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How to get the most out of vacuum pumps

Home Manufacturing & Processing Food & Beverage How to get the most out of vacuum pumps

VACUUMING fresh food using chamber machines is a daily activity in the food industry. Fresh food contains unbound water, which partially evaporates during vacuum packaging.

This can have an influence on the quality of the product.  If the packaging machine is not permanently in operation, the packaging result may deteriorate, or the packaging process may take too long. If this happens, the food to be packaged will lose weight.

That’s according to Busch Vacuum Solutions, whose says its R5 oil-lubricated rotary vane vacuum pumps are standard in chamber machines and used by many leading manufacturers. According to the company, they have been specially developed for packaging food and have a proven track record.

“Through continuous advancement, these pumps have achieved the highest possible quality standard,” the company said in a statement.

“The quality of the oil in vacuum pumps and the correct quantity play an important role in the packaging process and in protecting the pump.”

Fresh food such as meat, sausages, fish, and cheese are usually vacuum-packed at a pressure of around five millibar. At this pressure, oxygen content in the remaining residual air is so minimal that the activity of various micro-organisms is prevented. This significantly increases the shelf life of the packaged product.

These low pressures can also cause water to start evaporating at low temperatures.

While water at normal atmospheric pressure only evaporates or begins to boil at a temperature above 100 degrees Celsius, at a pressure of 30 millibar it starts to evaporate at room temperature. At a pressure of 8 millibar, water evaporates already at a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius – even in cooled rooms.

For this reason, fresh food always generates water vapour during the packaging process, and this water needs to be extracted by the vacuum pump together with the air from the packaging chamber.

If the vacuum pump rarely or never reaches the operating temperature due to very short run times, the water vapour condenses almost completely inside the pump. This leads to an accumulation of water in the interior and in the oil of the vacuum pump.

This causes the oil to lose its lubricating and sealing function, which can have a negative effect on its performance and service life.

The Busch group is present in 42 countries with 60 subsidiaries and an extensive portfolio of vacuum pumps, blowers, compressors, and complete systems. Its Africa headquarters are in Johannesburg, with branches in Durban, Cape Town and Accra, Ghana.

All offices have workshop service and repair facilities and carry stock of vacuum and overpressure pumps.

Food packaging and processing is the most important market for Busch globally and 95% of vacuum pumps sold into the food packaging and processing industry worldwide are rotary vane vacuum pumps.

There are currently just over 2.5 million Busch R5 vacuum pumps operating worldwide.

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