Operation

Certain requirements must be met for successful operation of the homogenizer. The first of these is adequate in-feed pressure. A positive-displacement pump must have a positive in-feed pressure so the pump is not starved. If it is starved, transient high-pressure shock loading can occur, eventually resulting in severe damage to the pump (6). The required in-feed pressure will depend on the characteristics of the product and the size of the pump. Excessive amounts of entrained air in a product will cause a similar type of shock loading, and some products require deaera-tion to eliminate large amounts of entrained air. The correct type of pump valves should be used depending on the nature of the product. Viscous products may require ball valves. Abrasive products may require ball valves and special wear-resistant materials for the pump-valve seats and homogenizing valve. The homogenizer should be sanitary. Parts should be easily removable for cleaning or replacement, and the machine should have no flow areas where product can be trapped. Of course, the homogenizer must be rugged and reliable; for example, some dairies may require the homogenizer to operate more than 16 h a day, six days a week.

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