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Powder Processor Meets Growing Demand

September 7, 2012
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Milk Specialties Global Food Solutions, Eden Prairie, MN, wanted to keep pace with growing worldwide demand for whey protein powders, which are milk byproducts added to a wide variety of food products to enhance nutritional value. Annual production of whey protein in the U.S. alone is expected to exceed 215 metric tons by 2015, nearly double the production in 2005. The company’s desire to increase its share of this market drove the purchase of a 90,000-sq-ft Fond du Lac, WI, plant in 2010. Unfortunately, the plant’s existing bagging and filling operation was slow, inefficient, and inaccurate, creating fugitive dust that was costly both in terms of product loss and cleaning expense.
    To remedy that, the company ordered a USDA/3A-compliant BFW series open-mouth bagger with bottom-up filler from Premier Tech Chronos, headquartered in Rivière-du-Loup, QC, Canada. Premier Tech equipment was chosen, recalls plant manager Todd Spykstra, for “accuracy and no product loss,” and “absolutely” for its ability to control fugitive dust.

Dust Down, Accuracy Up
Fugitive dust and resulting product loss are now a thing of the past, eliminated because the bottom-up filler controls material flow into a bag via a custom-designed vertical screw feeder positioned below a dosing hopper, explains Premier Tech sales manager Greg Vander Vorste. Unlike the previous filler that created dust by dropping material into a bag, Premier Tech’s system fills the bag from the bottom to the top, thereby preventing material from escaping.
    That’s not the only advantage of the new equipment. The hopper ensures that material is consistently applied to the vertical screw’s inlet, creating dependable material flow that reduces the chance of line shutdown. Dependable flow is additionally ensured by the hopper’s agitator, whose proprietary design prevents material from bridging. Accurate weighing to within +/- 15 g is the result. And the fact that this platform can be upgraded from semiautomatic to fully automatic provides the opportunity to create a bagging system that meets the customer’s current and future needs.

Easier, Cheaper Operation
In addition to remedying product loss, cleaning costs have been significantly reduced, as has manpower needed for bagging and filling. Only one operator is needed, to place the bag on the filling spout, verify that the top of the bag is positioned correctly within the bag closer, and press a foot pedal that starts the bottom-up filler. Safety is built in, thanks to a beam of light that detects the presence of the operator’s body within the “danger zone” and prohibits the equipment from filling until the zone is clear.

Challenge Met
“The biggest challenge on this project was an existing line and the need to integrate the new equipment into it without causing production delay,” said Vander Vorste.” This was no small challenge, given that bagging operates 24/7.
    “The line after the bagger [was installed] was running at full capacity the next day [after installation],” said Spykstra. The plant now produces twice as many bags per minute of whey protein powders as before, with less manpower and at reduced cost, helping Milk Specialties Global Food Solutions meet the growing demand for its product.
    For more information on Premier Tech Chronos, visit www.ptchronos.com or call 866-274-1287.

Premier Tech Chronos