Grundfos develops a recipe for a greener future

Global pump manufacturer Grundfos wants to make a real difference in the world – including in the all-important food-processing industry.

Overpopulation. Drought. Climate change. Energy crisis … Faced with these existential challenges, people are increasingly looking for products that will ensure the survival of our planet – including everything related to the food and drinks they consume.

With its pumps used for many different applications in food-production plants, breweries, dairy and confectionery factories, the company meets the needs of its food-processing clients in terms of three major issues of our time: sustainability, health and well-being, and innovation:

Ensuring sustainability and a greener footprint

Many processes in the food and beverage industry consume high amounts of energy. Contributing to this state of affairs is the use of fixed-speed pumps that run at maximum capacity all the time in auxiliary food-processing applications such as boilers and cooling towers.

To address this, Grundfos has developed an energy-saving “e version” of its widely used fixed-speed CR pump. The new CRE pump is an exciting “intelligent solution”, incorporating an electronic motor with a built-in variable speed drive, giving it the ability to ramp up and down as it detects demand, explains Grundfos segment manager Dean Naidoo.

The intelligent CRE pump technology – delivering optimal performance and energy efficiency – is already widely used in developed countries in Europe and elsewhere, and is expected to take off in Africa in the next couple of years.

“We have customers talking about up to 70% energy saving just by using a CRE pump,” Naidoo notes. This not only saves on costs, but also cuts down on fossil fuel use, helping companies achieve a greener footprint. And while the initial capital expenditure may be more, operating expenditure drops significantly.

Grundfos is already starting to assemble CRE pumps in South Africa, contributing to the economy and ensuring that it can support the product locally once it’s in use here – but existing CR pumps can also “easily” be retrofitted and upgraded to a CRE, says Naidoo.

Grundfos pumps for food-processing plants
Global pump manufacturer Grundfos wants to make a real difference in the world – including in the all-important food-processing industry

Meeting strict health and safety requirements

Consumers today are increasingly concerned about eating nutritious food produced with minimum harm to the environment. The food industry has to keep up with vital health requirements, including precise chemical management and dosing in food-processing plants.

This can range from dosing in chemicals to prevent microbial growth, accurately dosing particular ingredients into products to ensure the correct nutritional value, and preventing overdosing or underdosing when adding colouring or flavouring agents.

This is where Grundfos’s smart digital dosing pumps come into their own, according to Naidoo. By far “the most accurate” in the market, with a wide dosing range, the first generation of these pumps were already a “quantum leap forward” when they were first introduced to the market about 14 years ago.

However, while those early pumps had a “turndown” ratio of up to 1:800, Grundfos’s market-leading new-generation smart digital dosing pumps today have a turndown ratio of up to 1:3 000, with impeccable accuracy. (“Turndown” is expressed as a ratio over which the output of a dosing pump can be adjusted.)

Not only do they help to reduce energy use in food processing, but accurate dosing also helps to save on costs, all while meeting strict food-production health and safety requirements.

Facilitating expansion for innovation

As food manufacturers expand and innovate, they need to invest in new technology, processes and plants, and Grundfos brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table to help customers innovate. One important focus is meeting the global challenge of water scarcity, including through water-reuse technologies.

Food manufacturers traditionally use a lot of water in their processes, but more and more breweries and dairy-processing companies are working towards water reuse and “zero discharge”, says Naidoo – and Grundfos has been able to step in with new smart technology to help manufacturers reduce or reuse the water they use, including through reverse osmosis.

The Grundfos intelligent reverse osmosis, or iRO, solution combines a CRE pump, a smart digital dosing pump and a number of other components to form a packaged solution for reverse osmosis.

The results can be revolutionary, with one customer, for example – a large manufacturer in the north of South Africa – aiming to eventually treat and reuse all its wastewater, reaching a point of “zero discharge”, with Grundfos supplying and supporting many of the pumps used to achieve this. This is good for the planet – and it cuts costs, too.

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