Processing pretzels with precise seasoning
Pretzels are one of the fastest growing segment in the savoury snacks category in Egypt, and it is expected to achieve a CAGR of 5.8% during 2016–2020. To maximise the opportunities in this flourishing sector, Egyptian snack manufacturer Future Foods decided to invest in delivering a high-quality pretzel snack range.
Future Foods required equipment to optimise seasoning application, capitalise on packaging efficiency and minimise waste to ensure the successful launch of its new pretzel range. Collaborating with tna to install a seasoning, processing and packaging line has helped the company achieve 100% productivity at high speeds of up to 165 bags per minute (BPM).
Precise seasoning control
Gaining consumer acceptance at the very first bite is vital when launching any new product. Future Foods needed to feel confident that its new product range would meet consumer expectations to ensure repeat purchase and gain a foothold in the market. In addition, application accuracy was a key consideration for the snack manufacturer. Applying an incorrect level of seasoning can have a significant impact on both input costs in terms of raw materials and wastage costs from rejected products that are either over- or under-seasoned.
Opting for seasoning technology featuring a responsive variable mass seasoning mechanism with dynamic vibratory weigher, the tna intelli-flav OMS 5, Future Foods can precisely control seasoning application within the drum. This enables an accurate, proportional amount of seasoning to be evenly applied to the product for consistent coverage and flavour dispersion, meeting the need for a high-quality, evenly seasoned end product.
George Soussou, Vice-Chairman & Operations Director at Future Foods, commented: “As we produce a delicate product that is new to the market, we had to make sure we deliver a consistently seasoned, great tasting product to appeal to the consumer. tna helped us efficiently spray our seasoning powders with zero waste. This is ultimately why our snacks taste better than those of the competition. With the new seasoning system our powder consumption never exceeds 5%.”
Further performance benefits are achieved through the enhanced position of the scarfplate on the tna intelli-flav OMS 5 infeed. Mounted to the edge of the drum, the scarf better directs the product into the spraying and flavouring area, providing an even amount of seasoning on each pretzel. Additionally, the scalloped infeed conveyor design allows more product to enter the seasoning drum, while also helping to control product direction for greater seasoning accuracy and reduced waste. This helped Future Foods achieve cost savings and increase profitability.
Smooth product transfer
When it came to choosing a distribution system for the new range, minimising product breakage and ease of cleaning were critical factors. From the start, Future Foods knew reducing the risk of potential product damage or loss of flavour was key for success. For this reason, the company opted for equipment that aided a gentle transfer.
The chosen distribution system, the tna roflo HM 3 horizontal motion conveyor, ensures a smooth product transfer through the line, while keeping product damages to a minimum, as there is no vertical lifting or bouncing of the product and no flavour build-up in the pan.
Unlike traditional conveyors that use mechanical gates, the patented ‘true’ gateless design of the tna roflo HM 3 helps protect the pretzels from damage with servo controlled ‘virtual gates’ that simply open up a gap between the pans where the product is discharged. The risk of any potential damage to the product is significantly reduced and practically eliminates any loss of flavour. With the installation of several tna systems, including the tna roflo HM 3 and tna intelli-flav OMS 5, breakage level from seasoning to packaging is less than 0.5%.
tna’s roflo conveyors also offer significant maintenance benefits due to their overall mechanical simplicity, resulting in greater equipment reliability and therefore lower total cost of ownership over the lifespan of the system. The tna roflo HM is claimed to be the only conveyor in the world that uses a single linear servo motor. One of the main benefits of this design is that there is almost zero maintenance as there are no big drives, shafts, belts or pulleys.
High-speed, efficient packaging
Offering a new range of pretzels in 16, 35 and 100 g pillow-style bags, Future Foods was looking for a system that would deliver consistently high speeds. Beyond this, quick changeovers to maximise throughput and reduce downtime were also a necessity.
With the installation of two tna robag FX 3ci vertical form, fill and seal (VFFS) packaging systems, the production line offers flexibility and improved performance in a compact, easy-to-clean set-up. With their rotary double jaws, the new baggers were quickly able to deliver speeds of up to 165 BPM, while quick-release formers ensure that Future Foods is able to change between bag sizes in less than three minutes.
Soussou added: “The new packaging systems are very reliable, achieving 100% productivity at very high speeds. What’s more, with less than 1% film waste, we’re able to achieve significant cost savings. Adding to that, the user-friendliness of the machine and the ease of changeover between bag sizes keeps downtime to a minimum, further increasing our production efficiencies.
“It’s not just the products tna offers. The tna team was always on hand to support and train our team members throughout the entire commissioning, installation and start-up phase. That way, tna ensured that our new equipment always operates at its maximum level of performance. For us, tna is much more than just a supplier, as a true partner, its turnkey solutions make production line equipment virtually carefree and put any company on the road to success.”
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