What You Need to Know About Size Reduction Equipment
Starting a new business? Looking for size reduction equipment? Perhaps it’s time to replace your old, outdated machine? No matter what the case may be, Corenco has a number of options available to you. That said, selecting the right equipment can be tough. Will it fit into your production space? How much maintenance will it require? How do you know you’re getting the right size? It can be a complicated process, to select the right equipment, but it doesn’t have to be.
In this guide, we’ll cover the following topics to help you learn more about size reduction equipment, its applications, and how to choose the right matches for your company:
- What is size reduction equipment?
- Who uses these machines?
- The 5 primary types of size reduction equipment
- Picking the right size production model
- How to choose screen sizes and accessories
- Size reduction equipment FAQs
- What about Installation and maintenance?
Learn More About Size Reduction Equipment
Size reduction machines do precisely what the name suggests: they take materials of various sizes and reduce them to smaller sizes. There are many different kinds of size reduction equipment available today. Each has its own application and method of sizing. The right machine for the job depends on the use and goal.
While size reduction equipment is popular with technicians in various industries, it’s particularly applicable in the food, pharmaceutical, and chemical processing industries. Companies like Kraft, Heinz, Frito-Lay, Amy’s Kitchen, and Wildwood Natural Foods all use Corenco size reduction equipment, for example. The applications of these machines are varied and diverse.
What is Size Reduction Equipment?
Size reduction equipment is a family of food processing machines that specialize in reducing fibrous roots, fruits, cooked meats, dry cheeses, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and more. Sometimes disintegrators work best when combined with a Crusher, which works as a pre-chopper. In-Line mills, meanwhile, finish pump-able liquids like soup and baby food into a smooth, silky puree.
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Who Uses These Machines?
Size reduction equipment has many applications but is prevalent primarily in three major industries:
- food processing
- pharmaceutical processing
- chemical processing
Regardless of industry, the primary purpose of size reduction equipment is to increase yield. The way material is processed determines yield, and yield equals money. More juice from fewer apples, for example, makes good financial sense.
Here’s a brief breakdown of how each industry uses size reduction equipment:
Brands like Amy’s and Frito Lay use Corenco size reduction equipment to process raw goods and produce finished products. Applications include extraction and creation of a final product, including slurries. Some great examples of this application are the processing of chickpeas for hummus, nuts for nut butters, and fruits and vegetables for juices.
Size reduction equipment in the pharmaceutical industry is popular for plant-based processing. Brands that process tobacco and cannabis use size reduction equipment during the plant extraction process and as a way to take raw materials and transform them into finished products. Any size reduction equipment used during pharmaceutical processing must meet USDA standards and requirements.
Chemical processors primarily use size reduction equipment during the delumping process. Powdered products, for example, typically have large chunks that must be broken up to move on to filling machine.
The 5 Primary Types of Size Reduction Equipment
There are several different versions of size reduction equipment. These include the following:
Angle disintegrators are gravity-fed machines that sit at an angle. The reason they are angled is to facilitate better feeding to the grinding chamber. The tilt of the inlet allows the product to fall into the grinding chamber easier and more efficiently. Angle disintegrators are:
- Known for durability and flexibility
- Prevalent in the food, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries
- Great for extractive industries, including juice, oils, and by-products
Angle disintegrators work well as an industrial food grinder. They’re also applicable to chemical, and pharmaceutical processing duties. They are not, however, ideal for processing products that are prone to “bridging,” or getting stuck in the inlet, such as raw celery sticks or wet, leafy greens. These products are best processed by screw-fed disintegrators, instead.
One excellent example of a product that does work well in an angle disintegrator is apples. The average Corenco angle disintegrator can handle 45,000 lbs per hour of apples to ¼” pieces, for example. Despite their varied functionality, angle disintegrators are not applicable for slicing or dicing – only random cutting.
Screw-fed disintegrators process adhesive or other hard to feed products such as odd-shaped, oblong items, without “bridging.” They do this thanks to the moving screw in the feed chamber, which feeds everything into the grinding chamber without interruption. Screw-fed disintegrators are:
- Used for materials that are sticky or otherwise difficult for gravity to move through a processing machine
- Designed to handle leafy green veggies, and are also great for things like clumps of ginger, squash, and oversized product
- Primarily used in the fresh juice industry
These machines work well for many of the applications above, but are generally more substantial, more expensive machines than many of those needs would necessitate. Screw-fed disintegrators are most applicable to hard-to-feed products like leafy greens.
They’re also ideal for metering the feed rate or moving the product into a grinding chamber at a consistent speed. Ginger is an excellent example of a product that works well in screw-fed disintegrators. The primary function of these machines is to overcome bridging as an issue for feeding the machine.
Pump Fed Disintegrators
For a pump-fed disintegrator to work for an application, the product in question must be pumpable.They are:
- Mostly used for finishing pumpable liquids
- Available in various models with different horsepower
- Compact, easy to use, and durable
- C.I.P.-able (Clean In Place)
Hummus is an excellent example of a product that responds well to pump-fed disintegrators. Cooked chickpeas pump smoothly through the feed line. The ground-up product is then moved on to a blending or mixing application without aeration or human contact.
Crushers are popular mostly in the food production industry. These durable and robust size reduction machines take large items like melons and break them up, so they are small enough to fit into disintegrators.
- Crushers are used to break apart frozen material
- They can handle 55-gallon drums of material
- There are two models available
Shredders are used for grating vegetables and other food products rapidly at scale.Some are capable of taking large blocks or wheels of cheese and rapidly reducing them to a size that is easy to melt, and ideal for uses in pizza parlors and similar settings. Typical attributes include:
- Ability to shred 40 lb blocks of cheese for pizza toppings
- May be available in manual, fully automatic, and semi-auto controls
- Popular for the production of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) and other freeze-dry applications
When it comes to these machines, it is important to remember that there is a difference between attractive, shredded cheese destined to be packaged for consumers, and shredded cheese that is easy to melt. While the typical shredder can produce bagged cheese, it’s better for creating a cheese that melts quickly in a commercial environment where attractiveness is less important.
Picking the Right Size Reduction Model
If you’re considering investing in a new piece of size reduction equipment, it’s essential to understand that the application determines the product. These machines are not one-size-fits-all, and it’s always wise to contact the manufacturer directly.
For best results, you’ll want some guidance on the process and the material you want. While it’s easy to assume you know what you need, it’s also essential to keep in mind that these are variable machines with lots of applications.
That said, here are a few of the most important considerations as you shop for your new size reduction equipment:
The application determines the model when it comes to size reduction equipment. The type of machine you want to invest in will depend largely on what you intend to use it for. Does the application match your product? What do you need to process? What size do you need – 10 hp or 75 hp? What are your output goals?
If you’re processing raw ginger to make ginger beer, for example, you may want to invest in a screw-feed disintegrator instead of an angle-fed machine. The type of device you purchase may also vary depending on whether you’re processing food or tobacco products, for example.
The volume you want or need to process will go a long way toward determining what kind of size reduction equipment you need. Most models are available in different sizes and horsepowers, which may allow you to adjust the volume up or down accordingly.
This is a place where talking with a manufacturer can help you make a smart decision. The size reduction equipment manufacturer will be able to help you understand the volume capability of a specific machine.
Before you begin shopping for your new piece of size reduction equipment, be sure you understand your budget and its restrictions. This will allow you to shop within your means and understand what you can get for your money.
While most people assume size reduction equipment is huge, most angle disintegrators, for example, would fit in a 4x4x4 commercial production space. Some machines are larger but designed to move from one room to another in a commercial production facility. As always, the footprint depends on process, output, yield, and horsepower.
Want to see a machine in action before you purchase it? Our team here at Corenco will help you test our machines with your products. Come to the test lab with your material, or send it directly to Corenco. We’ll grind it, try different sizes, take pictures, test it, and send it back to you so you can decide for yourself. Contact us directly to learn more about this option.
How to Choose Screen Sizes and Accessories
While size reduction equipment is very straightforward, there are some available screens and accessories you can choose from. Here are a few considerations about each:
When it comes to screen sizes, smaller is not always better. While many people imagine that the smallest possible screen size will help them create a more premium product, this is yet another place where talking to a manufacturer is critical. The manufacturer can help you decide which screen size is right for your application and particle size characteristics needs.
Keep in mind that screen size impacts yield. For apples, for example, you want smaller shred size at the beginning of the season when apples are tough. By the end of the season, the fruit is softer, which means you can move to larger screen size. Too much processing impacts quality as too little processing harms yield. Need several different screens? There’s no reason to invest in different machines. It’s easy to switch between screens, if required, for different applications.
Rotors are another vital element of size reduction equipment. There are three different styles of rotors to choose from: chopping rotors, butterfly rotors, and paddle-style rotors made to push against the screen.
The size and power of the machine is likely the most crucial consideration in this process. Size and power both affect output and volume, which, in turn, impact your bottom line. If you’re not sure what size machine you need, contact the manufacturer. We’ll help you design the most efficient, high-yield solution. If required, we can also create custom inlets and discharge chutes according to your specifications.
Size Reduction Equipment FAQs
Have questions about size reduction equipment? Here are a few FAQs to guide your purchasing process:
Q: How many passes does it take to grind a product to particle size desired?
Achieving the perfect consistency doesn’t necessarily happen in a single pass. In many cases, you’ll likely need various machines or at least various screens. To help you narrow it down, here’s a good general rule to determine how fine you can grind a product in one pass:
(Length + width + height) / 150 (wet) 100 (dry)
Q: Do I have enough room for these machines?
While most people assume size reduction equipment is very large, most units are small enough to fit easily into a commercial space. Angle disintegrators, for example, generally fit in a 4x4x4 space. Other units are larger, but all are designed to move from one room to another in a commercial production facility.
Q: How long is the lead time for a machine?
About 6 weeks without controls. A machine in stock or order placed during a slow time of year will speed that up. Adding controls takes it to at least ten weeks, but they are built concurrently with the machine to minimize development time.
Q: What’s the typical lifespan of size reduction equipment?
Size reduction equipment is built to last. The materials that make these machines are reliable and designed for longevity. Some of the first Corenco machines are still out there running – many are 35+ years old and counting, although a 20-year lifespan is a safe bet for most machines and applications. Maintenance is key, of course, but these machines will last decades with proper care.
What About Installation and Maintenance?
Even though size reduction equipment is durable and designed to last for years, there are some ongoing maintenance duties to consider. These include the following:
Screens work hard in size reduction equipment and must be changed out regularly. The average lifespan of a screen is about 400 working hours. When it comes time to change a screen, you can swap the old one out by hand – no tools required (except on Inline Mills).
Rotors last an average of about 2,000 working hours. If you’re going to change the rotor out, you may as well replace the seal at the same time.
Motors in size reduction equipment should last at least ten years . Again, the application is a factor, but ten years is a good guideline. When you purchase size reduction equipment, your machine will arrive with the motor wholly assembled. All you need to do is hand-install the screen.
The best way to ensure your disintegrator machine gets the maintenance it needs is to work closely with the manufacturer. Corenco, for example, can provide additional information on maintenance schedules and responsibilities. Corenco machines also reduce long-term costs thanks to high-quality construction, fewer moving parts, and ongoing warranties.
Corenco, Inc, is a recognized leader in the design, manufacture, and sale of industrial shredders and grinders. Our equipment is hard at work around the world processing a wide variety of wet and dry ingredients for the food, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries.
If you’re ready to learn more about size reduction equipment or to find your perfect Corenco disintegrator, contact Corenco today. We’re happy to help you find your ideal match.