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Industry - Blend Plants

For blend plants, creating products with precise ingredient balances is the key to meeting the expectations of consumers. As long as manufacturers have the technology to make blended mixes in bulk, consumers can trust their mixes are properly measured, and that their mix will taste the same, every time. A successful blend plant will take the necessary steps to achieve this feat while ensuring the safety of the facility's employees.

spices-baking-blend-plant

Common Challenges

Accurate Batching

Batching is an important part of making a successful blend. With a number of different products, in different size packages, manual batching can be near impossible. Batching has to be both consistent and accurate otherwise every version of a given mix will be different, leading to poor consumer experiences, and putting the success of your products in jeopardy.

Critical requirements related to hygiene and consumer safety

Working in the food industry means that contamination risks affect not just the end product, but potentially the consumer as well. Whether dosing or weighing, manufacturers must properly assess processes for contamination risks. These risks will differ from ingredient to ingredient.

Properly storing and isolating ingredients

Individually storing and isolating the ingredients from one another represents a critical challenge in the blend plant industry. Many facilities must handle different ingredients with different characteristics. The unique qualities for each ingredient of a blend will call for the materials to be properly stored and isolated.

Allergen cross-contamination concerns

Taking ingredient isolation even further, addressing allergen cross-contamination risks represents an added challenge for blend plants. For example, products made out of wheat flour will inherently contain gluten.

When handling material for a “gluten-free” product later with the same equipment that handled flour, washing out the equipment properly becomes critical. Companies that will advertise a gluten-free or non-GMO product have to be able to prove their systems can clean and protect against contamination effectively.

Minimizing Dust

Automation may offer additional benefits beyond the operational efficiencies, quality and track and trace benefits. For instance, while our quick research hasn't uncovered any instances where it has been clearly adjudicated in court, some suggest that a company's proactive dust control measures may offer some protection against workers' comp claims. 

OSHA, state agencies and trade associations often offer guidance on this matter. Compliance with those are table stakes. Still, companies can take further steps in efforts to not only help protect employee safety, but also protect the company should a claim arise. 

Investing in equipment and technologies is one way to aggressively manage the inhalation and health risks of airborne dust. It could be worth a conversation with insurance, safety and legal advisors for their opinion on how these investments benefit the safety of employees. As in any industry in the world of ingredient automation, it’s at least advisable for snack manufacturers to keep up with NFPA standards by performing a dust hazard analysis. Multiple case studies have focused on the severity and importance of maintaining dust control.

Operator Injuries

Injuries are a concern across any and all manufacturing industries. Workers’ compensation insurance claims introduce huge liabilities. Direct costs that follow injuries can include compliance penalties. Again, for blend plants, it could be worth a conversation with advisors to discuss how investing in fully automating the minor and micro handling of materials benefits the safety of employees.

Determining height limitations that influence system design

Different configurations can be made based on the height of a PVC manufacturer’s facility. Many possibilities are available for plants with capacity for a hundred-foot tower.

From AZO specifically, multiple linear AZO COMPONENTERs can be installed in a plant with these towers. Product can then be weighed and dropped into the mixer from a higher-end system. Docked bag dump stations that drop down and are accessed by an elevator can also be installed in these types of facilities.

Still, quality systems with bag dumps and COMPONENTER machines can also be designed when these manufacturers don’t have as much height in their facility. Knowing height limitations early on will help us, the equipment manufacturer, design an effective system for a PVC plant.

Blending

Outcomes & Benefits

A partner like AZO is made up of employees driven to discover solutions for our clients. AZO provides exceptional service in tandem with sophisticated handling systems that can:

  • Prevent cross-contamination
  • Maintain clean storage
  • Protect products and operators
  • Increase the traceability of raw materials and batches 
  • Aid bulk goods with poor flow qualities

Equipment & Engineering Solutions

AZO solutions are individually fit to our customer’s requirements and optimized for the most economical and flexible results. Silos, material handling and weighing equipment can be provided by AZO to work in tandem with mixer heater-coolers in a PVC dryblend operation. With direction and assistance from AZO, your PVC process can seamlessly fit together to introduce the right ingredients at the right time:

 

vacuum-weighing-system

AZO Vacuum Weighing System

For large and medium-sized components in powder form
shuttledos

AZO ShuttleDos®

For large and medium-sized components in powder form
ComponenterStep1-1

AZO COMPONENTER®

For medium-sized and small quantities in powder form.
dosibox

AZO DosiBox® and DOSINENTER®

For medium-sized and small quantities in powder form.
shuttledos

AZO ShuttleDos®

For medium-sized and small quantities in powder form
ComponenterStep1-1

AZO COMPONENTER®

For micro quantities.

Ready to learn more? Contact us today.