FOOD & BEVERAGES

Process technologies for tomorrow.

MIXERS FOR INSTANT SOUP INGREDIENTS

Instant soups were introduced on the market more than 60 years ago. Initially, the amount of choice was limited and recipes were simple (starch, salt, fat, colourings and flavourings). Since then, the world of instant soups has grown substantially. One important accelerator has been the improved quality and variety of ingredients that has managed to keep up with ever-changing consumer tastes and expectations.

Today, instant soups have healthy looking ingredients such as freeze-dried vegetables, croutons, vermicelli and mushrooms. These ingredients need to be visible and recognizable by the consumer, whilst producers also put valuable time and money into other requirements such as good flow properties (for effective processing in the factory) rapid, dust-free and lump-free solubility, and of course taste!

These improvements, combined with rising production costs, have led manufactures to scrutinize the production processes over the past decades. At Hosokawa Micron, we have followed these developments closely, and produced a mixing technology that is perfect for the manufacture of instant soup.

Homogeneous blending of instant soup ingredients

Challenges in mixing instant soup ingredients

The challenge in the mixing of instant soups lies with the complexity of the recipes. These vary greatly in terms of composition and properties, resulting in two different mixing phases. Conventionally, these are handled by two mixing processes: a ‘high shear’ and a ‘low shear’ step.

During the high shear mixing step the basic ingredients (powders) are mixed intensively with oil/fat, aromas and flavourings. In order to achieve a homogenous mixture and avoid build-up of agglomerates (lumps), a great deal of mixing energy is required. A conventional mixer used for this process would be a plough shear mixer, possibly fitted with choppers. The base mixture produced with this mixer would be fed to a low shear mixer.

In the second mixing step, the base mixture is further mixed with fragile ingredients such as leafy vegetables, mushrooms and croutons. Here it is important not to apply too much energy, and therefore use a low shear mixer. In many cases, a Nauta conical mixer is used here. It mixes accurately with minimum damage to the product and is used simultaneously as a live hopper for feeding the packaging line.

Vitomix: the smart solution

Hosokawa Micron's Vitomix mid-shear, ribbon screw blender, provides both functionalities in one machine, thereby reducing cleaning time, intermediate storage and logistics as well as improving quality of the end product. After all, that’s what it is all about: helping our customers improve their products.

During the mixing process, the product is liquefied by two conical ribbon screws. The integrated sprayers atomize the liquid directly onto the very rapidly moving product surface, which creates the perfect conditions for adding liquids, without the formation of agglomerates (lumps), and without making compromises on mixing speed. As a result, choppers in the mixer wall are unnecessary.

Interim storage has become superfluous; and cleaning and logistics are simpler and quicker because the same mixer can be used for mixing in the fragile ingredients with the same amount of care and accuracy. The conical vessel with central outlet guarantees a very high yield, batch after batch, often without the need to clean in between batches.

The mixer is equipped with a large ISEM ball segment valve (up to DN400) for complete discharge and can be fitted with a large water-cut, hinged access door for easy cleaning and inspection as well as CIP cleaning facilities.

Proven solution

The Vitomix mid-shear mixer is a proven solution for mixing food and food additives into a uniform and perfectly homogeneous base product, maintaining taste, and without damaging fragile ingredients. Intensive mixing is done at high speed, followed by a second, low-speed phase. The Vitomix is characterized by the fact that the necessary mixing energy can be easily adapted to the process without impairing the mixing quality.

Hygienic

The combination of two mixing steps in one installation avoids the need for intermediate storage or cleaning. The Vitomix can therefore increase the production capacity of a mixing line by 40%, while reducing energy consumption by 60%. The installation is suitable for the production of a variety of recipes. Thanks in part to the hygienic design – in accordance with EHEDG guidelines – the mixer can be cleaned quickly and easily when changing recipes.

Process lines

Hosokawa Micron can seamlessly integrate the Vitomix into existing process lines, but it can also be used in new processes. The introduction of new designs or changes to mixer lines or mixer types have an immediate effect on the overall design of a production line, including product flow, feed and discharge, the availability of staff and the physical space in the production facilities. This is why we recommend involving us from the very start. We can help you find the smartest, most cost-effective concept and best investment for the long term.

TESTING & PROCESS DEVELOPMENT

Test Centre in Doetinchem, the Netherlands Test Centre in Doetinchem, the Netherlands

Our test and process development centre in the Netherlands offers unique possibilities for testing your product to determine the most efficient process, system or plant prior to final design. We can provide laboratory-level as well as production-sized trials.

Whether you wish to test a single machine or a complete powder processing system, the same skilled and experienced staff are here to help ensure that your requirements are met, and that you are entirely satisfied with the results.

We offer process equipment and technologies from individual units to large scale bespoke system solutions. Our principle is to deliver high performance yet affordable solutions that meet our customers' demands and long term challenges.

HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?

To learn more about our processing equipment and systems for mixing instant soup ingredients, contact us:

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