Home » Vibratory screeners keep dessert toppings in shape
For American Sprinkle Co., producing sprinkles is an exacting task due in part to the need to maintain a diameter of 2mm (0.039 in.), and lengths up to 10mm (0.39 in.). Sprinkle size and shape are important to the industrial and retail bakers and franchises that are American Sprinkle’s US customers. Uniformly shaped sprinkles provide even toppings, stay where they are applied and are visually appealing. They also reinforce the high-end appeal of the user’s products. American Sprinkle touts the “bright colors, brilliant shine and gourmet taste” of its toppings as key selling points.
All of these features derive from the quality of the recipe and production process. Doug Brockmann, who owns and operates the Pine Brook, NJ-based company along with brothers Bill, Bob and Ken, acquired the proprietary recipe and sprinkle-making process in Europe.
Recently, the company replaced its older mechanical sifters with two multi-deck Vibroscreen circular vibratory screeners from Kason Corporation to ensure uniform dimensions.
American Sprinkle positions the two 40-in. (1,016mm) diameter screeners at the sifting station near the end of each production line. The sprinkles emerge from an area called the panning room where they are shaped and coated. Each stainless steel, food-grade screener has two vibratory decks: a top deck with a 6 mesh (3,350 micron) screen and a bottom deck with a smaller-aperture 14 mesh (1,310 micron) screen to yield sprinkles within a defined size range. A chute automatically feeds the sprinkles into the center of the top screen on each unit. The vibratory action of the screener moves the sprinkles from the center toward the edge of each deck. Oversized sprinkles move in controlled pathways to a discharge spout at the periphery of the top screen.
“The bigger ones never make it past the top screen,” says Brockmann. On-spec sprinkles drop to the lower vibrating screen where they are transported to a discharge spout for packaging. Undersized sprinkles pass through apertures in the lower screen to a separate chute for removal.
The Vibroscreen units have an imbalanced-weight gyratory motor that imparts multi-plane inertial vibration to each deck. The gyratory motor can be adjusted by repositioning the bottom eccentric weight relative to the top eccentric weight. This creates flow patterns ranging from 0° in-phase to 90° out-of-phase, depending on the desired flow path and dwell time for the material.
“The quality of American Sprinkle’s process is so high that only 3 to 4 percent of product is rejected,” says Brockmann. Throughput rates vary according to production needs. Each screener is capable of sifting 1,200 lb. (2,640kg) of sprinkles per hour, he adds.
The company installed its first circular vibratory screener in 2006, and added the second on moving into its new 18,000-sq.-ft. plant. The second line allows the lower sifting rates necessary to yield greater size discrimination, according to Brockmann.
He says the company will add two circular vibratory screeners this year, primarily to increase throughput. “They won’t be dedicated to a line, but will be used to sift the sprinkles as needed to maintain production rates.”