Innovation / Processing / Dry Processing

Ingredient shrinkage cut from 1.25 to 0.25 percent

Powder blending facility had dust everywhere-dust that should have been in products, not on floors, equipment.

The mezzanine-mounted dust collector allows efficient duct runs to the processing rooms on the floor below. The collector discharges cleaned air (upper right) into the warehouse area, eliminating need for make-up air and improving energy efficiency in the air-conditioned plant. Source: United Air Specialists.

As a supplier of baking mixes, dairy blends, premixes for cheese and tortillas, and other powdered ingredients for the food industry, and a provider of toll blending, Allied Blending & Ingredients, Inc., headquartered in Keokuk, IA, knows the challenges of handling powders, which easily become fugitive airborne dusts. The company had long struggled with two dust collectors at its original California plant, which handled only 10 million pounds of product per year. “We had substantial dust on our equipment, floors and in the air, and our shrink levels were around 1.25 percent,” says Matt Stelzer, Allied Blending’s vice president of operations at the California facility.

Stelzer aimed for a much lower shrinkage rate while planning for the company’s new 25 million-pound per year plant, and he knew a sister facility had been pleased with the long-term performance of a dust collection system from United Air Specialists (UAS). After evaluating three dust collection system suppliers for the new California plant, Stelzer and Plant Manager Juan Mora selected a central-system design using the UAS model SFC 32-4 down-flow cartridge collector rated at 15,000 cfm. This unit draws contaminated air in through its top and forces it downward through horizontal cartridge filters. Its high-efficiency filter media traps contaminants, and the air passes through an after-filter before being released back into the plant or outdoors. A reverse pulse of compressed air through the filter cartridges periodically dislodges captured dust, which falls into a receptacle for disposal.

With the core unit selected, the central system was then designed so it could handle dust generated in each of the new plant’s three separate 1200-sq.-ft. production rooms, while complying with FDA requirements. 

The dairy 3A blending and batch pack rooms required a custom stainless steel duct and CIP design to prevent ingredient cross-contamination. “We use one of the rooms to process whey, nonfat dry milk and yeast, and another for mixing tortilla premixes (batch packs) with salt, sugar and micro-ingredients. So to comply with FDA regulations, 304 and 316 SS duct is used as necessary, and the system is designed to minimize or eliminate areas that can harbor particles,” says Stelzer. 

To improve air handling efficiency, conserve floor space and address potential explosion venting requirements, the collector was located on a mezzanine above the control room in the center of the plant. From this spot, the collector functions as a central system, ducted to three precisely defined collection points in each processing room. This ensures optimum airflow is pulled from each room’s hoods and carried to the collector. Then clean, filtered air is recirculated back into the air-conditioned warehouse to save energy. With its proximity to the ceiling, the mezzanine location also provides contingency for explosion venting through an outside wall.

The reduction in product shrinkage from Allied’s old plant to the new one-1.25 to 0.25 percent-is more than modest, and well below the industry average of 1.0 percent. The improvement over the old plant is obvious, as Stelzer explains. “When people familiar with the appearance of a powdered food processing facility visit our plant, they are surprised to learn that we do blending here because it is so clean,” says Stelzer.

For more information:
David Gelb; 513-354-8704;

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

Recent Articles by Wayne Labs, Senior Technical Editor

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo 2015

Images from Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo in Clearwater Beach, Florida, April 12-15, 2015. The event brought food and beverage processors and suppliers together to gain valuable information on the latest trends and technologies in manufacturing, automation, sustainability and food safety.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering May 2015 Cover

2015 May

The May 2015 issue of Food Engineering explores effective tools for hitting manufacturing targets. Also, read how processors are looking for faster ways to detect harmful pathogens in food and beverages without sacrificing accuracy or reliability.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Plant Facility/Site Issues

What issue about your current plant facility/site keeps you up the most at night?
View Results Poll Archive


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Engineering Food Master 2015Food Master 2015 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.