Due to the increasing market for convenient food products, the instant characteristics of food and beverages are gaining importance. This ‘instantizing’ technology applies for many products like instant cocoa, dry soups and the wide variety of products provided by vending machine. In most cases, original powders are not sufficient instant product. The powders may float or become jelly lumps in water/milk. The properties of the powdery products have to be optimized to achieve a better wettability and solubility.
Agglomeration is the solution to improve instant characteristics. By forming the porous agglomerates, the characteristics are optimized.
In order to produce a constant and reproducible product at high rate, continuous process would be preferable. The Flexomix continuous agglomeration process would be the most appropriate for the production of the porous agglomerates of the size between 200 and 1500 μm with raspberry structure.
Continuous agglomeration system by Flexomix requires the equipment shown in the flow diagram shown below. However, the actual process has to be designed on each application.
As the product made by Flexomix system is the porous agglomerate (raspberry structure), it shows high solubility. It is very applicable to the instant cocoa, instant soup, coffee, noodle soup, and daily product including the product for vending machine.
Various instant soups are available in every supermarket. Their quality is evaluated by the homogeneity and solubility in hot water. An additional requirement is gentle mixing of additives (dry vegetables and croutons) without damage.
The production capacity of instant soup is always batch-wise operation, because of wide variety in recipes. This requires easy and fast cleaning intervals and to preventing the equipment from cross-contamination of taste and smell.
The mixing process has to guarantee low energy consumption per kg product. In order to cover these tasks, visually acceptable quality and no damage of components in the mixture.
The system normally consists of two separate mixing processes. One is the intensive bulk mixing process (starch, salt, fat) and the other is the gentle post mixing process of the specific soup components (vegetables, tomato-powder, mushrooms, vermicelli, etc). The first intensive mixing process is executed in paddle mixer or plough shear mixer, the second gentle mixing process is typically carried out by Vrieco Nauta mixer.
Features of Vitomix
Modern technology covers both mixing processes; namely, Vitomix, thereby reducing cleaning time, intermediate storage, material handling, and improving product quality. The intensive mixing phase is conducted at high speed, but the post-mixing step is conducted at low speed to avoid the damage of the product. The mixer is equipped with a big door for cleaning and an Isem Ball segment valve for complete discharge.