Continuous mixing improves snack bar quality at Halo Foods
When Halo Foods, the UK's leading designer and producer of specialist snack bars for customers' own brands, wanted to switch from batch mixing to continuous mixing to improve product quality, it turned to solids handling and processing equipment manufacturer, Ajax Equipment, to provide the expertise needed to introduce the new mixing process.
Batch mixing is widely used in snack bar manufacture where there are a large number of ingredients to be mixed with a moist binder. However, where batch mixing is part of a continuous production process, problems of consistency can arise. The batch may start as a warm, free flowing blend but later throughput turns cooler and stiffer making it more difficult to process. This can lead to layering problems and inconsistent distribution of ingredients. Continuous mixing, on the other hand, gives product that is free flowing at a constant temperature leading to a better sheet and more consistent ingredient distribution.
In collaboration with Ajax Equipment, Halo undertook extensive trials with an Ajax test mixer to prove that continuous mixing was the right approach. The test mixer featured two choices of counter rotating and overlapping shafts. The first set is fitted with paddles for a relatively intensive mixing action; the second have ribbons for when a gentler combining action is required. The test mixer demonstrated that Halo could improve the mixing of ingredients and flow of the resultant sticky blend, and thus the consistency of the finished cereal bar. Halo eventually opted for an Ajax twin 185 continuous mixer using Lynflow technology with interchangeable paddle and ribbon shafts to provide the degree of versatility required by Halo’s production repertoire. Processing of any snack bar recipe is dependent upon the length, speed of rotation and the design and adjustment of the mixing elements; the choice of shafts allows Halo to efficiently process a wider variety of multi-recipe mixes.
“Ajax Equipment was able to demonstrate that we could make the move to continuous mixing without disrupting production. Having now used continuous mixing for a number of months, we are seeing the expected benefits of better mixing with a marked improvement in product quality,” commented Halo Foods engineering development manager, Alan Sheedy.
For more information on Ajax’s Continuous Mixers, call +44 (0)1204 386723 or visit our Continuous Mixers