Air movement in food processing
posted by: Axair
With growing pressures to address environmental issues, new packaging techniques and heightened competition, there is added pressure on operations teams to implement the most efficient and cost effective method of manufacturing at every stage in the production line.
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Like many industries, the food processing industry involves a huge array of procedures connected to the final end product. Developing raw materials into a finished product ready to be shipped is a challenging part of manufacturing where the highest standards of food hygiene must be adopted. The components within the manufacturing equipment are not to be overlooked. Without this integral machinery, the food processing industry would not achieve the efficiencies it does now.
Air movement is required during many of the processes in food manufacture, meaning industrial fans are used across a whole host of machinery. Stainless steel variations are favoured due to their hygienic and easy to clean material composition. Special coatings for perfect cleaning may also be requested where required. Each application will have its own set of specifications in the design of the full manufacturing system.
Here are some of the key processes that rely on the continuous duty of industrial fans to manufacture many of the foods we consume today.
Bread, cereal & grain production
Among many other materials, flour and starch are combustible materials. Therefore industrial fans used in this type of food processing need to be ATEX compliant. This ensures that the fan is able to handle the combustible material and reduce the risk of explosion. Within many manufacturing units, a pneumatic conveyor utilising a stream of clean air, is used to transport raw materials such as grains, sugar, flour and granular materials. They can also be used to transport small packaged goods such as crisp packets. High pressure fans are often used to hold receptacles firmly to a conveyor belt during the filling process. In addition, storage areas require humidity and temperature control and at the end of the production line, a high pressure fan acting as a vacuum for the packaging may also be required. Fans may also be used to inflate packaging.
Used to reduce the water volume within some food in addition to facilitating the drying of washed fruits and vegetables, industrial fans make a significant contribution. The dehydration of certain fruits, vegetables and meats is also often used to ensure widespread products. This also prevents the growth of bacteria. Fans can be used to blow warm or cool air through the produce, in some cases at high pressure.
Applied directly over ovens within industrial kitchens and food preparation areas. This is one of the most common areas for the use of high temperature industrial fans in food processing. They can also be used to circulate air in large areas and dryers.
Industrial fans are used for cooling recently cooked food lines on conveyors and for food storage in industrial refrigeration plants. To optimise the process of cold storage the temperature and humidity level of each point within the room must be maintained to a uniform level and air distribution in large plants must be uniform.
At multiple stages within food processing, whether industrial cooking preparation, transportation, cooling, storage and refrigeration, industrial fans are a fundamental component of the production line. Low noise and vibrations are important features to be considered when choosing the correct fan for the application. Given the duty performed by these industrial fans, manufacturers of these machines want to pass on savings to their customers.
By installing a cost effective, efficient fan component into the equipment or by automatically matching the fan speed to the local requirements (based on, for example, temperature detectors or fume detector signals) will reduce energy consumption and result in a cost effective solution for the end user. Ultimately, savings in the cost of sales could be passed along to the end user of the manufactured food – thus meaning consumers find that products are better value whilst being produced to the optimum standard of manufacturing.
Axair Fans can supply a full range of industrial fans for use within food processing. Ranges include stainless steel, ATEX and fans suitable for harsh and corrosive chemical environments. Contact Axair Fan’s team of technical engineers on 01782 349 430 for more information or visit www.axair-fans.co.uk
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