Anuga FoodTec: Brabender Technologie offers advice on continuous production
Brabender Technologie will be focusing on different production methods at this year’s Anuga FoodTec in Cologne. The choice between continuous or batch production is commonly determined when new production lines or upgrades are involved, because one of the key factors is quantity. “Large quantities with few ingredients are generally indicative of a continuous application, while a large number of ingredients with smaller quantities is more suited to a batch application”, Klaus Plien, Head of Export Sales at Brabender Technologie in Duisburg, explains. Two issues are absolutely key in this regard, particularly when switching from batch production to a continuous solution – the feeding reliability and operator requirements.
In a batching application, individual batches are first weighed and then mixed whereas mixing is ongoing in the continuous process. Here too, a range of different formulas can be handled on one continuous production line. “For example, a whole milk chocolate recipe is passed through the chocolate production process and nuts or other ingredients are then added as appropriate to produce specific types of chocolate. All ingredients either have dedicated feeders, which are added to the process as required, or the feeders are used for different products. In the latter case quick cleaning capability is vital to keep downtimes as short as possible”, Guido Obler, a food expert in the Brabender Technologie Sales team, explains. On the one hand, a continuous production line is often more expensive to purchase, since it requires more equipment and a higher level of automation. On the other hand, it costs less to run because it operates with fewer staff and can also produce during unmanned shifts.
Feeding consistency and accuracy are Brabender Technologie strengths
Brabender Technologie has already converted many production lines to continuous processes or planned new ones from the start. “We are much in demand as a partner because our gravimetric and volumetric feeders guarantee the necessary feeding reliability and our software is robust enough to control/manage these processes”, Guido Obler emphasizes. Both factors are highly critical, especially when small quantities are involved. “Our high-precision load cells are also suitable for dietary supplements and spices, which only occur in minimal quantities in overall recipes or formulas.”
Continuous production is very popular in the food industry and is steadily gaining market share. Since ingredients do not need premixing, the often-laborious process of cleaning the large mixing vessels can be eliminated. “When switching from batch to continuous production, it is in our experience, absolutely critical that you get your employees on board. They have to radically change their way of thinking”, Klaus Plien explains. If they were previously “head chef” with the responsibility of a particular recipe or formula so to speak, they now have to operate an automated system – that means a different way of working. “We therefore recommend a mentored launch phase. The operators have to learn to understand the technology process which is a very important aspect of operating the system successfully.”
Specialist for the food industry
In the food sector all the equipment used in both processes must comply with strict “hygienic design” rules. The main issues here are smooth surfaces, ease of dismantling and prevention of cavities in equipment design. In this respect Brabender Technologie has a very broad portfolio. Its membership of the European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG) means that the company is always state-of-the-art, and it incorporates new development immediately into its product.
Product highlights for the food industry include the fruit feeder and the weigh belt feeder, which is currently being redesigned for the Anuga FoodTec and will be on display for the first time. “We at Brabender Technologie are more than happy to answer questions posed by the food industry and can provide valuable information to aid in decision-making. We have been partnering with food producers for many years and have a wealth of relevant experience.” Visitors will find Brabender Technologie at Anuga FoodTec in Cologne in Hall 4.2, Booth B010 from March 20 to 23.
Public Relations Manager
GmbH & Co. KG