FOOD & BEVERAGES

Process technologies for tomorrow.

PROCESSING SOLUTIONS FOR INSECTS

Insects such as larvae from black soldier flies, mealworms (molitor) and fruit flies are an interesting alternative source of high-quality animal-based (non-veg) protein. However, processing insects into protein powder can be challenging as they are heat sensitive and difficult to handle in wet feed. The Drymeister (DMR) flash drying system eliminates those drawbacks. Combining drying, milling and classifying in a single installation, the DMR enables you to take full advantage of the huge growth in the insect protein market in the Food & Feed industry.

Larvae from insects such as black soldier flies and mealworms have a high conversion rate. This means that they require relatively little feed to produce a relatively high amount of nutritious animal-based protein (or ‘non-veg protein’) powders and oil extracts. Moreover, larvae can be fed on waste streams from other production processes such as cattle and pig processing, vegetable processing and brewing. This makes them a very efficient and also sustainable alternative protein source for the global feed and food industry.

Processing insects into protein powder

A typical insect processing system:

Separator » Cooker » Screw press » Decanter » DMR flash mill dryer » Mixer

  • Separator: larvae are separated from frass (vibratory screen separator).
  • Cooker: Heat is applied for better shifting and to prevent bacteriological problems further on in the process.
  • Screw press: most of the free fluid (water & fat) is pressed out.
  • Decanter (3-phase): liquid phase is separated into 3 streams: water-phase, oil-phase and wet press cake (pulp).
  • DMR flash mill dryer: pulp is dried, milled and classified in one machine to produce insect-based protein powder with the desired characteristics (e.g. fineness).
  • Mixer: Batches of insect-based protein powders of differing qualities can be mixed together to achieve an end product with the desired quality level for the sales market.

Separation into water, oil and pulp

After the insects have been separated, cooked and strained, the liquid phase is decanted into the water phase, the oil phase and the wet press cake or 'pulp'. The oil phase can be further processed and purified for use as an animal feed additive or as a nutritious oil. The water phase ('stick water') can be thickened in an evaporator and mixed with the pulp as feed material for the DMR dryer system in order to produce protein powder.

Drying, milling and classification in one machine

Thanks to its unique design, the Drymeister (DMR) flash mill dryer enables the precise adjustment of a wide range of parameters – including the RPM of the mill disc and classifier wheel, the process airflow, the feed rate and the inlet and outlet temperatures – to carefully manage the exposure time inside the drying chamber. This maintains the optimal product temperature as the particles pass upwards from the mill disc at the bottom to the rotating classifying wheel at the top of the chamber. In the case of larvae, for example, it is important to ensure that the product temperature stays below 60 degrees.

The DMR is also available with various mill discs and liners to adjust the particle size and amount of shear. The Hosokawa Micron R&D team will help you to identify the right parameters for your specific application. Besides ensuring that the insect-based proteins retain their beneficial properties, this all-in-one process step can give you an important edge in terms of efficiency, return on investment (ROI) and sustainability.

Mixing

Nauta mixer

Insect farmers have to meet certain quality criteria with their products. However, the quality of insect harvests can fluctuate due to seasonal influences, for example, which means that each harvest can have a different size or nutritional quality. Hosokawa's batch mixing technology can be used to mix several batches of insects to achieve a consistent overall quality level.

Moreover, all our conical paddle mixers (CPM) and Nauta® mixers can be executed with a liquid injection system in order to add flavourings, colourings or oils during the mixing process.

Insect processing and sustainability

Our drying technologies are specially developed to maximize energy efficiency and throughput speeds while also minimizing downtime due to maintenance and cleaning. Moreover, our 'total solution' approach to the design of your complete production line, including the drying, milling and classification steps, optimizes your overall efficiency and reduces your footprint. As a result, Hosokawa Micron's DMR flash drying technology supports the shift to more sustainable production methods, in addition to helping companies tap into opportunities for producing high-quality insect-based proteins as part of their own contribution to feeding the world sustainably.

NEED HELP SETTING UP YOUR PROCESS?

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

Hosokawa Micron's experts in powder processing, drying and milling technology can provide suggestions and advice to help you take full advantage of the rapid growth in the use of alternative sources of insect-based proteins in the Food & Feed industry.

Our development and engineering team is always on hand to help you explore new and innovative processes and applications. Testing is the foundation for a successful product or process. Our test facilities in the Netherlands offer outstanding opportunities to test ingredients, machinery, parameters and process flows, whether in the laboratory, as a pilot set-up or on an industrial scale, to ensure you achieve the necessary product quality and operating efficiency to generate the maximum return on investment for your business.

We also have rental equipment available for batch drying.

Common insect-based protein challenges

If you’re interested in discussing the production challenges and opportunities related to processing insect-based proteins, please feel free to contact us at Hosokawa Micron. We can help you on a range of issues related to this fast-growing sector, including:

  • How to achieve the highest quality powders for better absorption and digestion
  • The best drying and milling techniques for insect-based proteins
  • The advantages of the unique DMR flash drying technology over traditional drying and milling methods
  • How to plan, design, test and improve your protein powder processing system

HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?

To learn more about our powder processing equipment and systems for insect-based proteins, contact us:

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