California Gold Almonds see product purity increase
Almost 80% of the world’s almonds are produced in California, and they are the state’s top agricultural export. California Gold Almonds (CGA) must meet rigid food safety guidelines as it exports almost half of its total volume to a European customer base.
In order to do this, the company uses state-of-the-art operational procedures and equipment to harvest this popular crop. Helping CGA increase efficiency and maintain product purity are a series of Eriez electromagnetic feeders, metal separators and Rare Earth (RE) plate and tube magnets, which are installed at both of the company’s El Roya and Tenaya processing plants in Modesto, California.
“Eriez helps us stay in compliance with the USDA and FDA, and it is a key for our BRC certification,” said General Manager Mick Tobin. “The equipment gives us a cut above in the almond industry and a competitive advantage from a technological standpoint. It allows us to build more efficient processing lines, while reducing human touches of the almonds.”
At CGA’s 7800 m2 El Roya plant, two Model FF metal separators and several Rare Earth (RE) plate and tube magnets help detect and remove contamination from almonds destined for export. The Eriez equipment is installed on a main processing line conveying more than 9000 kg/h of almonds and a secondary line conveying 6800 kg/h.
Meanwhile, at the 3250 m2 Tenaya facility designed for confectionery-grade almond processing at the retail level, incoming raw almonds fall freely through a series of Eriez Model FF metal separators, which detect magnetic and non-magnetic metal contamination, even when embedded in the product.
Metal contaminants are then rejected through the ‘Quick Flap’ reject unit. Next, the 66C and 46C Hi-Vi electromagnetic feeders convey the precise amount of raw almonds — approximately 5500 kg/h — that pass through an optical sorting line and into the packaging process. The feeders feature a totally enclosed patented magnetic drive and can feed practically any bulk material from micron size to bulky chunks.
“We have the Eriez feeders and metal separators in strategic locations to help us monitor contamination and maintain accurate feed rates,” said Tobin. “I’ve been in the food processing business for more than 20 years and I’ve had a chance to see many different operations. I’ve been able to take my experience and Eriez technology to help maintain a highly efficient processing operation here at CGA.”
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