The disintegrator machine: it’s durable, strong, and meant to process tough material easily and efficiently. Because of these traits, most people think they can buy size reduction equipment, dump material into it, and just walk away.
In some cases, this assumption isn’t unfounded – many food processing experts are familiar with batch equipment which allows you to do just that.
For continuous food processing, though, like the processing of cheese for pizza toppings, that’s not the case. Instead, you need a metered feed. In this piece, we’ll dive into the importance of a metered feed, and how to create it for your size reduction equipment.
Two Primary Benefits of a Food Disintegrator Metered Feed
Generally speaking. Most pieces of size reduction equipment require a metered feed. This is true for the following reasons:
- More efficient material processing.
If you dump material into a food disintegrator, the grinder will consume as much product as it has the horsepower to consume.
If you drop a barrel of onions into the disintegrator, for example, it will try to process all of those onions in a millisecond. However, usually the machine doesn’t have sufficient HP to do that, so it will typically jam, causing it to stall completely.
Metered feeds, on the other hand, allow the food disintegrator to process material entirely and efficiently at a prescribed or ‘metered’ rate, rather than becoming overwhelmed by a large batch of material all at once.
- Improved consistency.
Metered feeds improve product consistency. Instead of creating product-on-product grinding, metered feeding results in consistency and diminishes product kickback and heat-related issues.
How to Create Metered Feeding
The traditional way to facilitate a metered feed is to have a person do it. To put this another way, to have someone hand-feed the machine from a five-gallon bucket is the easiest way to facilitate metered feeding. Unfortunately, it’s also not the most efficient, and it doesn’t scale well when production starts to increase. This approach won’t work in large factories, for example.
As a result, most people use mechanical feeding options. You can pump into a machine, like an in-line or angle disintegrator, for example, or use belt conveyors, screw conveyors, or vibratory feeders to create a continuous feed. These feeding methods allow you to maintain a consistent feed rate and free your team up to do other things.
When you find the right mechanical feed tool and run it at the right speed for your material, you can conduct your food processing operation at optimal efficiency. Even better, the inclusion of a feedback loop between the grinding equipment and the variable speed feeder drive allows you to modulate feeder rate with increases or decreases of the RPM of your grinding machine.
How Variable Frequency Models Work
Ideally, in a process line, you’d have feedback between the grinder and the feeder. This is particularly helpful in continuous situations. If you have a feeder that is set up on a programmable logic controller (PLC), for example, you can have a feedback loop in the mill that tells the feeder what the load is on the grinder.
For example, if the grinder is running at 50%, the mill tells the feeder it can process more and that the feeder should speed up. Variable frequency models are the most efficient way to feed a disintegrator machine and have become much more widely deployed in the food processing industry. This variable frequency model allows your equipment to adapt intelligently to products, processing capacities, and production demands, creating a more efficient operation for you.
Corenco: Your Source for Metered Feeding for Your Disintegrator Machine
If you need help making decisions about how to feed your disintegrator machine, give us a call. We can help. Our team will provide individualized recommendations based on your specific product, need, and application.
If you’re not feeding your machine fast enough or running at full load, you’re not getting the available capacity out of your equipment. We’ll help you use your machine to its full potential and avoid easily-avoidable production interruptions, both now and in the future.