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What are you using to pump molasses?

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We use a positive displacement pump currently. It works but isn't ideal. It tends to get quite hot. I was thinking that a "peanut butter pump" might do the job better. An air diaphragm pump.

What has everyone else pumping molasses found to work well?

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Air diaphragm pump works great, but you need a pretty good size, which will vary according to how much molasses you need to pump.

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In general, viscous products do best with high vacuum and high pressure. Flexible impeller pumps are a good middle-of-the-road solution with some caveats. They're not perfect, but hard to beat for the price.

Viscous products are kryptonite for centrifugal pumps, so they're right out.

As Jedd notes, Air diaphragm pumps work well as long as you can size them properly. Viscous products pump best with higher pressures, and consequently higher airflow, which means a big, noisy, expensive compressor. They're a great solution as long as you already have an air compressor on-site. Once you're buying an air compressor for the sole purpose of powering your pump, they're not such a slam dunk.

I have a local customer that pumps syrups, sauces, and other honey-like substances. He bought a Ragazzini peristaltic pump about fifteen years ago and swears by it. They pull nearly perfect vacuum and can deliver over 15 bar of pressure. They're used to pump concrete and rock slurries, so molasses is easy. The only downside is the price, as they start around $10k.

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7 hours ago, whiskeytango said:

Gravity.  

Agreed!

 

 

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We used to lift the totes up with a forklift. It worked well when it was just me and there were few tours. It's not as workable for us anymore.

First, it ties up the forklift for a long time. We need it for other things and I don't want to buy another forklift. Second, I had an employee forget to strap the molasses tote on once and he dropped it. (You have never seen a mess until you have seen a molasses tote dropped off a lift!). I prefer to have a more fool-proof and safer method. Third, we run tours quite often near the equipment. I can't fit a forklift with a tote and still have room for the tours. I am trying to setup production so we can continue our work even if we have a room full of visitors.

I am planning on adding some molasses storage tanks at some point. I would like to hard-pipe those in to the mash tanks with an inline pump. It would be nice if I could find something to use now with hoses that could still be integrated into a hard-piped system in the future.

 

 

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Yeah don’t bother trying to find a sanitary pump that’ll deal with it.  We have some big Viking S2 lobe pumps and they struggle unless you run them very very slow. 

 

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We have a shop next door that can fabricate just about anything. Interesting. Might be able to do something with that.

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That pump head with the overpressure bypass (to protect the pump) sells for well over $1000.

Looking at a pump curve, using a viscosity of 7500 (molasses between 5000 and 10000) - looks like you can do about 12-18 gallons per minute at 600-1000rpm.  Just a quick estimate of motor, probably 1.5-2hp.

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