Safe removal of spinal cord material by modern vacuum technology

Maulburg - The removal of spinal cord material is an important step in the animal slaughter process. Macquip Ltd. has developed a special extraction system for residue-free carcass cleaning. Macquip relies on Busch vacuum technology and uses only Mink claw vacuum pumps, which maintain a constant high vacuum for the complete extraction of spinal cord material.

Macquip Ltd. is an abattoir equipment manufacturer based in Antrim, Northern Ireland. The company's products are marketed throughout the UK and Ireland. The product range includes everything required in a slaughterhouse, from knives to complete equipment systems. Macquip was one of the first companies in the world to introduce a system for the safe removal of spinal cord material from cattle, pigs, goats and sheep which conforms to the strict EU regulations. These regulations state that "risk material must be removed from the carcass without contamination and sent for disposal".

Macquip developed a hand tool with a rotating blade with an integrated vacuum line to remove spinal cord material after the carcass has been split. The process takes just a few seconds, and waste material is transported to a sealed collection container. The tool is run along the spinal canal by hand, thereby lifting, cutting and removing the spinal cord material in one pass.

At the start of system development, side channel blowers were used to generate the required vacuum. These pumps proved to be inadequate for the harsh conditions of slaughterhouse use, and were subsequently replaced by oil lubricated rotary vane vacuum pumps. Rotary vane vacuum pumps delivered the required performance, but moisture from the extracted air tended to accumulate in the vacuum pump oil. This resulted in frequent and expensive pump failure. The large temperature difference between the air-conditioned slaughterhouse and the vacuum pump chamber caused moisture to condense within the pump and mix with the oil, impairing pump performance and ultimately failure. Frequent oil changes did resolve the problem, and experiments with a variety of filters proved unsuccessful. Macquip then switched to Busch Mink claw vacuum pumps, thereby solving all technical problems with the vacuum supply. Macquip now are totally convinced that "The Mink is perfect for our customers applications!"

Busch Mink claw vacuum pumps require no operating fluids. This is due to their contact-free working principle: the internal pump components rotate without touching each other. No friction or wear occurs, reducing maintenance costs to a minimum. All surfaces in contact with the inlet air are given a special corrosion-resistant coating, so water vapour and condensate cannot impair pump performance. A stainless steel particle and fluid filter is installed on the inlet side, preventing waste material, carcass fluids and water from entering the vacuum pump.

Busch supplies a variety of sizes of Mink claw vacuum pumps to Macquip. The pump dimensions are matched to the system demand, and are determined by a number of factors. One or more hand tools may be connected to an extraction system, so the pump output must increase for every additional hand tool user. The distance between the workplace and the collection container must also be considered. The selection of the correct pump size is carried out in consultation with Busch specialists, to ensure that vacuum demand can be met without using an overdimensioned pump. Macquip extraction systems can also be used to remove dust bone, water, blood and fat residues from the split carcasses by using different hand tools. This means multiple separate processes can be carried out using the same extraction system, considerably reducing both operating and cleaning costs. Busch Mink claw vacuum pumps are equipped with energy-saving motors, which in combination with their highly efficient working principle results in low operating costs.

The Mink vacuum pumps are in single-shift operation for between nine and ten hours a day. A warm-up phase is required before the shift to allow the pumps to reach their working temperature, and a shut-down phase after the shift prevents water from accumulating inside the pumps. The hand tools and attachments must be cleaned and disinfected at the end of the shift, but the Mink vacuum pumps require only cleaning of the inlet side particle and fluid filters. Macquip is certain that Mink vacuum pumps are the perfect vacuum generators for his customers, as they combine performance, reliability, economy and ease of maintenance.  

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