24 February, 2024

Hard-to-handle fruit, veg & poultry waste proves easy pickings for Seepex BTM pumps

27 October, 2021

A sophisticated chopping, pumping and waste removal solution from progressive cavity (PC) pump specialist Seepex UK is making light work of previously challenging by-products from whole chickens, potatoes and cabbages to peelings and fruit stones. The BTM range is not only cutting food producers costs, it’s also improving their standards of hygiene and health & safety.

Waste is an unavoidable part of the production process at fruit, vegetable and poultry processing facilities. Whether in the form of trimmings, wash residue and by-products, or as a result of offspecification batches, overproduction or expired goods, it must be handled within strict sanitary guidelines and quickly removed from production areas. Not only does this free capacity so that primary processing operations can continue, but waste and by-products can also create an additional revenue stream as animal feed or compost, or to generate renewable energy. This makes their efficient removal and swift onward transfer even more important to manufacturers’ bottom lines.

However, some waste products are notoriously difficult to handle. Large, highly viscous or non-flowable foodstuffs can prove particularly challenging: for example, whole chickens; chicken frames, heads, feet and necks; whole cabbages or potatoes; and fruit stones, seeds and peels from vegetables and fruit. As a result, some operators still rely on traditional methods to remove them from the production area. It is not uncommon to find conveyor belts, compressed air systems, vacuums, water flumes, and manual handling via waste containers such as tote bins being used even at large food production factories. These methods can be inefficient, unsanitary and expensive.

Automated, all-in-one alternative

Fortunately, there are sophisticated, hygienic and cost-effective alternatives on the market. Seepex BTM pump range is one such option. The patented chopping and pumping solution, featuring an enclosed pipework system, is already being used in waste handling applications at many fruit, vegetable and poultry processing factories throughout the UK and Europe. Thanks to an integrated cutting unit that reduces particle size, the BTM effectively chops and pumps in a single operation, reducing the solids volume by up to 60%. This creates a pumpable consistency, without requiring the addition of water, enabling whole vegetables and even entire birds such as DOA or off-specification chickens to be hygienically and efficiently removed offsite.

Hygienic waste removal

The benefits to food manufacturers of switching from conventional waste removal methods to an enclosed, automated solution like the BTM are three-fold. Firstly, it is more hygienic. Transferring waste products through a closed pipe system eliminates, for example, the need for dedicated cleaning of tote bins prior to re-entering high-care areas which prevents potential cross contamination.

Improved health & safety

Secondly, it is safer. Manual handling or conveying systems often result in waste product falling or being dropped onto the floor, presenting an immediate health and safety risk to operatives, who are in danger of slipping on it. Furthermore, this fully automated solution requires only one staff member to load product into the hopper. This leads to improved health and safety on the factory floor due to a reduction in traffic and hazards in highrisk areas – fewer forklift trucks, fewer operatives and fewer tote bins.

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