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Airknives help clean-down times and increase production levels

04 October 2011

TasteTech Ltd, a specialist manufacturer of ‘controlled release’ flavourings and ingredients for applications in bakery, confectionery and chewing gum products, has recently increased production and cut machine clean-down times by employing ACI airknives in a novel way. The airknives are employed in a cooling/drying vessel for powered products that have been encapsulated in specially compounded waxes and fats.

Previously, after each product batch the vessel would have required scraping down followed by a cold rinse, a hot wash and then a cold rinse to ensure all product residue had been removed.

This cleaning process has been reduced significantly thanks to the elimination of the scraping down and the first cold rinse since the installation of two blower-powered airknives and two medium flow fans from Air Control Industries (ACI). The airknives were supplied with a heat exchanger.

The two ACI 1.3 metre long airknives are installed inside the cooling/drying vessel to create a barrier of air between the product and vessel wall. This air barrier prevents product adhering to the side wall, thereby reducing cleaning operations.

The fact that the air delivered by the ACI airknives is chilled also promotes good product flow. This is because, in conjunction with the two fans also supplied, which deliver and extract chilled air from an existing heat exchanger, they help to reduce the temperature of the wax/fat encapsulated product down to 4oC.

“The installation of the ACI airknives and fans has helped us increase our production levels and save time during the manufacturing cycles,” said Jason Ticktum, TasteTech’s factory manager. “ACI’s ability to incorporate a heat exchanger in the package and to facilitate the whole project for us has been a great benefit to TasteTech as a business.”

The airknives are supplied with air by an ACI 5.5kW fan from the EV range. The fan is housed outside the building in a weather-proof, acoustic enclosure and delivers air to the airknives via ducting and a heat exchanger, all supplied by ACI.

The inlet and outlet fans are also EV units with a 5.5kW rating.

TasteTech supplies dry and liquid products, offering both a standard product range plus the expertise to produce bespoke products which can be employed to enhance flavours, control flavour and ingredient release and extend shelf-life.

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