Single ingredient dosing at an Infant Formula Plant

Single ingredient dosing at an Infant formula plant

The introduction of microbiome in the Infant Nutrition recipes have allowed the industry to propose an even closer alternative to breast feeding which is the most adequate nutrition for infants. Formulating “Live bacteria” (probiotics, prebiotics, etc.) cannot be approached like any other ingredients. As this ingredient is live, it must be cared for: stored in cold storage before being used, Probiotics are traditionally handled via glove boxes where the product is contained to prevent its dissemination in the environment and being in contact with the operator or contaminating the environment. Typically, glove box will be connected to a LIW feeder that will meter the product to be dispensed to the process.

Hygiene requirements in the infant nutrition industry required that all equipment are regularly cleaned. Cleaning of a glove box is a time consuming task, especially when wet cleaning is forbidden. It is also to be noted that cleaning a LIW feeder is a rather complex task where components have to be dismounted to be able to clean them. This means that the risk of disseminating the probiotic during the cleaning operation is quite substantial.

The SoliValve® system is an ideal equipment for probiotic dosing. First and foremost, SoliValve®100 is a containment device. Tested according to SMEPAC (Standardised Measurement of Equipment Particulate Airborne Concentration) have showed that containment levels achieved are below 1µg/m³, ensuring clean working environment without unnecessary protecting enclosures. Secondly, the SoliValve® is a true metering device. By varying the annular opening between the cone and the wall of the storage container, mass flow can adjusted to meet target. Cone height is adjustable to a 0.1 mm accurate position, ensuring a very precise and controlled fine feed. Couple with a suitable weighing equipment, the SoliValve® is able to repeatedly dose to an accuracy of ± 1g.

Traditional dosing system (screw/belt/rotary) must compromise between dosing time and accuracy. The more accurate you need to be, the smaller is the screw. The smaller is the screw, the longer is the dosing time.

In modern production plant, agile is key. Investment must cater for product evolution, sometimes product revolution.

With the SoliValve®, agile is not a vain word. Typical max discharge rate achieved by the SoliValve® are around 3TPH, this is when the cone is opened to 60 mm. Reducing the cone down, will strangle flow rate to a very low output. For this reason, SoliValve® is designed to dose 50g or 10’000g in almost the same amount of time without any mechanical change.

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