Which Sanitary Pump is Right for Me?

Choosing the right pump for your sanitary Alfa Laval Solid C Pump process is a function of several factors. Of course, the material being pumped is of primary importance. Its viscosity, density, temperature, and flow rate will go a long way toward determining the kind and size of pump that is right for you. The duty the pump will be called upon to perform also should be considered. Will it be evacuating containers? Used for filling? Batching ingredients? Your workflow and plant configuration also bears on pump selection. These variables include the processing environment. Liquids containing abrasive particulates, the length, size, and type of suction and discharge piping, elevations, pumping angles, etc. all must be taken into account.


This article is an overview of the pump classifications that are best suited for your specific processes and applications. As a distributor exclusively serving the sanitary industry, all of the pumps that Rodem offers are particularly valuable in the following industries:



While this guide can help you understand the advantages and limitations of each type of pump, there is no substitute for the professional insight and industry experience Rodem’s team possess. Our experts are always available to provide comprehensive expert analysis of your unique manufacturing environment in order to recommend the perfect food grade pump or sanitary pump for your situation. 


Air Diaphragm Pumps


Originally designed to handle viscous products, air-operated diaphragm pumps are a solid choice for container unloading, as well as moving products containing abrasive particles and in processes where dilution control is critical. They are ideal for food related applications requiring high flow rates and maximum portability.


Versatile and rugged, air diaphragm pumps offer a wealth of desirable features: our preferred line offers a simple, knock-down design that means low maintenance, minimal cost of ownership, are lube free and prevent stalling. They are perfectly suitable for clean-in-place applications. Note that air diaphragm pumps may not be appropriate for horizontal use, as they will have difficulty in controlling air flow, leading to excessive product temperature and high-pressure shutoff. 


Air Piston Pumps


Using reciprocating action to create positive displacement to move low- and medium-viscosity materials, air piston pumps are commonly found in the food-processing, cosmetic and personal care industries. Their low-shear pumping action delicately moves ingredients with varying thicknesses from broth and gravy to cheese sauce and cake batter. Air piston pumps are efficient, removing 99% of the contents of most bins and they are easy to maintain. The most popular brand Rodem recommends features knockdown lowers of tough stainless steel and an easily removable air valve shroud to reduce cleanup time and keep the line running. 


Centrifugal Pumps


Efficient material handling and easy configuration make centrifugal pumps a popular choice in sanitary processing. Using one or more rotating impellers arrayed in a variety of configurations depending on the application and production requirements, centrifugal pumps are able to create higher flow rates than any other pump type. Best suited for low-viscosity fluids that are not aerated or partially vaporized, centrifugal pumps are particularly effective in beverage processing because of their gentle handling of sometimes-delicate liquids. Their uncomplicated design aids in maintenance, especially in clean-in-place setups. 


Liquid Ring/Self-Priming Pumps


Liquid ring/self-priming pumps use the ring to create a vacuum and maintain their prime even when pumping material laden with air or other gasses. These features make them the go-to product for difficult clean-in-place applications, enabling the pump to completely evacuate foaming cleaning fluids. They also can fully drain lines and containers at the end of a production cycle, saving material and preventing cross-contamination. The liquid-ring self-priming pumps Rodem distributes use customizable impellers to quietly and efficiently perform their duties with no wasted energy.


Peristaltic Pumps


Peristaltic pumps move liquid through sanitary Peristaltic Pump Solutions tubes. With no seals to leak or valves to clog, they are one of the most hygienic options available. Rollers compress the tubes, forcing material into the process piping. As the rollers release, the tubes decompress, creating suction that draws in more material. The entire process can be aseptic, occurring fully within the tubes, so they are often used with single-use tubing for added safety. Because no impellers or other moving parts come into contact with the material, they are ideal for shear-sensitive media.


Positive Displacement Pumps


For processing materials too viscous for centrifugal pumps to handle, positive displacement pumps may be the answer, especially when low flow rates are acceptable or high- or variable-pressure conditions exist. They are common in processing and managing products with larger suspended solids or chunks such as chunky soups or fruit fillings, with minimal damage to the large particles. Positive displacement pumps move media at a steady rate and fixed volume with each mechanical cycle. 


Progressive Cavity Pumps


Another positive displacement option, progressive cavity pumps use a single helical rotor that creates cavities into which the material flows. The cavities then advance from the suction end of the pump to the discharge end, where they push out their contents. Because there is little movement of the medium within the chambers, progressive cavity pumps perform well with material that is:


  •  Sensitive to shearing,
  •  Contains abrasive particulates, or
  •  Require the precise metering that these pumps offer due to their virtually pulsation-free operation.

The right sanitary pump in the right situation can make the difference in a production company’s profitability by reducing overall production costs, improving efficiency, and protecting against contamination. Rodem’s sanitary process experts can help you choose the perfect pump for your application from the extensive network of the country’s best manufacturers.


View our Sanitary & Food Grade Pumps selection and contact us today to find the best solution for your pumping needs.

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