|The Spiroflow Aero-Mechanical Conveyor (AMC) at Patak’s Foods Ltd. transfers a large variety of ingredients from the receiving warehouse, through a sealed wall into wheeled bins in the cook room. From there, the ingredients are cooked and mixed into snack packs, ready-made meals or jars of sauce.
A state-of-the art food processing plant, the Leigh, Lancashire facility of Patak’s Foods Ltd. in the United Kingdom is believed to be the largest Indian food plant in the world. Inaugurated in 2002, the plant consists of 164,000 square feet, has over 300 employees and distributes its products to more than 40 countries.
Annually, the plant uses over 6,000,000 pounds of spices plus other ingredients to produce over 1,000,000 snacks, 1,500,000 ready-made meals and over 30,000,000 jars of sauce.
When a decision was made recently to upgrade and expand the plant’s ingredient handling system, Patak’s Foods searched for a cost-effective conveyor system that was totally enclosed and could efficiently convey all of the ingredients from one end to the other with no waste. This requirement is essential when mixing up precise batches of ingredients to guarantee the quality and flavors for which Patak’s is renowned.
“After a thorough analysis of the type of conveying systems available, we concluded that an Aero-Mechanical Conveyor was what we needed,” explained Patak’s Foods Project Manager, Ray Brown. “We spoke with numerous suppliers and selected Spiroflow because of its years of experience and its record in after sales support.”
For its new ingredient handling system, Patak’s Foods selected a 10 foot (3 meter) long fully-enclosed Spiroflow Aero-Mechanical System (AMC). The system is being used to transfer a large variety of ingredients from the warehouse, through a wall and into wheeled bins in the cook room. Ingredients conveyed range from coconut milk powder to dried onions.
Bags of spices from around the world are manually emptied from lined bags in the boxes that are emptied into the integral feed hopper on the Aero Mechanical Conveyor. Over 100 bags of ingredients are emptied from the boxes into the conveyor each day.
The Spiroflow AMC installed and now operating at Patak’s Foods is constructed of stainless steel. The housing cover is removable and comes with interlocked, quick-release hatches to the sprocket housings for easy cleaning. An integral feed hopper with a vibrating air pad enhances the flow of ingredients into the conveyor. The top of the hopper has a shelf and mesh grill. This allows for easy opening and tipping of the bags of ingredients into the hopper.
The AMC itself is a tubular design making it one of the most efficient methods of conveying materials in terms of its dust-free and clean handling properties. The AMC was specifically designed to precisely meet Patak’s Food’s requirements.
The AMC consists of a continuous loop wire rope assembly with evenly spaced polyurethene discs that move at a high speed within parallel steel tubes.
At each end, there are enclosed housings with the rope assembly running from one tube to another around specially designed sprockets. One of these sprockets drive the rope and discs while the other sprocket provides tension to the rope.
The action of the rope assembly traveling at high speeds creates an air system running at the same velocity. As the material is fed into the air stream, it is fluidized and conveyed to the outlet where it is centrifugally ejected.
“We are very satisfied with the performance of the “Spiroflow” conveying system,” noted Brown. “The ingredients are totally protected by the fully enclosed tubular design allowing a dust-free environment and contaminant free environment transfer of the food ingredients.”
For more information on the Patak’s Foods application, ÅMC’s from Spiroflow Systems or information on other bulk handling equipment, visit www.spiroflowsystems.com, call 704-291-9595, fax 704-291-9594 or email [email protected].