+44 (0) 1236 433 799 info@bestpump.co.uk


All you need to know about the BlockBuster screw feeder pump systems

Our ‘BlockBuster’ system enables the pumping of solid and highly viscous materials that cannot be pumped using conventional pump technology.

Jeff Best

CEO, BestPump Ltd

What is the 'BlockBuster'?

‘BlockBuster’ is the name given to our screw feeder and pump systems that can ‘bust’ blocks and take away the many headaches associated with processing and pumping heavy, viscous and awkward solid, pasty, chunky, lumpy or sticky ingredients.

The ‘BlockBuster’ enables the pumping of solid and highly viscous materials that cannot be pumped using conventional pump technology.

How and when did you develop the technology?

The concept dates back to 2004 when a bakery tasked BestPump with upgrading their historic methods of labour-intensive manual lifting, cutting and weighing refrigerated 25kg blocks of butter.

We installed a solution that re-worked the butter blocks straight from the refrigerator and enabled the client to pump accurate batched weights of plasticised, consistent, lump-free butter directly into their mixers on demand – they literally ended up with smooth cold butter on tap!

We have developed the screw feeder and pump concept further and it is now used for many different solids and viscous fluid handling duties.

Why did BestPump develop the BlockBuster?

We see many food manufacturing clients facing the same headaches when working with bulk ingredients that are either in solid form or are highly viscous and unable to flow naturally into a pump.

These ingredients need to get into the production line but if there is no obvious automated solution then it needs to be a manual, labour intensive process.

We see the demands being put on operatives as they lifted heavy blocks, scooped dense pastes, cut solids into small pieces or even shovelled thick creamy products!

With a BlockBuster…

  • Heavy lifting is reduced
  • Time consuming manual transfers from vessel to vessel are no longer needed
  • Safety risks when cutting solids are removed
  • Wasting expensive energy to heat products in order to lower viscosity is not necessary
  • Inconsistent & lumpy final mixes are eradicated
  • Manual cutting and weighing becomes a thing of the past as the ‘BlockBuster’ can accurately dose and meter your desired batch weights

What products can the 'BlockBuster' handle?

The ‘BlockBuster’ is used for the reduction of bulk solid ingredients and the reworking of bulk solids. The reduced or re-worked media is then pumped to the next production stage i.e. into a mixer or kettle.

We typically process and pump solid ingredients including butter, shortening, margarine, shea butter, cheddar cheese and other fats as well as caramel, chocolate, fruit concentrate and more.

The ‘BlockBuster’ is also suitable for processing and transferring high viscosity pastes, concentrates, creams, slurries and other non-flowing media.

How is my product loaded into the 'BlockBuster'?

Either by conveyor or by hand.

On blocks and other solids for continuous running or batches larger than around 75kg, a conveyor is necessary to ensure that the hopper is always sufficiently filled with product.

As the hopper level diminishes, the system calls for the next block from the conveyor.

All you need to do is keep the conveyor sufficiently loaded and the ‘BlockBuster’ does the rest.

Conveyor feeding is only suitable for blocks and other solid media.

If you are processing small amounts of block product or batching relatively low weights, it is possible to load the hopper by hand.

In this case, the BlockBuster comes with an integrated lid protected by electronic safety switches.

The hopper can be customised to suit the required capacity e.g. 3 x 25kg butter blocks loaded at once.

Alternatively, for large loading capacities of bulk pastes or similar, we can design a bespoke BlockBuster with enlarged hopper.

This can allow the BlockBuster to integrate with a mixer so you can dump freshly mixed product straight in and immediately start pumping it to the next stage of your process e.g. a depositor.

What flow rates can the pump achieve?

To date, our highest flow rate has been 140kg of shortening per minute.

More commonly, we are asked to provide something like 15 to 30kg per minute.

The flow rate is only limited by the size of the pump used and the properties of the product being pumped.

The real question is, what flow rate do you require?

How far can the product be pumped?

This comes down to the capability of the pump selected for your particular project, the flow rate and the media viscosity.

We have successfully pumped cold butter over 40 metres from a chiller to remote mixer bays.

Sticky products typically result in significant friction losses and so discharge distances are relatively short.

Typical pressure ratings are around 12 bar but we can offer up to 35 bar when required.

What pump type is used on the 'BlockBuster'?

We recommend circumferential piston pump technology.

These pumps offer hygienic design, high pressures, shear-sensitive handling of fragile media and enlarged rectangular inlet ports for improved suction flow.

It is possible to use other pump types and we can even supply a separate screw feeder for you to attach your own pump (at client’s risk).

Can the 'BlockBuster' be used to deliver set batch weights?

Yes, with our batching function.

The touchscreen menu enables the Operator to enter the required batch weight. The system will run until the batch is delivered and then stop.

Can the 'Blockbuster' be controlled by level sensor, flow meter, load cell or floor scales?

Yes it can.

Simply provide an electrical signal from your measuring device to start and stop the ‘BlockBuster’.

What temperature range does the BlockBuster handle?

This is subject to the materials of construction and dependent on the properties of the media to be processed.

For butter blocks, we suggest an absolute minimum of 0°C at the core of the block. We have successfully pumped other lighter fats at lower temperatures such as margarine shortening and chicken fat at -16°C.

Confectionery ingredients like chocolate and caramel can be processed at ambient temperatures.

For cheddar cheese and some concentrated fats we recommend a minimum of 2°C.

Can I test my product on a BlockBuster?

Yes, absolutely.

We offer video or in person trials at our premises or we can explore possibilities of testing a machine in your production areas.

This is subject to availability and may incur charges.

How is the 'BlockBuster' cleaned?

The systems are designed for cleaning out of place and can be disassembled with a single wrench.

The screw feeder section is wheel-mounted as is the pump to give flexibility on cleaning processes.

A dedicated screw removal and cleaning trolley is supplied as standard.

Extracting the screws is a safe and simple process using the included screw extraction tool on the trolley.

After removal, the screws can be washed and re-inserted without ever having to be manually lifted.

The hopper / screw feeder housing is fitted with drains so it can be washed with hot water & cleaning fluids.

The pump, mounted on a stand-alone trolley, can be disconnected from the screw feeder and wheeled away to a wash down bay or cleaning area.

Cleaning the pump is a simple process and involves removal of the front cover then washing the internal areas of the pump rotor case.

What safety features does the BlockBuster have?

The BlockBuster is guarded from the conveyor hood or loading lid to the pump motor.

If the lid is open or if any of the guards are out of place or if the pump is detached, the system is disabled.

We use sensors throughout the system to ensure that it will only operate when 100% safe.

On conveyor-fed systems, the conveyor must be correctly located in the hopper hood to operate.

Who makes the 'BlockBuster'?

The design, manufacture and testing of each ‘BlockBuster’ is carried out by BestPump Ltd in our facility in Coatbridge, Scotland, UK.

We are a family business that specialises in distributing hygienic pumps and manufacturing stainless-steel process equipment.

Our niche is the solving of high viscosity fluid and solids handling problems – our mission is to ‘pump the unpumpable’.

Who is BestPump?

BestPump Ltd is a distributor of hygienic pumps and a manufacturer of bespoke stainless-steel process equipment.

We have been solving customers’ tough pumping challenges since the year 2000.

With our heritage in stainless steel pumps and our reputation for innovative engineered solutions, we overcome challenges to get non-flowing products to pump and we’ve been engineering and manufacturing bespoke screw feeders since the early 2000s.

From low viscosity fluids like water and high viscosity solids like butter and everything in between, we can deliver suitable pump types including centrifugal pumps, twin-screw pumps, circumferential piston pumps, drum pumps, rotary lobe pumps, diaphragm pumps, progressive cavity pumps, peristaltic pumps and many more hygienic pump types.

Coupled to our impressive product portfolio, we have the engineering skills and the manufacturing facilities required to innovate and deliver problem-solving pump screw feeders and process systems.

If you want to know more, call us on +44 (0)1236 433799 or visit our contact page.

Welcome to BestPump

We pump products that cannot be pumped using conventional pumping equipment.

The ‘BlockBuster’ simplifies the process of breaking down awkward products in block or chunk form.

Product can be loaded manually or by conveyor into a receiving chamber where robust stainless-steel augers force-feed a
positive displacement pump.