Food Ingredient Blending System

Fresco recently responded to a customer’s requirements by providing a full turn-key blending system with ingredient traceability. The scope was to provide a food grade blending facility capable of blending and tracking various ingredients including sugar, milk powder, flour, flavors and colorings to a better than 99% homogeneity at a rate of 6,000kg/hr. The system also required two blending lines to be run simultaneously.

Additional restraints also include the raw materials coming in various packaging types including bulk bags, 50kg sacks and 25kg bags. After consultation with the customer, Fresco Systems offered a solution that meet all of the current requirements and allowed for future increases in plant capacity and the option to receive materials in bulk tanker delivery.

The solution consisted of a CITEC recipe based electrical automation system where the recipe for each blender is entered by the production manager for the day. Operators follow the schedule by manually weighing macro ingredients and tip these into the bag dump station following the prompts on the HMI operator interface panel. As each ingredient is entered the operator acknowledges it on the screen. Minor ingredients are then tipped in to the bag dump to flush the macros through the system. The bag dump stations are fitted with integral dust collectors so that any collected dust is returned to the product stream avoiding waste and cross contamination. All ingredients tipped through the bag dump station are passed over a vibratory separator sifter to ensure the ingredients are free of lumps or foreign objects. Major ingredients are received in 1000kg and 1200kg bulk bags which pass through an inline rotary sifter while conveyed on a gain-n-weigh basis to the receival hopper. A common dense phase vacuum system then conveys the ingredients to either of the two mixer receival hoppers. To allow for continuous operation, the macros, minors and major products are assembled in the receival hopper while the previous batch is being blended in the ribbon blender below.

As each ingredient is weighed, the actual weight is logged in the SCADA system for track and trace purposes as well as recording production details. Loadcells on the receival hopper also provide confirmation that the weighed product is completely discharged to the blenders. A magnet is also installed prior to the blenders to ensure that all metal contaminants are captured.

Flavours and colorings which would otherwise contaminate the vacuum conveying system are tipped directly to the blenders via a mini bag dump station. This removes the need to clean the system between recipe changes increasing process capacity. The mini bag dump stations are fitted with vibratory security screens and dust collection systems. The dust collection system also doubles as the balance for the displaced air as ingredients are discharged for the receival hopper in to the blenders.

The blenders are fitted with variable frequency drives ensuring that the product is handled with care reducing the risk of degradation during the mixing cycle. Once the blend time is reached the batch is discharged into bulk bags for storage and transferring to the various packing lines.

Fresco Systems tailors their standard range of bulk materials handling systems to suit each customer’s unique needs providing a tailored solution suitable to the operation and budget of each customer. As Fresco Systems designs, manufactures, installs and commissions their own systems, they are in complete control of the entire process offering customers cost competitive solutions of the highest quality.

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