Minimizing risks during the processing of such sensitive foodstuffs requires a high level of hygiene – whether for milk or liquids containing milk, cream, raw fruit juices, vegan soy drinks, liquid egg, sugar-free lemonades. A gateway for bacteria, yeasts and fungal spores can be silos and tanks where liquid foods are temporarily stored prior to further processing or filling. One potential source of contamination is impure air that enters the tanks through open vents, for example.
The TPU 500 tank overpressure system effectively and permanently keeps germs and harmful particles away from the valuable liquid goods. The hygienic air quality thus created avoids rejects, protects products from spoilage and the health of consumers. It ensures high product quality and long shelf life. The latter is particularly important when liquid foods are pasteurized or subjected to complex further processing, such as fresh milk to yogurt, quark and cheese or liquid egg to baked goods and convenience products.
Freudenberg Filtration Technologies offers food manufacturing and processing companies a wide range of filtration materials and filter models in liquid and air filtration and dust removal technology. This is complemented by comprehensive consulting and services right through to engineering system solutions. The new TPU 500 tank overpressure system – the abbreviation TPU stands for Tank Pressure Unit – is one of these latter complete systems from a single source.
Contamination-free air blanket forms safety corridor
Its basic principle is as simple as it is sophisticated in detail. The TPU 500 system creates an air blanket free of bacteria, yeasts and molds above the liquid raw, intermediate and end products. A slight overpressure in this air blanket ensures that no impure outside air comes into contact with the food – even when emptying the tanks and silos. Incidentally, Freudenberg’s hygiene protection system works just as reliably in filling plants in the beverage and food industries.
The man-sized modular design consists of fully welded stainless steel housing sections connected with locking latches; each system can be customized to meet specific on-site specifications and requirements. The modularity allows for easy and safe replacement of air filters. The continuous volume flow of the system regulates itself fully automatically. The TPU 500 unit continuously monitors the pressure development and indicates necessary filter changes to operators in good time – for optimized production processes and results in food manufacturing.
Two filter stages for controlled air quality
Speaking of filters. At the heart of the system is the Group’s filter technology, which has been tried and tested in the food and beverage industry. Two filter stages consisting of reliable prefilters and high-separation final filters produce the hygienic air quality. The exact filter configuration varies depending on the application and local conditions. All the filter series in question are microbiologically inactive and harmless in contact with foodstuffs. They meet the relevant food conformity standards and comply with the relevant recommendations of the European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG doc. 47).
(Organic) Food: Fewer Losses through Sensory Detection
In the future, it should be possible to monitor and assure the quality of (organic) food along the value chain more quickly and efficiently than before. To this end, new sensory detection methods are being developed that will help to reduce food losses. From harvesting to logistics and storage to processing or the way to retail, methods are to be provided with which food can be planned, distributed and further processed in the best possible way, taking into account individual quality characteristics. They are being developed in the joint project “SHIELD – Safe domestic (organic) food through sensory detection methods”, which is being funded by the Bavarian Research Foundation with €1.2 million. Coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV, this digital transformation of analytics, sensor technology and detection in food quality management will start on July 1, 2021.
Together with scientific institutions and application partners, fundamental concepts are being developed that also involve monitoring and control authorities such as the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety. The proportion of organically farmed land in Bavaria has been rising steadily since 1994 and is to be increased to 30% of agricultural land by 2030 through the BioRegio 2030 program. At the EU level, moreover, the area to be farmed organically will be expanded to 25% from 2023 under the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Farm-to-Fork strategy. “Strengthening quality and safety across organic value chains is therefore also of great importance for the competition of the Bavarian organic sector. In order to reduce the need to sort out food raw materials that are damaged or unsuitable for human consumption, we need simple and reliably manageable processes that can be used to analyze raw materials as soon as they are received,” explains Prof. Dr. Andrea Büttner, Executive Director of the Fraunhofer IVV and joint spokesperson for the SHIELD project.
Handheld devices and smart software facilitate planning
Sensory detection methods should make it easier to generate quality forecasts and optimize logistics chains in order to address the actual needs of the food industry and consumers. By accurately determining the (organic) raw material quality for processing or delivery to retail, food losses can be significantly reduced.
“Among other things, we are combining sensor technologies, optical methods and smart algorithms to develop handheld devices and smart software that can be used in small-scale operations. In addition, detection methods for the authenticity of both raw materials and produced foods are being established.”
– Dr. Susann Vierbauch of the Fraunhofer IVV
At the Chair of Aroma and Odor Research at the Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), marker substances are defined from authentic sample material for quality determination. These form the basis for the development of rapid methods for incoming goods. The Fraunhofer IVV, the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Microsystems and Solid State Technologies EMFT and the Chair of Analytical Food Chemistry at the Technical University of Munich are responsible for the evaluation. Profiling methods are being developed at the Chair of Food Chemistry at FAU in order to be able to systematically detect unexpected problems.
In addition to recording the quality and safety of the delivered raw materials, the rapid and profiling methods are also used to determine the authenticity of the raw materials. During the project, the rapid methods will be continuously compared with further findings and validated in practice at the industrial partners. These findings are incorporated into a data platform that is used for combinatorial analysis and correlation of the measurement results.
Digital incoming goods and online logistics
The evaluated low-cost sensors, which are used on site by the industry partners during goods receipt as a quick method as well as during storage, provide valuable data on the quality, safety and authenticity of the raw goods. Thus, the digitization of incoming goods via NIR and optical methods generates an enormous amount of information, e.g., about shape, color, size and texture. This information enables reliable shelf life predictions through pattern recognition and thus improves logistics and formulation during processing. At the Chair of Machine Learning and Data Analytics at FAU, methods and models for shelf life and sales forecasts are being developed for this purpose.
This takes into account the fact that product-specific knowledge can be integrated into the forecasts. In this way, seasonal fluctuations in sales can be taken into account. Based on this, mathematical optimization models are provided at the Chair of Business Mathematics to support the formulation process. These automatically generate suggestions for forward-looking, sustainable production planning. An online approach ensures that logistics and production are always in an optimal state through constant reoptimization when new information arrives.
As part of the project, a needs analysis is being carried out and knowledge transfer established at the Technical University of Nuremberg at the Neumarkt i.d.Opf. site in the research area of management in the organic sector. The aim is, in addition to recording the overall situation in the organic sector, to define the specific challenges and implement the findings from the SHIELD project. In addition, these are then to be transferred to other related product levels.
Because of the dust which arises when products are created, grinding places particularly high demands on the technology used. The design of a grinding plant with regard to safety, for both machines and their operators. The pressure shock resistant design of the complete grinding system up to an explosion overpressure of 10 bar(g) is the most frequently used version, which, however, is associated with a high level of equipment and corresponding space requirements.
Thanks to the ATEX-compliant Condux® Compact plant concept, the installation of a high performance grinding plant for numerous products is now much easier, since explosion protection valves or explosion suppression devices, explosion isolators, fans and even conventional dust filter systems are no longer required with the newly developed plant concept.
The idea of a compact grinding system is not new but existing solutions show significant disadvantages when it comes to cleaning efforts and hygienic design. NETZSCH has therefore improved the decisive points of its concept once again: The footprint or space requirement of the compact plant is 80 % less than that of comparable standard grinding plants with the same throughput capacities. This also has an effect on the investment costs, which are approximately 30 % lower. By using the newly developed CycloFil cyclone filter in the system, the integrated pre-separation of the grinding stock and the recirculation of the process gas allow a filter area that is over 90 % smaller than that of comparable mill sizes. With CycloFil, the degree of separation can be adapted to the operator’s requirements by means of exchangeable immersion tubes.
These features of the new system result in various advantages. For example, the grinding system can be easily integrated into existing production systems thanks to the minimal space requirement, and the necessary cleaning when changing products is extremely quick thanks to easy access to the parts in contact with the product.
The well-proven Impact Mill Condux® is the basis machine of this grinding system. The products are ground within this mill mainly by impact and shearing action. For use with a wide variety of products and final finenesses, this machine is available in various executions, as either a blast mill, pin-disc mill or wing-beater mill.Press release – NETZSCH Grinding & Dispersing In contrast to conventional grinding plants, the processing gas in the streams in a circular motion. The product is fed directly to the mill via a pressureshock-resistant rotary valve and discharged after the grinding process via a separator with air lock. Parallel to this, the additional rinsing air fed through the valves and mill bearing is continuously discharged through the CycloFil to prevent a build-up of pressure. A subsequent aspiration system generates the vacuum needed to stabilise the system pressure.
Thanks to the innovative CycloFil cyclone filter, the supplied energy is dissipated via the product and the system surface, so that no additional cooling is required. The warmth produced by the grinding process is mainly compensated along with the product when it leaves the machine and to a smaller extent by the system surface, and is therefore throughput dependent.
The expected temperature increase, for e.g. of ground powdered sugar (d90 = 100 μm) is normally in the range of ∆T = 10-25°C. For a large range of products the warming has no influence on the quality or the downstream process. For the grinding of particularly temperature-sensitive products, the system can be additionally cooled with liquid nitrogen. Especially the degree of innovation of the System was confirmed recently by the Fi Europe Innovation Award jury, who awarded the fine impact mill Condux® Compact as the winner of the Food Tech Innovation Award for the most innovative technical processing solution for food ingredients.
New naturally colored capsules without e-number
The new portfolio of ACGcaps™ NTone includes multiple coloured capsules with no e-number. The aesthetically appealing colour solutions include Ocean Blue, Sunny Yellow, Desert Brown, Purple Pure Carrot, and Red Pure Radish. The colours used are safe and non-toxic, do not contain any artificial ingredients, and there is no change to product shelf life when compared to synthetic-coloured capsules. This new range creates the perfect opportunity for formulating clean label products.
“Consumer preference has shifted, and there is an increasing need for products with recognisable and simple ingredients. We anticipate real interest in these naturally coloured capsules, particularly for nutraceutical formulations, such as dietary supplements. Customers can fill them with powders, pellets, or granules.”
– Selwyn Noronha, CEO of ACG Capsules
The portfolio includes a range of capsules that are free of titanium dioxide and are available in different options for gelatin and HPMC range.
Selwyn Noronha further explains, “As part of our unwavering commitment towards product quality and safety, we have worked tirelessly to deliver a new capsule to meet consumer demands for clean products. We are determined to deliver products that are of superior quality while meeting consumers’ varying needs. ACGcaps™ TSafe and ACGcaps™ NTone are available in options that have been Halal, Kosher, Vegetarian society, non-GMO and preservative-free certified.”