Individually designed, functional foods will soon be the focus of our diet. As a counterpart to today’s mass production, with the same ingredients, tailor-made food will increasingly be on the shopping list and produced according to health, taste or personal preferences of each individual. Even today there are enough examples: specially prepared muesli, individually designed bakery products or sweets and much more.
In order to cope with the enormous production-technological effort of personalized food, clever systems and plants are needed. Companies must be able to produce small batches – with absolute flexibility with regard to the ingredients.
Determining ingredients that give the food the individual note are aromas, colorings and also functional ingredients, such as enzymes or probiotic liquids. These must be dosed precisely and gently. Due to the high concentration of these ingredients, the greatest accuracy in the dosing process must be applied. Minor deviations alter the appearance, taste or effect of the food. The dispensers from ViscoTec are specially developed for the dosage of small quantities. Here, the small pumps are ideally suited in the field of liquid additives, in which only very small quantities are usually dosed. In the case of dairy products, sauces or ready meals, it is possible to feed a specifically defined quantity. This protects against incorrectly dosed ingredients and also against products that contain either too much or too little aroma. High precision dosing results with less than +/- 1% deviation are not a challenge for ViscoTec dispensers. A further advantage of the Hygienic Dispenser, based on the endless piston technology, is that dosing quantities can be increased and reduced very easily (in contrast to conventional piston filling systems). By adjusting the speed of rotation of the dispenser, the dosage can be adjusted variably and infinitely.
The dosages in the production process are extremely flexible. If, for example, more strawberry flavor is required for milk mixers, the volume of flavor can be adjusted immediately by increasing the dispenser speed.
An example in practice:
A fitness drinks manufacturer produces all his shakes on the same basis of basic ingredients. In the past, he mixed all ingredients for every kind of taste and functionality in one production step. After each change of product variety (10 different products) it was necessary to clean the complete plant. Now he just mixes the basic ingredients first. Using the Hygiene Dispenser, the individual additives are added during the latest possible process step.
The modular design of the pumps allows a versatile application and highly concentrated and aggressive ingredients may also be dosed. In many cases, these are chemically aggressive products (eg, ethereal or fruit oils) – a chemical resistance of the dosing components is required and predetermined. Proven rotor and stator materials make the dispenser fit for any type of product.
Advantages of the Endless Piston Principle
ViscoTec’s systems are based upon endless piston technology. In the past, this technology has been used mainly for large transferring and conveying pumps. However, ViscoTec also uses this technology for high-precision dosing and filling tasks. In order to achieve the desired precision, much development work was necessary. Customers of ViscoTec GmbH have been relying on the products of the Bavarian dosing technology manufacturer for 20 years. The confidence in the accuracy and the small quantities achieved with the dispensers are a result of the geometry of the pump technology. This dosing geometry promotes a constant volume of rotation per revolution. The direction of transport is changed by reversing the direction of rotation. The volume is therefore clearly defined by the number of angular degrees. This technique results in a pressure-stable, linear pump characteristic curve. It is possible to make a clear statement about the ratio of rotation, time and flow rate. This, in turn, results in a guaranteed dosing accuracy of 1% (depending on the medium) at the pump outlet, which in practice often falls below. A further benefit of this technology lies in the resulting conveying chamber, the volume of which remains absolutely constant during movement. This makes it possible to promote and fill solids-laden media and even lumpy products. A further advantage compared to other conveying mechanisms: in over 95% of all applications, filling and dosing valves are no longer required since a short reverse-run at the end of the dosing process provides a controlled thread breakage therefore any dripping is prevented. Even difficult, highly viscous fluids can be dosed or filled in process-safe manner without pulsation, incorrect dosing or excessive stress on the material.
In contrast to conventional filling technologies, such as piston fillers, the dispensing volume can be flexibly adapted on the fly during the filling process. As a result of adopting the volumetric dosing principle, the discharged volume is exactly defined by the number of revolutions of the pump. By modifying this rotational speed, the dosing quantity can be varied without carrying out mechanical conversions of the pump or stopping the process for an extended period of time.
This variable handling and simple control makes it possible to use the dispenser both for flexible, semi-automatic and individualized production processes (with stand-alone control), as well as to easily integrate into existing filling systems and production concepts with existing SPS’s.
Owing to the specially developed elastomers used in the dispenser, e.g. at the stator, there are no interactions or chemical reactions with aggressive aromas.
Hygienic process, hygienic design
The modular construction of the dispenser allows it to be dissembled for automatic, as well as manual, rinsing and cleaning. In fully automatic filling systems, a common CIP or SIP system can be used. Common CIP or SIP procedures, for example rinsing with nitric acid or sodium hydroxide solution at 70°C or also hot steam sterilization at 143°C are easily possible. The dispenser can be dismantled manually without the need for tools in just a few minutes and all components can be cleaned.
The dispenser is optimized to avoid dead space and designed according to the general guidelines of hygienic design. Contamination by microorganisms is impossible.
In summary, it can be said that with the help of the Hygienic Dispenser, dosing applications can be adapted in the future to be uncomplicated, fast and flexible to constantly changing production requirements. With the use of the Hygienic Dispenser, entire processes can be converted. Flexible production conditions, and smaller production volumes and batches are made possible – as defined by industry 4.0.