Food Engineering

Dry Processing Technology: Building a bigger and better mixing facility

October 26, 2005
Bag dump stations simplify clean-up and produce fast product changeover at Crest Foods.

Crest Foods installed SWECO bag dump stations in its new, state-of-the-art facility to meet high food, dairy and allergen sanitary requirements. Source: SWECO.
When Crest Foods Co.'s contract manufacturing division outgrew the space used to blend, mix and package dry food products in its Ashton, IL, facility, the company decided it wanted a space that was bigger, as well as better.

Originally the company had eight mixing stations embedded in each packaging line. To increase the limited amount of space, management opted to remove the mixing operations from these lines and place them in the ingredient warehouse, where a new state-of-the-art screening and mixing facility that would exceed all current and future customer requirements, could be created.



Based on positive experiences with previous SWECO machinery, the company turned to the company again for equipment to upgrade the facility. "Thirty years ago Crest Foods procured used, 48-in. SWECO vibratory separators that have been in continuous use since 1974," says Jim Spangler, plant engineer with Crest Foods. "So, when we decided to upgrade the facilities, we called on SWECO to provide the world-class separation equipment we needed."

To screen bagged materials, Crest Foods chose SWECO sanitary bag dump separation systems for food and dairy applications to remove contaminants and debris such as pieces of bag, paper and string prior to mixing. Each station was designed and polished to meet the most stringent food, dairy and allergen sanitary requirements while reducing non-productive cleaning time.

Since Crest Foods produces more than 200 different, active product formulations, including over 50 varieties of Hamburger Helper, simplifying quick clean-up and fast product changeover was essential in the new facility. The SWECO equipment helped here, as well as by eliminating costly and time-consuming labor necessary to clean up spilled material by capturing airborne dust particles before they can enter the environment. The sanitary features, integral dust collection and dedicated room design allow operators to clean their individual screening stations while the mixers are running each batch. This allowed Crest Foods to eliminate a second-shift, four-person cleaning crew.

Many of Crest Foods' customers do not require vibratory screens and some competitors use stationary, large-opening static screens. The processor wanted to gain the quality and performance advantage of a vibratory screening system. "Vibratory screens have a higher capacity and allow the use of smaller screen mesh to improve product quality over stationary screens," says Spangler.

The bag dump is designed ergonomically. Its low-profile and table design yield an operating unit that does not require structural modifications to the building floors. The units are also mounted on casters, which simplifies the cleaning of the room. u

For more information:

Jeff Dierig; SWECO; 859-727-5116



Centrifugal sifter

The Gericke G308 is a lightweight and compact centrifugal sifter. It features interlocked hinged access doors; air-purged, double-lip seals; self-locating, quick-release basket assembly; captive end-door hand clamps and a compact under-slung belt drive. There are no internal fasteners or special tools required.

Powder Technologies Inc.;
609-914-0521;
sales@powdertechusa.com



Screw conveyor

Cyclonaire's FlexFlite flexible screw conveyors use steel augers and flexible tubes up to 100 ft. long to move dry solids at rates as high as 3,600 lbs./hr. They are suitable for conveying product from bags, bins, hoppers or weigh stations. Rated capacities for the three models are 100, 300 and 400 cu. ft./hr. The unit's spiral auger is the only moving part that contacts the conveyed materials. It is coreless to minimize clogging and has an oval cross-section to ensure positive movement of material through the delivery tube and metering accuracy, says the company.

Cyclonaire Corp.;
402-362-2000



Cartridge filters

Airlanco says its E-86 Series cartridge filters offer high filtration efficiencies in compact housings. The 8.6-in. diameter, spun-bonded polyester filter cartridges are washable and easy to replace. Cleaning is by an Airlanco pulse jet system augmented by proprietary venture intake ports that draw in surrounding air to increase the effectiveness of the programmable reverse air pulses. A slope-sided collection hopper mounted below the cartridge housing receives the dust and debris dislodged from the cartridge filter elements by pulsed air. The automatic cleaning mechanism uses 60 psig clean, dry air and a standard 110/1/60 power supply.

Airlanco;
800-500-9777;
www.airlanco.com



Limit switch

The Soliphant T FTM 20/21 single-rod limit switch from Endress+Hauser is a point level switch for fine-grained or coarse-grained, non-fluidized bulk solids. The unit offers a tilted piezo drive inside the tip of the sensor rod and is mechanically balanced for higher resistance to vibration and build up. Decoupling the process connection from the oscillating movement makes the sensor insensitive to external vibration and secures reliable measurement results, says the company.

Endress+Hauser, Inc.;
888-ENDRESS;
www.us.endress.com



Tube conveyors

Vibrating tube conveyors from Nu-Con are suitable for horizontal conveying of fragile agglomerated, instantized and standard powders. The company says it eliminates product degradation because material never contacts moving parts. The tube can be dry cleaned manually through end-inspection covers or cleaned-in-place with spray ball fittings. The unit is totally enclosed and dust free. USDA Dairy 3A models are available.

Nu-Con Equipment;
952-279-5210;
sales@nucon.com



Bulk bag unloader

Flexicon's half-frame bulk bag unloader relies on the user's forklift or plant hoist to suspend the bag above the unit during operation. The bag-to-hopper interface consists of a Spout-Lock clamp ring atop a pneumatically actuated Tele-Tube telescoping tube, allowing dust-tight connections and unrestricted flow between the bag spout and hopper.

Flexicon;
610-814-2400;
www.flexicon.com



Pneumatic conveying

The IEDCO Volkmann vacuum conveying system provides a safe, hygienic and economical method of charging powders to reactors and mix tanks. The system clamps to a sanitary ferrule on the mix tank and is completely pneumatic.

Industrial Equipment & Design Co.;
856-218-7330;
info@iedco.com



Bulk bag conditioner

This completely automated bulk bag conditioner from NBE reduces the hardened material's lump size within the bulk bag so it can pass through the bag's discharge spout. Raising and lowering the hydraulic de-blocking rams as the turntable rotates 360 degrees conditions every spot on the bulk bag and maximizes lump-size reduction, says the company. The low-pressure hydraulic system provides smooth and controlled operation of the de-blocking rams, while an adjustable pressure switch provides control over their compression force, says the company.

NBE;
616-399-2220;
sales@nbe-inc.com



Bag dump stations

Vac-U-Max bag dump stations range in size from 5 to 40 cu. ft. in capacity and are USDA accepted. They feature 316L stainless steel construction, continuous polished welds, gas assist door springs, removable bag break grate, dust hood with 8-in. dust collection port or an integral dust collector. For non-free flowing materials, the stations are fitted with a live bottom bin to keep material moving. The stations can be used in an existing pneumatic conveying system or as a stand-alone unit connected directly to your process.

Vac-U-Max;
800-VAC-U-MAX;
www.vac-u-max.com