Florida-based juice production facility required the help of a pump distributor when searching for a pump that would operate reliably in its feed mill sump application.

The juice producer, which grows and processes oranges from its groves as well as from independent growers in South Florida, produces up to 90 million gallons of fresh orange juice every year.

As a large supplier of “pure Florida” orange juice in the U.S., the juice producer also operates a feed mill on site that turns fruit peel into a cattle feed. To create the cattle feed, the mill performs an evaporation process to extract citrus oils and moisture from the fruit skin. This process creates a hot, corrosive condensate that flows from the evaporator into the feed mill’s wastewater sump. The wastewater in the sump is then pumped to an on-site treatment plant. Once treated, it is pumped to a spray field where the reclaimed water is sprayed over the field so it filters naturally back into the groundwater.

The facility produces up to 90 million gallons of fresh orange juice every year.

The problem

The in-house maintenance team at the feed mill frequently replaced the submersible wastewater sump pump. The initial submersible pump and consecutive replacements failed because of the high temperature and corrosive makeup of the wastewater. Multiple pump replacements motivated the in-house maintenance team to search for a different submersible pump that might be better suited for the specific application.

The solution

In 2014, a pump distributor was contacted for support in selecting a submersible pump that would operate reliably in the feed mill’s wastewater sump. The critical requirements were:

  • The new submersible pump must handle hot temperatures. The previous pumps overheated because of the high temperature of the wastewater, which often reached 170˚F. Most submersible pumps cannot withstand liquids higher than 104˚F because higher temperatures typically cause standard submersible motors to fail. While the sump pump was not considered a critical pump, it was important that it operate reliably to prevent a flood of wastewater from entering the feed mill’s storm water system.
  • The new pump needed to effectively shred solids. The liquid entering the feed mill’s wastewater sump contained pieces of orange peels, leaves, sticks and other debris. To avoid clogging issues and ensure reliable operation, these solids needed to be shredded.
  • The new pump had to be corrosion-resistant. The byproduct of the evaporation process is a corrosive material. When that material flows into the wastewater sump, it lowers the pH of the sump liquid. The new pump must be constructed of a more durable metallurgy that could withstand pumping corrosive wastewater from the sump.

Americans rely on juice production facilities nationwide to supply one of the most loved breakfast beverages.

A shredder pump that met the requirements for the sump was recommended. It had the following features:

  • Engineered for extremely hot temperatures – The chosen submersible pumps are designed and constructed to transport liquids up to 200˚F, which have been proven to operate reliably in sumps in which liquids are too hot for conventional submersible pumps.
  • Designed to shred solids in agricultural wastewater – This submersible shredder pump is built with a tungsten carbide tip impeller. This impeller cuts against a spiral-shaped diffuser plate to continuously rip apart solids with 360-degree shredding action. Pieces of orange peel, sticks and leaves could be easily shredded and passed through the pumps’ non-clog, single-vane or double-vane impellers, which are designed for high volume and lift performance. It can cut and pass solids up to 3.5 inches while delivering high-liquid volume at up to 700 gallons per minute.
  • Corrosion resistant material – All the internal components exposed to corrosive liquid (impeller, wear-plate, oil housing, pump housing and inner pump top) are manufactured from 316 cast stainless steel. The elastomers (O-rings, lip seals and gaskets) are made of FMK, making it an ideal construction for handling wastewater with a lower pH level.
  • Three-seal motor protection FMK – The motor is protected by double mechanical seals. The lower seal is made of silicon carbide/silicon carbide, and the upper seal is made of carbon/ceramic with an additional lip seal above the impeller to help prevent abrasives from entering the seal chamber. The motor has Class A and B insulation, using winding protection and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association Class R motor insulation with a thermal cut out switch, so the stator has a winding temperature of up to 300˚F (150˚C).

After careful review, the first submersible shredder pump was installed in the feed mill’s wastewater sump in 2014. Having run reliably since its installation, the pump has been an ideal fit for this corrosive, high-temperature application.

The in-house maintenance team installed another submersible pump in a second sump at the juice production facility. A back-up pump was purchased but has not been needed in either sump because both pumps are operating well.

Before these installations, the feed mill replaced pumps at a minimum of two times each year, spending between $10,000 and $15,000 dollars for the replacement pumps. Since installing the new shredder pumps, the juice producer has reduced its feed mill’s maintenance costs by about two-thirds, which proves that selecting the right pump for the application can positively affect a maintenance budget.

Walter Weaver is a sales and support representative for Barney’s Pumps. Barney’s Pumps provides pumps, controls, mixers and systems to the water/wastewater, food and other industries in Florida. For more information, visit http://barneyspumps.com.

Kelly McCollum is regional manager for BJM Pumps. Keith Grgurich is director of sales for BJM Pumps. BJM Pumps, headquartered in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, provides fluid handling solutions for industrial and municipal services. For more information, visit http://bjmpumps.com.