Maple syrup isn’t only a sweet addition to your breakfast arsenal; it’s a kitchen pantry staple! Much like creamer is the perfect add-on to your morning cup of joe, maple syrup is the ideal complement to waffles, pancakes, and savory breakfast meats – among a host of other breakfast foods. But have you ever given a thought as to how syrup makes it from the tree to the table?
From Sap to Syrup
Syrup originates as sap, and there is a very short window for sugarmakers to pull the sap out of the maple trees. Maple sap only runs during the early spring, which means that sugarmakers have just about four weeks of the freeze-thaw cycle (i.e. warm days and freezing nights, when the pressure on the sap inside the tree is greater than the pressure outside of the tree) to gather the necessary amount of sap that will then be transformed into maple syrup. In fact, it can take about forty-three gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup! However, the sap yields are becoming more unpredictable as the years go on, due to changes in seasons and climate; this is where vacuum pump technology enters the picture.
The traditional tapping system is familiar for many and involves hanging a bucket on a tap and waiting for the tree to produce. With sap yields being less and less reliable, however, many in the maple industry are employing industrial vacuum systems to bridge this gap and draw more sap from the trees. The concept is simple: a vacuum pressure-powered tubing system (set-up at the sap tank) sucks sap out of the trees by artificially lowering the pressure outside of the trees. The tubing connects the trees together and runs to the sugar house, where the syrup is collected, heated, and eventually transformed into maple syrup.
The Benefits of Using Vacuum Pumps
The benefits of using vacuum in this process are numerous. For example, vacuum pressure helps solve the problems of trees being unequal height and/or at unequal elevation. And not only are the trees unharmed and the syrup flavor unchanged, but each tree will yield more sap annually than through the traditional method. Vacuum pumps can also power hundreds (even thousands) of taps at once, making industrial vacuum a dependable system for sugarmakers to rely on. According to Fred Shelatz, Farm Manager at Bissell Maple Farm, you need about 1cfm to power 100 taps; he currently runs a DZS multi-claw pump at 48cfm, meaning he’s able to power 4,800 – 5,000 taps easily!
Want to learn more about vacuum pumps in the maple industry? Atlas Copco Vacuum has a full range of vacuum technology specific to your maple application! Our traditional oil-sealed vane, robust screw, and minimal maintenance dry claw vacuum pumps are ready to meet your maple production needs.