Sobatech beliefs in the power of having focus. By focusing on solely three parts of the entire production process, Sobatech became a worldwide specialist. The Sobatech continuous dough mixing systems are characterized by constantly delivering a consistent product quality. It has the ability to apply exceptional high shear forces during kneading. These points of differentiation are vital to many industries where energy has to be applied to raw materials in order to get a consistent dough quality. The continuous production process starts at the dosing of the seperate ingredients (continuous dosing). After that, energy is applied to the ingredients in order to equally distribute them over the complete mass (continuous kneading). Finally, Sobatech’s continuous bulk fermenation process allows the dough to rest and develop taste, aroma and consistency (continuous bulk fermentation).
Sobatech understands that dosing is essential for reaching the required product quality. We truly believe that if the various raw materials are not dispensed in the correct quantities to begin with, it will never be possible to produce a correct product. For that reason, the dosing of all solid & liquid ingredients is constantly monitored: the line stops and gives an alarm signal if a dosage (process value) deviates from the set value (the time and % of the deviation are adjustable).
A Sobatech continuous dosing system is unique in allowing dry ingredients to enter the complete mixing process at a very late stage and blending it extremely well into the mass with a remarkably even distribution. This enhances consistency and quality of the end-product.
Loss-in-Weight // Gain-in-Weight
Sobatech believes in the benefits of gravimetric dosing which is based on the loss-in-weight principle. Sobatech developed its own tailor made open source software to control the feeder-pumps and other hardware involved in the continuous dosing of the ingredients. This means that in Sobatech’s continuous mixing systems, there are no hidden programs, no protected passwords; everything can be open and accessible to the customer. An accurate flow of ingredients is ensured during both loss-in-weight situations (normal operation) as well as gain-in-weight (during refill of a gravimetric dosing hopper). Sobatech’s software system measures the flow of ingredients multiple times per second. Adjustments are made immediately, making it possible to achieve an extremely consistent dough quality.
Sobatech’s software to control the feeder pump and other dosing hardware ensures a continuous and accurate flow of both dry ingredients as well as liquid ingredients of low, middle & high viscosity. Measurement equipment such as magnetic and Coriolis flow meters are used to regulate the correct quantity of liquid ingredients entering the continuous mixing system.
A continuous mixing system by Sobatech uses a 2-phase process for mixing the ingredients into a consistent and homogeneous mass. As soon as all ingredients are evenly and accurately distributed over the complete mass (phase 1), the development takes place (phase 2). This is done in a controlled and extremely precise way during kneading. Production volumes range from 50 kg/hour to over 10,000 kg/hour. This can be accomplished in an almost employee free operational environment resulting in significant (labor) cost savings.
Phase 1: Sobatech’s homogenizer
Both phase 1 mixing (the homogenizer) and phase 2 mixing (the continuous kneader) are based on the first-in / first-out principle. The homogenizer phase guarantees a high level of water absorption and therefore more moisture in the final product. In this phase the ingredients are mixed non-mechanically, resulting in a 100% homogeneous and consistent flow of mass. The excellent mixing characteristics of this first stage ensures, via a medium pressurized water injection system, a perfect hydration of the flour. Besides that, it ensures a very substantial and homogeneous distribution of the active substances.
Blending minor ingredients through a batch of about 100 kg is much more challenging than blending it through a 1kg mass (going through the Sobatech homogenizer).
Phase 2: Sobatech’s continuous mixer
The innovative tools of the continuous dough mixer (phase 2 mixing), are responsible for the controlled flow of mass throughout the mixer. The combination of a relative small amount of mass in the mixing chamber with a relatively high volume of tooling, result in a remarkable high energy efficiency. A large part of the energy developed by the mixer tooling is put into the mass.
The continuous mixing tools handle the raw materials gently and efficiently. Sensitive ingredients such as fruit, flakes or similar elements can be introduced without degrading. Consequently, the continuous mixer can handle a wide variety of applications such as fine solids, cereals, meringue masses, muesli etc. so that it delivers nearly all fresh or extended-shelf-life baked goods.
The Sobatech continuous mixing system is a closed system. This means that there is no pollution from outside of the machine, making it easier to deal with ATEX rules. Cleaning the dough mixer area is also much easier because there is less dust in the machine area.
There are double safety switches mounted in the top covers to ensure that the tools stop turning immediately after opening. Also, a signal is given to the PLC so that part of the line stops normally. Lastly, a sound signal goes off to warn the operator.
Less energy loss..
Sobatech’s continuous mixing system is able to carry out the mixing process in defined and controlled steps. The excellent mixing and kneading characteristics of the second stage ensures perfectly controlled energy input into the dough. This means there is less energy loss in a continuous dough mixer compared to a batch mixer. The “time to peak” point is reached faster.
CONTINUOUS BULK FERMENTATION
The preparation of many foods require a resting time for the development of taste, consistency, aroma etc. Time is a key factor within this continuous bulk fermentation process. Besides time, also ensuring each part of the mass is exposed to the same environmental conditions is of great importance in end-product quality and consistency.
Temperature, time and humidity controlled
At the outlet of the continuous mixer, there is a vertical belt to bring the dough into the tube. The fermentation time can be controlled by adjusting the screw speed in that tube. The set point of the speed is included in the final recipe. At the output of the tube, there is a divider that takes out the dough. The tube has a double jacket to stabilize the dough temperature. It is also possible to control the humidity in the tube. Combining time with an equal and controlled exposure to the right proofing conditions are the vital features of a Sobatech continuous bulk fermenter. Sobatech’s system control software allows to easily monitor and modify the temperature, humidity and speed of the continuous fermenter.