HEALTH FOOD company Sanitarium recently enhanced and enlarged a major component of its food grade OH&S system at its beverage manufacturing plant, located in Berkelely Vale, NSW. The facility commissioned a third production line to add twice the manufacturing capacity of its existing two lines.
Because its manufacturing process involves rehydrating powder from base ingredients, the company also installed a filtration system to eliminate any opportunity for these powders to spill onto floors or be released in the breathable atmosphere.
Peter Van Der Meer, maintenance coordinator of the beverage & meals section at the facility, says the batching and mixing processes are high volume and require high capacity equipment to perform around the clock.
“We often process up to 1,000,000L per week of our products and at the various stages of processing there was a potential for powdered product to escape into the working environment,” Van Der Meer explained.
“Our commitment is to keep our plant spotless at all stages – batching, mixing, sterilisation, filling and homogenising — and to maintain breathable air for employees at a very high standard,” he said.
To help ensure this happens, the health food company consulted dust control company Donaldson Torit-DCE, who fitted a Dalamatic DU 452-K7 dust extraction system with 4kW fan and 55L dust collection bin.
The dust collection point inside the mixing station is connected by food grade ducting to the dust collector, while anti-static oleophobic polyester bags to make sure moisture in the humid process does not coagulate and block the dust bag.
The production line sees product move through a system of batch tanks, mixing tanks, sterilisation, filling stations and homogenisation.
Much of the bulk input takes place at the mixing station, where 150-180t of raw material is fed into the system daily.
In the liquefier section where bags of product are deposited into mixing bins for final processing, an existing dust extraction system was also upgraded by the dust control company to increase productivity.
The previous system was less efficient due to the fact extraction could only occur when the bin lids were open and dust had to travel around the open lids to reach the extraction hood, which was positioned above the mixer.
The configuration was changed so that extraction occurs as the recipe is mixed when the bin lids are closed.