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Handling Liquids in Food Applications

While most of the ingredients for food manufacturing processes are in solid form, liquids are also regularly used and can offer advantages in certain situations and particular applications. Learn more about benefits and challenges when feeding liquids in these Questions & Answers

Coperion K-Tron Liquid Feeder
Coperion K-Tron’s modular liquid loss-in-weight feeders offer high accuracy addition of liquid additives in food manufacturing.

What challenges can be encountered when feeding liquids and how can these be overcome?

Liquids tend to be incompressible, which means when they are fed the physical properties do not change. Variations in bulk density can be a massive issue in feeding bulk solids, but with liquids provided you have a consistent “volumetric” throughput you should get the equivalent “gravimetric” throughput.

Unfortunately, as flow rates and pressures increase the flow becomes less predictable, because of slippage back through the pump and cavitation (irregular filling of pump head), it becomes essential to provide a secondary measurement. As flow-meters suffer in the same way as described above the best way to measure and therefore control these materials is using a precise weighing system such as a loss-in-weight liquid feeder with high accuracy weighing technology.

Viscosity is a challenge because when a liquid is highly viscous it does not want to flow. This affects the type of pump that can be used. In most cases Coperion K-Tron recommends the use of gear pumps because they result in a very linear flow. Depending on the material characteristics we sometimes use membrane pumps instead. When a liquid is too viscous, one solution is to heat it up to reduce the viscosity. Coperion K-Tron then incorporates heating systems in the feeder to keep the liquid flowing as it is fed into the process.

Coperion K-Tron Liquid Feeder
Coperion K-Tron’s modular liquid loss-in-weight feeders are available with insulation and heating systems to keep viscous liquids flowing.

What are the latest developments in liquid feeders?

When feeding liquids, the special requirements of each application vary widely. Thanks to the new modular design of the Coperion K-Tron Loss-in-Weight Liquid Feeders, a broad range of pumps and tanks can easily be combined to constitute a reliable liquid feeding system representing the ideal configuration for the specific application.

Although each liquid feeder is custom-designed to meet the desired feed rate, the process demands, the characteristics of the liquid, and the new modular concept streamlines the layout and engineering process of a feeder, thus reducing its lead time and initial cost. The new modularity also provides benefits in terms of a uniform mechanical construction as well as identical operation and maintenance for multiple differently sized units. This simplifies feeder operation, maintenance and spares inventory which in turn saves effort and cost. The same applies for retrofits..

Coperion K-Tron’s modular liquid feeders are ideal for accurate gravimetric feeding of liquids in either continuous or batch operation. The liquid is metered by a pump outside the scale area. The feed pump is selected according to the feeding capacity which is required and the characteristics of the liquid to be fed. The modular concept makes it easy to tailor each liquid feeder to the parameters of the customer process.

The foundation of this modular liquid feeder is a base frame, available in various lengths and widths, which can be outfitted with optional feet or casters. The pump and weigh bridge are mounted on the base frame.

The exclusive, patented Smart Force Transducer (SFT) weighing technology features vibrating wire technology and an on-board microprocessor with fine-tuned control algorithms to ensure high feeder accuracy. The storage tank is mounted on the scale; standard sizes range from 7.5 up to 300 liters, but larger custom systems have also been realized. A flexible connecting line is required between tank and pump. Depending on the needs of the application, additional options such as insulation or heating systems to maintain the process temperature can be supplied as well.

Your Contact

  • Stuart Wilson

    Director of Sales (Food & Pharmaceuticals) at Coperion K-Tron

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