Dry Processing
Dry Processing Technology

Blending system allows the weighing of product in motion

Muesli cereal line required a system to help blend multiple ingredients with accurate proportions.

Bob's Red Mill
The weigh-in-motion system installed at Bob’s Red Mill allows higher throughput of its Muesli product while providing ease of operation, cleaning and maintenance. Source: Crescent Systems.
In January 2014, Bob’s Red Mill was planning to buy a new blend system for its Muesli line, which required blending multiple ingredients with accurate proportions to create the cereal. While at the Northwest Food Processors show in Portland, President and CEO Bob Moore and Director of Plant Engineering Bo Thomas met with Crescent Systems, Inc. of Tualatin, OR. 

Moore invited Crescent Systems to visit and discuss his company’s project, review its requirements and specifications, and determine if Crescent would be able to produce a suitable system. Bob’s Red Mill specified feed rates, the number of items per recipe and the number of different recipes that would run through the system. After receiving a quote for a system that met its criteria, the company purchased a Crescent Magna Weigh blending system that allows the weighing of product in motion.

Crescent Systems custom designed the system to Bob’s Red Mill’s specific requirements. The company worked with Crescent to refine details and address control specifications such as the type of PLC and touch-screen components needed, the number of recipes and other changes to enhance the system.

Bob’s Red Mill’s production target was 6,000 pounds per hour. Running the system at that rate, with plenty of capacity still available, Moore wanted to try running it at 12,000 pounds per hour. After the necessary adjustments, the system performed perfectly.

Thomas had a number of problems with the plant’s previous method of producing cereal mixes, but says the benefits of the new system include employee safety and improved efficiency and speed.

“Previously, we weighed and dispensed individual ingredients for each batch. We wanted to reduce the frequency and time involved with handling ingredients,” says Thomas. “For example, in a 62,000-pound production run of Muesli on the new system, we handle the 2,000-pound bulk bags 54 times versus 165 times with the previous method. In addition, depending on the recipe, we can now produce cereal mixes at a 300 to 400 percent increase over our previous process. We can supply cereal mixes to our packaging department with substantially shorter lead times, and we’ve reduced the amount of work in the process, which takes up valuable floor space.”

The Crescent system also increased plant flexibility. “We wanted to produce as many different types of cereal blends as possible,” says Thomas. “Now, we can fill the feeder hoppers with ingredients, no matter what type or size of container they come in.”

Thomas also cites ease of operation, cleaning and maintenance as benefits of the new system. “We asked Crescent to make the equipment as simple and accessible as possible,” he says. “The controls are easy to learn, and the machinery promises to be very durable and reliable.” v

For more information: Gulzar Ahmed, Crescent Systems, Inc., 503-692-0287, csi@crescentsystemsinc.com, www.crescentsystemsinc.com

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