The interest in continuous mixing and kneading is growing rapidly as food manufacturers seek new ways to increase throughput and product quality while keeping operational costs down. Therefore, it is more than ever important to closely compare the mixing technologies available. In order to determine which mixing technique suits which production process best, Sobatech made a decision roadmap that defines a variety of decision factors.
1. THROUGHPUT (kg/hr)
The first primary decision factor is throughput (kg/hr). The question you simply have to ask yourself is what is the required throughput in kg per hour is. As the operation grows there comes a point where batch mixing becomes uneconomical. As throughput requirement increase, the easier it is to justify a fully automated mixing technology like continuous dough mixing. For the decision roadmap, we set this limit at 500 kg/hr.
2. REQUIRED PRODUCT FLEXIBILITY
The second primary decision factor is the required product flexibility. What we mean with the required product flexibility is the amount of different volumes and products that need to be run on one and the same mixing system.
Minor recipe changeovers where the second dough type can simply push out the first dough type are very well suited for a continuous mixing system. The automated dosing systems allow recipes to be changed at the push of a button; changing between such recipes can be done without stopping the line.
For major recipe changeover, where a complete washdown is required, it is recommended to run, on a continuous mixing system, for at least a few hours before changing to the next recipe.
Answering the two primary decision factors results in 4 different production profiles. Two of these profiles clearly point in the direction of either batch ór continuous mixing. In two of these four profiles batch and continuous mixing do not compete/overlap as the value of either batch or continuous are in these cases so strong that there is simply no other choice than to choose for one of the two mixing techniques.
Then, we have the remaining two production profiles (that result from this roadmap) and in these operations both mixing techniques slightly overlap. This means that in these profiles, both mixing technologies need to be well considered. In that case we ask manufactureres to analyze the secondary decision factors which are:
- Required product quality consistency
- Preferred level of automation
- Required kneading intensity
Please request the complete batch vs. continuous decision roadmap below.