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  1. Positive Displacement Pumps vs. Centrifugal Pumps vs. High-Pressure Pumps

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    Many industries rely on pumps for their daily operations, including the dairy, brewing, food processing, beverage manufacturing, and personal care industries. Highland Equipment supplies various hygienic pumps for a wide range of applications. In this blog, we’ll take a detailed look at positive displacement, centrifugal, and high-pressure pumps, including their suitability for certain processing applications.

    What Is a Positive Displacement Pump?

    A positive displacement pump works by repeatedly taking a specific amount of fluid and mechanically moving it through the system. It uses cyclic pumping action driven by pistons, gears, rollers, screws, diaphragms, or vanes.

    Positive displacement pump types include reciprocating and rotary pumps. The reciprocating pump relies on repeated back-and-forth strokes of a plunger or piston. These repeatable pumps are suitable for accurate dosing or metering applications.

    Rotary positive displacement pumps use rotating gears to move fluids. The gears form a liquid seal with a pump casing, creating suction through the pump inlet.

    What Is a Centrifugal Pump?

    Centrifugal pumps use rotational energy from a motor to transfer fluid through a system. When the fluid passes through the pump, the rotating impeller adds velocity and pressure to the fluid as it is pushed toward a diffuser.

    What Is a High-Pressure Pump?

    High-pressure pumps have a conveying height of up to 1,200 meters. These pumps are common in high-rise buildings, which require sufficient pressure to supply the entire structure.

    How Do These Pumps Compare?

    Using a controlled amount of force, positive displacement and centrifugal pumps both transfer a set quantity of fluid from an inlet to an outlet. However, their mechanisms are different. Centrifugal pumps transfer kinetic energy from a motor to the liquid using an impeller, which rotates to pump fluid at a high velocity out of its discharge point. Positive displacement pumps displace fluid out of a cavity through suction.

    These are some other ways in which centrifugal, positive displacement differ:

    • Performance: A centrifugal pump can vary the flow rate by changing its pressure. The flow rate is constant in a positive displacement pump, even during pressure changes.
    • Fluid viscosity: When dealing with highly viscous fluids, a centrifugal pump sees a decrease in flow rate due to frictional losses inside the pump’s cavity. A positive displacement pump’s internal clearance allows for viscous fluid handling and can increase flow rate as the viscosity increases.
    • Efficiency: A centrifugal pump’s efficiency peaks at a specific pressure, while the efficiency of a positive displacement pump varies according to the pressure.
    • Suction lift: Centrifugal pumps cannot create a suction lift, while a positive displacement pump creates a vacuum on its inlet to create a suction lift.
    • Shearing: The high-speed motor in a centrifugal pump can shear certain media. A positive displacement pump creates low shear, making it suitable for shear-sensitive fluids.

    Which Pump Is Suitable for Your Sanitary Process?

    The ideal pump for your sanitary process depends on the specific factors of your application. Centrifugal pumps are best for high-flow, low-viscosity applications, where you can take advantage of their high-volume capabilities. You can also customize them to move more gallons per minute than other types of pumps.

    Positive displacement pumps generally run better in high-viscosity, low-flow applications. They allow you to control flow rate more flexibly, operate at lower speeds, and can prime themselves during “dry” periods where there is no liquid in the pump. Plus, positive displacement pumps can process suspended solids.

    Consider the following specifications of your project to determine the best choice:

    • Desired flow rate
    • Pressure capability
    • Fluid characteristics, such as corrosiveness, temperature, and viscosity
    • Suction lift

    Positive Displacement, Centrifugal, and High-Pressure Pumps From Highland Equipment

    Depending on your specific application, you can choose between positive displacement, centrifugal, and high-pressure pumps. They each offer different capabilities and strengths under particular processing circumstances. Highland Equipment is your ideal partner for high-quality centrifugal, positive displacement, and high-pressure pumps for sanitary processes. Contact us today to select a pump best suited for your application.

  2. A Guide to Stainless Steel Tank Fabrication

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    Highland Equipment has been building unmatched stainless steel tanks and equipment for various sanitary process applications since 1973. As the leading provider of sanitary process equipment, Highland Equipment has the tools and experience needed for various tank projects, from one-tank requirements, complex pressure vessels, skidded systems, and custom equipment to a host of customized tank projects. Our team of experts has the knowledge and professional background to provide custom solutions for all your equipment needs.

    Overview of Stainless Steel Tanks

    Sanitary stainless steel tanks are special containers used to store and transport a myriad of substances such as water, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, personal care, cosmetics,  and other bulk materials. They feature superior flexibility and ease of use that make them ideal for various industries and applications. Stainless steel tanks are also known for their corrosion resistance and their ability to resist extreme temperatures. These attributes make stainless tanks the best equipment for storing sensitive materials. 

    Stainless Steel Capabilities

    Stainless steel tanks come with either a drum-like, rectangular, or cylindrical shape with thin walls made of stainless steel material. The stainless steel tanks offered by Highland Equipment are equipped with heat transfer capabilities to meet the needs of your specific applications. 

    Depending on your objectives, our experienced engineering team and technicians can also equip the tanks with mixing components that come in various sizes. We also offer a range of atmospheric tanks that allow our clients to choose from different options, including dished tops and bottoms, flat tops and bottoms, and/or conical tops and bottoms. 

    We can also custom-make your exact specifications for your stainless tank depending on several factors, including your specific application, the product to be stored, how often the tank must be cleaned, and other considerations.

    Stainless Steel Mixing Tank Fabrication

    Stainless steel comes in different grades designed to handle various substances and chemicals. These grades offer varying levels of corrosion resistance, strength, toughness, and high/low-temperature performance. During the fabrication of stainless steel, the following grades are widely utilized:

    • 304/304L: Stainless steel 304 comprises 18 to 20% chromium, 8 to 11% nickel, and 2% manganese. It offers adequate corrosion resistance for most applications. It is also less costly compared to other options.
    • 316/316L: 316/316L comprises 6 to 18% chromium, 10 to 14% nickel, 2 to 3% molybdenum, and 2% manganese. The addition of molybdenum adds an extra layer of corrosion resistance to make 316/316L more resistant to chemicals than stainless steel 304. 
    • Duplex: Duplex stainless steel is a blend of ferritic and austenitic metallurgical structures. It contains 20 to 28% chromium, 2 to 5% molybdenum, and 5 to 8% nickel. Austenitic stainless steel is superior to ferritic in terms of corrosion resistance and mechanical properties.

    Highland Equipment provides end-to-end stainless steel tank fabrication solutions from equipment design and manufacturing to system integration, installation, and ongoing technical support. We practice comprehensive quality control throughout all phases of fabrication, and our team undertakes extensive weld inspections to guarantee flawless joints. We leverage our premier fabrication shop fitted with the latest technologies and tools to provide high-quality orbital welding services. 

    Industries/Applications that Use Stainless Steel Mixing Tanks

    Stainless Steel Mixing Tanks are a common sight dotting the landscape across the country. They are integral equipment among several industries that need dependable containers to store and transport substances. As mentioned earlier, stainless steel resists corrosion and extreme temperatures. It is also easy to clean and disinfect. These attributes make stainless steel ideal for a range of applications. Some of the industries that leverage stainless steel tanks to store valuable materials and substances include:

    • Dairy
    • Food and beverage
    • Pharmaceutical
    • Brewery 
    • Cosmetics manufacturing

    At Highland Equipment, we apply a range of finishes to your stainless steel to guarantee optimal performance. Stainless steel is usually smooth and slightly reflective, but there are instances where its surfaces are brushed or bead blasted. The varying roughness calls for surface finishes to prevent moisture retention and material adhesion. Some of the stainless steel tank surface finishes that we apply include mill finish, mechanical finishes, electropolished, and more.

    Highland Equipment Solutions

    At Highland Equipment, we have the resources, capabilities, and tools to complete any of your stainless steel tank fabrication projects both in our workshop and in the field. As the industry leader in the design, fabrication, installation, and service of stainless steel process equipment, Highland Equipment is committed to providing exactly what you need, when you need it, and even where you need it. Contact us today to request a quote.

  3. Considerations for the Custom Sales and Consultation Process

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    For nearly 50 years, Highland Equipment Inc. has provided stainless steel design and installation of sanitary process equipment for clients in a range of industries, including pharmaceutical, food and beverage, cannabis, cosmetics, brewing, and more. From complex pressure vessels to skidded systems and a variety of customized tanks and equipment, we approach each project with the personalized attention it requires and deserves. 

    Every application is different, which is why they all require consideration of an array of factors when choosing your stainless steel grade, design, and more. When you request a quote for a custom solution, you should be specific about what you need. Here are the primary considerations:

    An Overview of the Design Process

    Our in-house engineering team collaborates with you on the stainless steel storage tank design that best suits your application. They work to meet ASME Section VIII Div. 1 Code and other industry standards while ensuring your design is both safe and cost-effective. In our years of experience, we’ve designed and constructed vessels of up to 18 feet in diameter and more than 65 feet in length.

    The right design requires consideration not only of the size and shape you need, but how it fits in the space, how it can be accessed for maintenance and repair, and what environmental conditions it will face. You’ll need to choose a stainless steel grade based on machinability, corrosion resistance, and more. 

    Grade Selection

    Stainless steel is prized for its strength and durability, but different grades of steel offer different qualities. You’ll need to consider these factors:

    • Machinability: Stainless steel in general isn’t as machinable as some other metals, but grades Ugima 304 and Ugima 316 were developed to be more machinable without losing formability and corrosion resistance. 
    • Corrosion Resistance: Grades 303 and 416 offer enhanced machinability, but some corrosion resistance is lost. Grade 316 is a common choice for applications where corrosion resistance is of the utmost importance. 
    • Formability: Austenitic and ferritic stainless steels, like 304 or 430, are commonly chosen for their formability. Martensitic steels, on the other hand, are more brittle. 
    • Weldability: Stainless steel welders face challenges like intergranular corrosion, hot cracking, and stress corrosion cracking; austenitic grades 304L or 347 and ferritic grades 430 or 439 are typically the best options for successful welding. 

    Corrosion Resistance

    Stainless steel is an alloy of iron and at least 10.5% chromium. Its corrosion resistance comes from passivation: the metal is not responsive to oxidation because of the thin film of chromium oxides that forms at the surface. The passivation process includes exposing the stainless steel to the air, submerging it in a bath of nitric acid, removing contaminants, and neutralizing it in aqueous sodium hydroxide.

    Different grades of stainless steel get their qualities from different amounts of chromium and additional materials, like nickel, manganese, or titanium. Molybdenum is often added for additional corrosion resistance, but that will make the stainless steel more brittle, requiring additional nickel to reduce that brittleness. 

    Welding Considerations

    Specific types of welds are used depending on the desired results. Orbital welding, for example, is an automated process that is highly precise and reliable. Fusion orbital welding, or automatic GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding), is an orbital welding process where the settings stay the same for the entire weld. Another option is wire feed orbital welding (or semi-automatic GTAW), commonly used for applications with thick wall pipes or materials that require fillers.

    Some industries, such as food and beverage, dairy, brewing, medical, and others, require sanitary welding that meets stringent standards. These welds are inspected to ensure they are:

    • Smooth and impervious
    • Free of cracks and crevices
    • Nonporous and nonabsorbent
    • Non-contaminating
    • Inert
    • Corrosion-resistant
    • Durable and maintenance-free
    • Nontoxic
    • Cleanable

    At Highland Equipment, we offer steel tank design and engineering, fabrication, installation, orbital welding, passivation, inspections, and more. With years of experience serving diverse industries, our team of professionals can help you with the many considerations required for your custom project. Contact us if you have any questions or request a quote today.

  4. Aseptic Mixing Tanks: Applications & Considerations

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    Aseptic mixing tanks help keep contents consistently free from contaminants using either a nitrogen barrier or highly pressurized air to maintain a sterile environment. Highland Equipment provides aseptic tanks tailored to the specific needs of your application. In this blog post, we’ll review some of the primary industries that use aseptic tanks, as well as considerations for selecting an ideal solution.

    Industries and Applications for Aseptic Mixing Tanks

    Aseptic Mixing

    A wide range of applications and industries use aseptic mixing tanks to keep contents sterile. The industries that regularly use these tanks include:

    • Pharmaceutical
    • Dairy
    • Food and beverage
    • Brewery
    • Cosmetics
    • Cannabis
    • Carton-based food products (broth, soup, alternative milks)

    On a more specific note, aseptic mixing tanks are essential for mixing food-grade epoxy coatings and for blending vaccines.

    What Is Aseptic Mixing?

    Aseptic Mixing

    Aseptic mixing entails blending disparate ingredients while protecting them from airborne pathogens, as well as the air itself. This process allows manufacturing companies in various verticals to remain compliant with any relevant standards and regulations while also increasing the shelf life of their products. Aseptic tanks facilitate sanitary mixing by closing contents off entirely from outside elements. Depending on the product, it’s also possible to install a tank with internal pressurization or vacuum capabilities to facilitate heating or cooling.

    Aseptic tanks normally feature stainless steel construction and a vertical cylindrical shape. They also typically feature a conical or dished bottom and a cooling jacket fitting. With the right aseptic mixing tank installed, manufacturers can make sure their products remain safe to consume and resistant to the early spoilage caused by unexpected bacteria or contaminants.

    Considerations for Aseptic Mixing

    The versatility of aseptic tanks makes them quite versatile. In addition to safely storing certain products such as milk and other dairy products at proper temperature settings, aseptic tanks can also serve as surge tanks that work to neutralize pressure charges.

    There are a couple of key benefits gained by implementing aseptic mixing tanks. These include:

    Minimal Maintenance Requirements

    Aseptic tanks require little effort when cleaning. Clean in Place (CIP) Steam in place (SIP) effectively cleans aseptic tanks, which helps ensure that workers don’t spend too much time on this task. The sterile nature of aseptic tanks further reduces the need to clean them. Mechanized and automated systems also minimize the need for general maintenance.

    Easily Modified

    Users can tailor aseptic tanks based on their changing needs. For instance, tank systems can easily connect with other tanks to create a single, larger aseptic tank system that accommodates business growth. Aseptic tanks are also available with various valves, toxicity measurement gauges, alarm systems, and ventilation systems, among other modifications. Installers may also fit tanks with bottom-mounted agitators for products that tend to separate when still.

    Reliable Aseptic Tank Designs from Highland Equipment

    If you’re in need of high-quality aseptic tanks, Highland Equipment can provide you with the right solution for your specific requirements. We offer end-to-end project management, including design and fabrication of your custom system, integration with your existing systems, installation, and ongoing support services. Our aseptic tanks feature an innovative mechanical sealed design and provide mixing, storing, and packing capabilities for a broad spectrum of industries and use cases.

    To learn more about our stainless steel tanks, please visit our product page. For additional questions or concerns, please contact us today.

  5. Automating Process Systems for Hygiene and Efficiency

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    At Highland Equipment, we specialize in the production of stainless steel processing equipment for food and beverage producers. These large-scale applications require thorough and reliable cleaning, which is done with the assistance of clean-in-place (CIP) systems. The CIP system is used to destroy the buildup of soil in machines that produce consumable products. Configurations in any CIP system include the machine’s design, performance, and automation level.

    Process System

    Process systems are used in many applications, such as food and beverage, dairy, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical. The systems that produce and package these items are designed to ensure food and beverages are safely manufactured before delivery to consumer stores. Because the final products are consumable, it is important the machines are cleaned safely without the risk of future contamination. To do this, most manufacturers utilize CIP systems to flush the entire system between batches.

    Clean-in-Place Automation

    Clean in Place Tank
    The parts and technology of CIP systems vary, including water and temperature equipment, pumps, piping, valves, surface finishes, and chemicals specific for use in CIP systems. Automation technology helps reduce the possibility of human error while keeping employees safe from possibly dangerous chemicals. It also is beneficial because the process is repeatable and can easily be tracked with and reported to prove compliance with industry standards. Additionally, CIP system automation also saves on expensive water and chemical costs.

    What Are the Steps in Clean-in-Place Automation?

    Clean in Place Automation

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    CIP system process includes the following steps:

    1. Consider the type of soil that must be cleared from the manufacturing line. For example: liquid-based products are much simpler to clean than food. Also be mindful of bacteria when working with dairy products.
    2. Ensure the right temperature, time, chemicals, and cleaning action is used before the cleaning process begins. Using the wrong methods can result in improper sanitation.
    3. Most cleaning cycles begin with a pre-rinse that removes residue and begins the process of removing leftover materials. This step uses potable water and is only a preliminary step for a more thorough sanitation process.
    4. Next is a caustic rinse, which uses a safe chemical compound to remove soil and clean the interior of the system process. This is followed by another rinse, to wash away the chemical and the material.
    5. A final and sanitizing rinse is the last step in the CIP process.

    By following these steps after every batch, food and beverage production equipment will be sanitary and able to perform at a higher efficiency.

    Working with Highland Equipment

    CIP Room cw Tank Dairy
    At Highland Equipment Inc., our dedicated and knowledgeable staff has the experience required to properly design and install your CIP system. Our quality assurance comes from our years of experience and industry certifications and standards.

    Our industry-leading capabilities make us the best choice for processing and CIP system equipment. We are able to create new CIP systems, or attach to existing equipment. Contact us to see how CIP systems can help your equipment be more efficient and sanitary.