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Ingredient measurement without weighing

02 October 2016

S Moores produces up to 80 tonnes of granola every week. Introduction of ingredients into the blending and mixing process is controlled by counting the revolutions of the pump shaft, a shrewd strategy that has negated the need for the company to invest in a dedicated weighing assembly. 

S Moores, a family-owned Dorset-based business, has been at its current factory near Bridport for over 10 years. Until recently, it used batch-manufacturing techniques to produce  granola.  This required ingredients, such as vegetable oil and golden syrup to be weighed into a mixer. To help improve productivity, the company made the decision to replace this set up with continuous mixer technology. 

“The MasoSine SPS200 pump, which was previously deployed on our batch mixer, was transferred to the new continuous mixer with the addition of a speed control for accurate blending,” said David Winship, company partner at S Moores. “This allowed us to dose the warm oil-syrup blend into the mixer at the right rate. In effect, every revolution of the pump produces an identical volume of material. Hence, by controlling the speed, we can inject the precise amount of blend required.” 

In 2015, the company acquired two further MasoSine SPS200 pumps to serve a pair of heated (50°C) vessels – one for syrup and one for oil.  Both pumps are operated on a count down timer which, in conjunction with the speed control, gives the precise volumes required.
 
“If we need 30 litres of oil for a particular granola recipe, then we know that 170 revolutions of the pump shaft will deliver that quantity, and similarly with the syrup,” said Winship. “The oil and syrup travel a distance of 8m – including 2m of vertical lift – into a blender, which is then activated to mix a blend that is dispensed using our original pump into the continuous mixer at a given rate. This means that we now have a fully automated process without the need for any of the buckets, weighing scales and ladders associated with manual operations.”

High viscosity
The mixture of vegetable oil and golden syrup produces a substance with a viscosity in the region of 1000-2000 Cp. This blend is pumped into the continuous mixer at around 750 l/h, or 50l every two minutes. 

The sinusoidal rotor design of MasoSine SPS pumps delivers a low shear, gentle pumping action that safely transfers products without risk of degradation. 

“Originally we looked at progressive cavity pumps for this application, but they have wear parts and are a bit of a nuisance to clean,” said Winship. “In contrast, with the MasoSine SPS200 pumps, we simply take the front cover plate off and pressure wash, which we do once a week as part of our quality and hygiene control procedures. Other than that, the pumps are utilised heavily every day across a two-shift operation. Our original blend pump has been in place for five years and I think we have replaced the plastic gate once – and only as a preventative measure.”

Ultimately, the automated pumping operations are now helping S Moores to output between 70 and 80 tonnes of granola every week.

Mr Winship concludes: “I’m not sure how many other manufacturers are deploying MasoSine pumps in this manner, but to us it seemed that using them as a measuring tool was an obvious way to negate the need for a dedicated weighing assembly – and it works very well.”


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