A large coffee capsule production plant located in the US processes thousands of pounds of coffee each day. It needed replacing of its valves for silos that could provide better gas-tight seals, as well as greater integrated nitrogen purge capability to prevent O2 product exposure.
The company contacted Basecamp Process Components (BPC), an American supplier of knife gate and pinch valves for the past 20 years located in Plain City, OH. BPC provided a complete flow control solution integrating stainless steel CMO slide gate valves, active bin bottoms, and nitrogen purge systems, ensuring proper product flow without de-classification, as well as preserving the ground coffee in a 99% nitrogen and inert gas environment (this preservation process inhibits oxidation and makes for a better tasting end-product for consumers).
The Pain Point
After coffee grinding, ground coffee is stored in numerous “degas silos” to allow several hours of “off-gassing” to occur. This “degassing” allows carbon dioxide to slowly release from within the roasted coffee structure. This way packages and capsules don’t over pressurize and rupture seals during storage and transit.
This “degassing” process takes several hours inside a storage silo and it is always best to keep the enemy—oxygen—away from the freshly ground coffee. To do this, plant engineers use gas-tight silos where they carefully bleed nitrogen into the bins to keep the oxygen out and let this degassing process take place. These “degassing bins” are periodically flushed with fresh nitrogen, pushing out the heavier carbon dioxide gasses, while preventing oxygen from entering and staling the coffee.
Plant engineers, working with BPC’s recommendation, chose CMO slide gate valves to open and close the silos, both at the top for intake and bottom for discharge. These CMO F Series valves are designed with superior seals and longevity in mind. They are made from a single-piece 304 or 316 stainless steel cast body with guides to support the slide gate and seat seals, providing full open, unrestricted discharge of the sticky ground coffee when needed. Alternatively, when closed, the valves are full sealed shutoff and are offered with optional nitrogen gas purge as well.
When mated with the active bin bottom and full sealed bins, this solution makes for a clean and efficient coffee degassing environment. Coffee holding times are consistent--in the 2–6-hour range--, coffee freshness is preserved, and there is no need for operators move heavy totes to constantly satisfy hungry packaging machines. The entire system is fully automated to make life easy for operators and maintenance workers, as well as data-hungry production managers.
The CMO slide gate valves have been running day-in and day-out for three years. Not a single issue has arisen, with fully gas-tight sealing inside the silos. Plant managers intend to replace more valves elsewhere in the facility with additional CMO valves.
For more information, contact Basecamp Process Components at 614-873-8995 or visit bpcvalves.com.