Often, the fundamentals for success in business life lie in the ability to adapt to a constantly changing marketplace. As a result, Industrial food producers often produce a large variety of SKU’s (stock keeping units). Not long ago, continuous mixers were perceived to not be suited for such production environments. To open the discussion on flexibility of a continuous mixer, flexibility has to be divided in (1) flexibility in relation to the viscosity and gluten network of the different product types and (2) flexibility in relation to the amount of recipe changes.
Viscosity and gluten network
Sobatech customizes its mixing tools to the desired energy input needed to develop the product properly. However, this does not mean that we cannot produce multiple product types on one and the same continuous mixer. The flexibility a batch mixer has with time, has a continuous mixer with speed. Sobatech can control the RPM of the contra rotating mixing tools to steer the desired product development. Besides speed, the continuous mixer can play, in a certain band width, with throughput. These two factors allow customers to run different recipes on one and the same continuous mixer.
Amount of recipe changes
The maximum amount of changeovers that are recommended per day strongly depend on how much the recipes differ from eachother. Sobatech has customers who automatically change their premix every 15 minutes. Solely changing the composition of the premix is what we call minor changeovers. Such recipe changes allow for the second dough type to simply push out the first dough type. This process can happen in automatic mode and is well suitable for a continuous production. Yet, there are also recipe changes in which color or allergens play a significant role. For such changeovers, Sobatech recommends to have runs of at least 4 hours per recipe.
Another part of the continuous flexibility is the location of the dosing inlets. In the Sobatech continuous mixers, it is possible to dose flexibly. If you need to dose certain inclusions (such as raisons, hazelnuts, chocolate chips) in a stress-free way into the dough, Sobatech can introduce them at a later stage in the mixing process. Why at a later stage? Well, it is the rheology of the dough, shape of the mixing tools and the forces that the inclusions can handle to keep them in their initial shape and size. Generally, Sobatech includes a stress-free part in the mixer tooling at the location where the inclusions enter the mixing chamber. Put differently, inclusions are blend into the mass by low shear force.
Sobatech’s continuous mixers offer a fully automated cleaning in place system. This automated process eases the cleaning procedure in between changeovers. Please check out the process here.
If you have any questions or uncertainties in regards to the flexibility of a continuous production process. Please contact us at email@example.com.