Vacuum pumps are used to draw milk and power washing equipment on dairy farms. It is estimated that vacuum pumps are responsible for up to 25% of all the electricity used to operate a dairy farm.
Vacuum pumps create the negative pressure that helps draw the milk from cows and then transports the milk from the milk receiver to either the receiver bowl or the bulk tank. The airflow created by vacuum pumps also transports water and cleaning solution through the milking system when it is being cleaned.
Four main types of vacuum pumps are used in the dairy industry: water ring pumps, sliding vane rotary pumps, turbine pumps and rotary lobe or blower pumps. Different pumps are used for different applications because they all operate at their highest efficiency in different scenarios.
As the vacuum increases, vacuum pumps actually become less efficient. That makes it important to operate vacuum pumps at lower levels whenever possible to save energy costs.
It is important to match the size of the pump to the needs of the milking and washing system. This can reduce your initial investment for equipment and for operating and maintenance costs during the pump’s life-cycle. It also ensures maximum performance.
Every component in the system that has airflow helps to determine the correct size for the pump. The general sizing of a pump takes the amount of air admitted into the system during harvesting and adds another 50% to account for wear and tear and for accidental overload.
Previously, industry standards dictated the use of larger pumps in the mistaken impression that larger pumps were needed to compensate for washing. However, a pump that is too large can overheat toward the end of the cycle.
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