Plant & Works Engineering
Clean reductions
Published:  10 September, 2015

The food and drink manufacturing industries are large users of power and water and their associated costs impact on production and finished product costs. It is, therefore, in manufacturers’ interests to employ technologies that can reduce these costs, as well as comply with UK government energy saving initiatives. However, it is not always that easy, making it necessary for management to identify application areas where costs can be reduced. PWE reports.

One major government initiative on energy is ESOS (Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme), this being a mandatory energy assessment scheme for larger companies with turnovers in excess of Euros 50 million and a balance sheet total of Euros 40 million/or employ over 250 people. ESOS was established by the government to implement Article 8 (4-6) of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU), with the ESOS Regulations of 2014 giving effect to the scheme. Administered by the Environment Agency, organisations that qualify for ESOS must carry out ESOS assessments every four years, with the first assessments having to be carried out and notified to the Environment Agency by the 5th December 2015.

With plant hygiene being a priority for food and drinks manufacturers, expenditure on cleaning systems and water is always going to be a major concern. However, it is one area where savings can be made and will make a positive contribution to an energy assessment report. Many food and drink processing plants operate multiple sanitation wash-down systems that are sized to run at full demand at all times, with the water being re-circulated until it is required and the demand is increased. This is very uneconomic both in terms of energy consumed and water used. However, an energy efficient wash-down system has been developed by Cat Pumps that is suitable for food and drink production plants of all sizes.

New solution

Cat Pumps’ Wash-Saver pump package has been developed for centralised hygiene and sanitation cleaning systems and only uses water when it is required. The Wash-Saver is a fixed, multiple gun pressure wash down system using Cat Pumps’ high pressure plunger pumps in combination with a sophisticated variable speed controlled motor arrangement and control panel. As the pump remains fully primed and pressurised even when in idle mode, water is delivered at the required pressure and flow as soon as any wash-down gun is activated. This removes the need for the water to be continuously re-circulated, resulting in significantly lower energy costs and water usage. The energy savings achieved can be used as part of the ESOS assessment carried out by companies to demonstrate ESOS compliance.

How it works

Water consumption demand is managed by the Wash-Saver control panel, designed specifically to match demand with supply. The Wash-Saver uses a feedback signal from a sensor to a variable speed drive (VSD) to control the pump speed. The pump, drive motor, accessories and VSD panel come fully assembled, tested and pre-configured to match customers' individual requirements. Furthermore, the system can be provided with an optional pre-piped water header tank, with installation into an existing centralised high-pressure pipe system being a simple procedure. The control panel can be readily incorporated into a factory automation system or linked into a local area network.

As each additional gun is opened, the pump speed ramps up rapidly in response to the increased demand, and then gently slows down when no longer required. As a result, each operator will not notice any drop-off in cleaning performance when co-workers activate adjacent guns. When left in idle mode for longer periods of time, the control stops the pump completely, yet the system still responds instantly when any wash-down gun is activated. Built-in protection against dry-running should there be any disruption to the water supply, as well as automatic detection of both minor and major pipework leaks, come as standard.


Most large food processing and production sites have a centralised hygiene or sanitation cleaning system, many of which feature one or more high pressure pumps feeding a distributed array of wash-down guns and lances. Using high pressure water demonstrates several advantages over chemical-based cleaning, not least of which are the effective removal of deposits and simpler wastewater disposal. The additional advantages of using a wash-down system using a high pressure triplex plunger pump is that the pump does not suffer the problems of lime-scale build up, which is common on pitot type rotary pumps, and they can be serviced in-situ thereby reducing maintenance time and costs.

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