Recently, a meat processor of meat and sausage specialties upgraded their centralized vacuum supply with the Busch R5 vacuum pump, benefiting from Industry 4.0 - IIoT vacuum pump technology for even more automation and energy savings.
The more than 300 staff at the processing plant work in three shifts, with the third shift tasked with cleaning. Produce is packaged using a total of nine automatic thermo-forming machines. These units are connected to a central, fully automatic, on-demand vacuum supply.
A vacuum pumping unit generates the rough vacuum for pre-evacuating the packaging chambers to 45 millibars. Control valves activate a fine vacuum pumping unit as soon as the system has generated the 45 millibars at which point a second evacuation process starts to reduce the conditions in the packaging to a vacuum level of 3 to 4 millibars. A third vacuum module generates the vacuum for thermo-forming the base foil in the forming station of each individual packaging machine.
In an effort to cut the energy consumption even further, they decided to trial Busch's new R5 RA 0760 A PLUS rotary vane vacuum pump.
This vacuum pump features a frequency-controlled motor and an integrated control unit as standard.
A pressure sensor permanently measures the vacuum level at the inlet to the vacuum pump. As a result, the R5 0760 A PLUS can quickly respond to any change in demand by adapting the pumping speed to current requirements
The control range stretches from 35 to 60 hertz, equivalent to a pumping speed of 440 to 760 cubic meters per hour.
The new Busch R5 RA 0760 A PLUS vacuum pump has been installed in an existing central vacuum system as part of a pilot project.
The new vacuum pump was integrated into the central vacuum supply at the end of 2018, replacing the unregulated rotary vane vacuum pump with a pumping speed of 630 cubic meters per hour. Installed over 20 years ago, this pump used to be responsible for maintaining the system's rough vacuum. The new vacuum pump has not been connected to the central vacuum supply's control unit as it is self-regulating. The control system was programmed using the built-in display, though this was restricted to setting the required vacuum level to 45 millibars.
It only took a few weeks of operating time for the benefits of this intelligent vacuum pump to come to be realized.
Self-regulating of pumping speed
In the previously installed, central vacuum system, the rough vacuum tended to fail when multiple packaging machines suddenly required a high pumping speed and the vacuum pump had already been switched off because the required vacuum level had been reached. As a result, the unregulated vacuum pump had to restart first and it consequently took longer to reach the full pumping speed of 630 cubic metres per hour.
The new R5 RA 0760 A PLUS maintains a speed of 35 hertz. At this speed, the vacuum pump consumes roughly 60 to 70 percent of the nominal motor rating of 18.5 kilowatts while also maintaining the selected vacuum level. So, if the pumping speed suddenly increases – for instance, if several packaging machines are switched on at the same time to operate at the same speed – the R5 PLUS reacts straight away and can increase the output up to 120 percent until the surge in demand has been satisfied.
High quality display for control and monitoring
The 7.5-inch display lets them keep an eye on the recorded data at all times. They have realized that, on average, the R5 PLUS runs at just 60 percent of its capacity. It consumes just 60 to 70 percent of the nominal motor rating in electrical power because it maintains the selected vacuum level.
On this basis, the vacuum pump's motor actually consumes roughly 6 to 8 kilowatts. This figure is shown directly on the display – a particularly useful feature when you want to achieve maximum energy savings during operation without having a negative impact on the packaging quality or cycle time.
The company can also analyze data recorded over an extended period because data is permanently stored on the integrated PLC. Data can be printed out in tables or graphs at any time.
Very low noise level
"The pump is practically silent", they remarked. To be precise, the vacuum pump generates a noise level of just 70 dB(A) at top speed.
Bernd Wörner is very happy with the results of the trial. Apart from saving additional energy, this vacuum pump allows the company to react specifically to the packaging machines' power requirements, it records data permanently on the integrated PLC, and links this data to the packaging machines' PLC or PLC control unit.
Contact Rogers Machinery for assistance with selecting vacuum systems for meat processing.