be adapted to mix formulas of different viscosities and systems that can quickly and efficiently switch between formulas. Especially the high demand for low and sugar free products makes it necessary to pump syrups with viscosity like water as well as high sugar syrups with 100 - 200 cP. Various viscosities can be handled with the one pump.”

Soft drink manufacturers are facing a range of challenges, such as changing consumer demands and cavitation. To stay competitive, manufacturers must select pumps that can overcome these challenges and perform tasks such as tank offloading with ease. The Certa range of pumps has become a favourite with manufacturers transferring and blending products like high viscosity juice concentrates.

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