How to Improve Productivity in Liquid Processing
In industries which process liquids, there are various ways to optimise production and to operate with maximum efficiency. This could include making changes to some processes or tweaking others. You could also look at different control techniques or more accurate instrumentation.
But for really big improvements, one of the best ways to increase yields, improve operational efficiency and productivity in liquid processing is to use product recovery (pigging) technology.
Pigging Used in a Wide Variety of Applications
Pigging is in wide use in liquid processing, especially in hygienic or sanitary environments. It’s used by companies that manufacture foods, beverages and confectionery, as well as in the production of homecare products, personal care, cosmetics, pet foods, lubricants, paints, coatings and solvents and many other goods.
In the beverage industry alone, pigging is used with an extensive variety of products including soft drinks, waters, wines, whiskies, juices, syrups, pulps and many more.
So, how exactly do pigging systems increase yields?
Recovering Product and Increasing Yields
Whenever a process transfers liquid along a pipe, there’s nearly always product residue left in the pipe. Even in gravity fed lines there’s nearly always a certain amount of liquid that stays in the pipe and needs removing. And the more viscous the liquid is, the more residue there is.
In the process industries, particularly in hygienic or sanitary environments, pigging recovers this residual liquid product from the pipelines in a fully controlled operation. This increases product yield and reduces the amount of waste produced. If the liquid wasn’t recovered by pigging, it would otherwise go to waste. Usually this would be during flushing or CIP, depending on the process.
Overview of Pigging Technology
Here’s a detailed description of what pigging is and how it works. But very briefly, the pigging process consists of a specialist projectile (called, not surprisingly, a ‘pig’). When there’s residual product in a pipeline that’s used to transport a liquid, for example during product changeovers or routine cleaning, the pig gets propelled through it.
Because the pig is a very tight fit, it pushes nearly all the residual product out of the pipeline to its destination. The destination could be the filler or tank, bottling or packaging, or the liquid could be sent to continue processing along with the rest of the product.
The whole process is usually automatic. But the point is, instead of sending this residual product to waste, it’s saved.
It’s important to note that in many liquid process plants, there is a lot of product transfer pipelines which are left full of residual product at the end of transfer batches. So, there’s a lot of product for the pig to recover, which increases yield significantly.
What Are the Other Benefits of Pigging?
Increased yields isn’t the only reason companies implement pigging systems. That’s because pigging systems deliver a wide range of benefits. However, probably the most common reason for pigging in the process industries is to increase yields.
Quite simply, increased yields mean less waste, more efficiency, better productivity and ultimately increased profits. In fact, pigging offers a choice between increased output, or achieving the same output in less time and using less resources.
The product that is recovered using pigging is in the same condition as the product being processed. So, it’s perfectly usable. You can sell it, package it, or continue to process it along with the rest of the batch, rather than flushing it to drain.
High Performance Pigging Systems
HPS pigging systems are (well we think so anyway) probably the highest performance systems you can get for hygienic, sanitary and process environments. Recovery rates are up to 99.5%. As an example, a wine bottling plant implemented a Pigging System and now saves an average of 256,000 litres of wine every year. Similarly, a leading soft drinks company massively increased product yield by about 48,000 extra cans per week (which is a huge amount of the popular fizzy drink!)
We’ve focused a lot on productivity and increased yields. But there are other reasons liquid processing companies use pigging. These vary in each application, but can include faster changeovers, lower labour costs, less downtime, reduced waste processing and associated costs, lower cleaning costs, reduced water usage, prevention of aeration, foaming and dissolved oxygen and improved environmental sustainability.
There’s also the financial benefits of HPS solutions. Typically, HPS systems pay for themselves in less than 12 months, meaning they deliver a high return on investment. So, it’s no surprise that our proven solutions are used by thousands of companies throughout the world.
Find Out More
If you have any questions about liquid pipeline pigging for hygienic or sanitary applications, of if you’re looking to increase product yields and improve productivity through highly effective product recovery and transfer solutions, please contact HPS, or your local agent or representative.
Alternatively for a free pigging system quotation, please click here.