Measure Twice, Cut Once – The Right Application Equipment
Everyone has an opinion on chemical dispensing systems. But they usually fall into two camps. The first thinks that the equipment should come free with the chemicals because the stuff is cheap anyway. The other camp thinks that it needs to last forever and doesn’t want to think about all the details, so the chemical supplier should figure it out. Unfortunately, reality is more complex than that. The dispensing equipment costs more than you think and they will not last forever. Over the past 10 years of working in the food industry, I can say for a fact that you get what you pay for when working with chemical equipment. Because of that, it is critical to think hard about what equipment you need for your application.
That brings us to the options for dispensing….and there are many! There are water driven systems (that dilute the chemical), air powered units and portable models. There is also a host of central systems to choose from if you’re interested. If you need proof of the amount of options, just jump on an industrial supplier/equipment manufacturer’s website and you’ll get the picture. There are literally tons of pump options to choose from, and don’t get me started about all the valve varieties, check systems, and nozzles. Then you have to decide what material it has to be made of. It can make it tough to choose the right path.
Why the confusion? Because cleaning can get complicated. You have to know what chemicals are being used. What materials do the chemicals hurt? How do you pump it? Who makes good equipment? How much does it cost? Etc. All these questions can make you go crazy trying to figure out the right answer. No matter what, the main goal is getting the right chemical to the right area every time, safely.
Using chemicals demands the right equipment. There are great equipment companies in the industry. When you find a good company that builds a quality product, you will be set for years to come. Personally, I’ve used Lafferty, Foam-It, FloJet, Hydrominder and Wilden equipment. All of these products have done a great job. The main thing is, once you choose a good manufacturer, you will have the makings of a good chemical delivery system.
Pay more, it will pay for itself! Everyone wants cheap. It’s only natural, but like with most things the old saying is true “you get what you pay for”. I’ve seen the “economy” chemical lines harden and crack in the blink of an eye. I’ve seen leaks because a brass valve that was just laying around got put on acid pumping system. And I’ve seen cheap pumps being ripped out and replaced in under a year because someone tried to save on the budget. Spending extra on an overbuilt product when it comes to chemicals is better than getting the cheap part that fails. Maintenance and operations teams don’t want to get sprayed with chemicals. They don’t want to work with systems that are always broken or leaking. Chemical companies don’t want to babysit them either. Bottom line, it should just work. And the equipment needs to be built so that it just works!
Finally, think hard before spending the cash. The hardest part about installing any piece of equipment or machinery is working through the details before drilling a single hole. The truth is that equipment is expensive and our time is valuable. The “measure twice, cut once” rule applies here. Tearing out tubing or pumps in 6 months because of rushing the job doesn’t help anything. We need to work through the details of all the parts needed: the routing, the valves, the pumps, the material type and possible future needs that will pay off in the long run. ProActive Solutions has the knowledge and resources to get your chemical equipment install done right. We know this stuff because we live it every day!
Food Quality Specialist – ProActive Solutions USA
Tony has over 10 years of experience in the Food Manufacturing with emphasis in the Dairy and Meat Processing industries. Tony enjoys sharing best practices with his customers from his experiences in production and sanitation leadership.
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