How Vacuum Pumps Contribute to the Food Industry

Vacuum pumps serve a wide variety of different purposes. They are instrumental devices in the pulp and paper industries. Vacuum pumps are also widely used in mining, power generation, and chemical sectors. 

What’s most impressive is that a vacuum pump is an integral component in the food manufacturing industry. Stainless steel pumps in particular are designed to maintain long-term operation in complex food manufacturing systems. 

If you operate in the food manufacturing sector and would like to optimize and improve the efficiency of your processing systems, then using a vacuum pump is an ideal solution. Here is how vacuum pumps contribute to the food industry and how you can start implementing their use today. 

Vacuum Food Packaging Types

In the food industry, more than one billion tons of food are lost or wasted throughout the world. Through the use of vacuum pumps, food is better preserved and billions of dollars are saved in the industry. 

Traditionally, vacuum pumps create air-tight food packaging seals, which can reduce the growth of bacteria and mold. Vacuum pumps can also leverage optimal cooling to keep fruits and vegetables fresh and healthy directly after harvest. 

Similarly, vacuum drying can quickly preserve meat and vegetables by sustaining a maximum pressure where the items are preserved and the water evaporated, creating a firm seal. 

The Purpose of Dry Vacuum Pumps

Wet pumps used to be a staple of the food industry. These hydraulic pumps ensured that food packaging processes were achieved with maximum quality. However, wet pumps are designed when gas is exposed to water and oil.

This messy mechanism can allow oil to contaminate the workplace. In the worst-case scenario, the oil can even contaminate the food being packaged. To remedy this, dry pumps are now replacing wet pumps in the food industry. 

They allow for cleaner use and much more efficient food packaging while providing these crucial benefits:

  • Reduced Costs – Due to lower heat load and power consumption, also with no use of oil and water, dry pump use can contribute to reduced operating costs overall. Also, dry pumps require fewer maintenance protocols and repairs in comparison to outdated wet pumps that are still used today. 
  • Peak Efficiency – Low heat generation and reduced levels of noise allow facilities to maintain an optimal indoor temperature. Unlike wet pumps, dry pumps also eliminate the risk of slip-and-falls due to random oil spills. 
  • Improved Sanitation – Dry pumps can be cleaned manually with your selected cleaning products. This can decrease maintenance time, downtime, and pump repairs. This benefit is exceptionally valuable in the food manufacturing industry where sanitation is critical. 

Chicken and Fish Evisceration

Evisceration is one of the most important processes of preparing poultry, game meats, and fish for packaging. The process entails removing the organs from the item to prepare for cleaning, cooking, or freezing. 

Vacuum pumps are essential in this process to help remove the entrails from packaged meats. The efficiency of this process can lead to higher food quality, greater sanitation, and increased operational productivity. 

Sugar Crystallization

Sugar production is one of the most complex processes in the food industry. Vacuum pumps are used to transform sugar cane into refined products for the market. Particularly, sugar cane is shredded in factories, while being mixed with water and rapidly crushed. 

The bagasse, or the remaining juice from this mixture, is then filtered by using a specialty vacuum pump. These pumps are also used to assist in the evaporation and crystallization of sugar in facilities. 

Lastly, vacuum pumps are vital in the process of carbonating sugar. 

Corn Evaporation

Corn is one of the most difficult foods to dry. It cannot contain excess water before packaging for sanitation and preservation reasons. A specialty vacuum pump can be used to assist in the drying process of corn. 

Not only can vacuum pumps help evaporate water from corn using a combination of high temperatures, but it can also reduce the loss of components of the corn crop, such as the seed and ear. 

By using a vacuum pump, manufacturers can save millions of dollars every year in energy and manpower. 

Milk Flash Cooling

Milk is a sensitive food product, requiring optimal storage temperatures to maintain exceptional quality. Also, milk must be preserved appropriately to reduce the growth of bacteria. 

To keep milk at an optimal temperature, the raw product must be inserted into a vacuum chamber. This way added water is removed by a process known as flash cooling. Flash cooling makes milk less volatile. 

After the completion of flash cooling, milk can be safely stored without the worry of contaminating the product by introducing it to sudden temperature changes. 

Vegetable Oil Deodorization

Deodorization is the process of removing extraneous solutions from edible oils and fats. Vacuum pumps can be used to remove all volatile substances from vegetable oil that can affect its flavor, color, odor, and stability. 

During this process, the oil is placed in a vacuum to prevent oxidation. The formation of oxygen bubbles will raise all unnecessary substances to the top of the oil, thus purifying the final product. 

Deodorization is beneficial in reducing heat transfer rates, allowing manufacturers to create efficient food processing operations. 

Purchase a Vacuum Pump Today!

As you can see, vacuum pumps play a pivotal role in the food industry. If you’re seeking to purchase a vacuum pump for your facility, click here to learn more about how we can help. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you have more questions about vacuum pumps? If so, you can refer to these FAQs for more information. 

How much does a vacuum pump cost?

  • The cost of a vacuum pump can vary tremendously. You can expect to spend at least $2,500 on a standard pump.

How can a vacuum pump help my business?

  • You can request custom vacuum pump engineering services to design a product that will best serve your needs. 

How much do vacuum pump repair services cost?

  • Depending on the severity of your repair needs, you could end up spending at least $1,500 for each repair. By investing in a dry pump, you could reduce repair costs substantially.