Abrasive sugar pumping and recovery process

Bredel SPX hose pumpA company in Bay City, MI processes sugar beets into table sugar. One of the primary by products of this process is molasses, which contains 50% sugar. The plant needed a pump that could be incorporated into a proprietary liquid chromatographic unit to recover this reusable sugar. The pump had to deliver the waste sugar through a resin packed column where the waste stream containing the two is absorbed on the resin bed and de-sorbed at different rates, allowing the recovery.

Sugar has always been a very difficult product to pump due to the crystallization of the sugar that typically occurs in the seal area of conventional positive displacement type pumps. Product crystallization damages the mechanical seals, leading to leakage problems. Other PD pumps also lack product consistency, need additional spare parts and have high maintenance costs when used in similar applications.

The company decided to try a Watson-Marlow Bredel 100 hose pump because it has no mechanical seal, eliminating the inherent seal problem. The abrasive nature of the sugar, another pitfall for other pump types, will not affect the hose or reduce its life. The only required maintenance is the occasional hose change, which can be done in less than an hour.

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