Grinding and packaging: Technology for easy cleaning and minimal fines
SaltWorks® is a sea and mineral salt company located in Woodinville, Washington producing a range of specialty salts for wholesale customers, private label, and direct to consumers. They produce custom order salts with varieties like Himalayan pink, red Hawaiian, Mediterranean black, Andres Mountain, Balinese, Mexican, French, and others; and offer grind sizes ranging from extra coarse, to medium, extra fine, and powder. What makes SaltWorks unique is their infrastructure that applies advanced process technologies such as light sorting, specialty grinding and packaging to their gourmet salts.
SaltWorks reached out to MPE because their previous grinder was not doing a great job at grinding to the desired grain size. The yields might contain up to 25 percent fines by weight, which would mean more product was used than necessary to fulfill the order.
While excess fines were still valuable for use in other products, they basically had to be processed a second time, which was not ideal in terms of production efficiency. The company wanted to achieve a significantly lower fines rate and give managers repeatable accuracy as they move from one order to the next, something which other competing grinding technologies could not be relied upon.
Switching between salts also requires cleaning the inside of the grinder to ensure batch purity and integrity. However, cleaning the old grinder was a laborious and time-consuming process. They wanted a grinder that could be wet-washed and corrosion resistant by design for quick transitioning between varieties.
"SaltWorks maintains the highest salt purity standards and the ability to sterilize the grinder without having to hand dry between batches was a huge factor for us moving forward with the MPE Graun-U-Lizer," says Colin Mclane, Engineering Manager, SaltWorks.
MPE engineers set out on delivering an industrial grinder that would solve all of SaltWorks" needs.
MPE built a custom IMD 79 Gran-U-Lizer for SaltWorks (model IMD79) with two roller stages, affording an ideal amount of control and particle size reduction precision. The programmable logic controller (PLC) allows operators to electronically adjust the roll gaps for nimble transitioning between orders of varying grain sizes—with repeatable accuracy. Additionally the IMD79"s four rolls are stainless steel and can be quickly wet-washed as part of SaltWorks" CIP system.
SaltWorks production managers are now experiencing a fines rate of only two to three percent and plant managers have never been happier when it comes to their new cleaning process. MPE Gran-U-Lizers achieve on-target yields because of 60 years of R&D behind their roll corrugation designs and roll speed ratios, which cut and sheer particles down to size and not crush them like other grinders that produce the fines SaltWorks wanted to avoid.
"Before our IMD 79, certain grain sizes weren"t economical to produce due to the high rate of fines produced. Now we"re able to comfortably manufacture most sizes," states Maclane.
As SaltWorks and many other food processing producers continue to push the limits of their industrial food grinding equipment for particle size reduction, MPE offers the most robust and fines-reducing solutions for all applications; ranging from powders, desiccants, candies, peanuts, spices, to tea and coffee. MPE also produces the leading tubular drag conveyor (Chain-Vey®) and custom process system designs from simple upgrades all the way to greenfield projects.
SaltWorks products can be found on their company website www.seasalt.com and Modern Process Equipment offers a full grinding equipment catalog and application specific information on its mobile-friendly site at www.mpechicago.com/size-reduction-machines.
by Andrew Huynh, Sales Engineer, MPE (Modern Processing Equipment Corporation), USA