In the food processing industry you’ll often hear the term size reduction. But how does one exactly define that? This article seeks to introduce you to a term called comminution; an excellent term that’s highly under-utilized in the industry.
Comminution is the process/action of reducing solid materials from their standard particle size to smaller average particle size.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Methods of Comminution
When it comes to comminution, there are many means to an end. Some of the most common processes are cutting, grinding, crushing, pureeing, delumping, pulverizing, emulsifying, and disintegration.
Different products and machinery are used to achieve different results, from a ten dollar food processor to a multi million dollar flour mill.
Size Reduction Equipment to Support Comminution
Now that we’ve answered “what is comminution?”, let’s talk about how it happens. To ensure proper comminution, manufacturers must have the right equipment for the job. Here are a few common types of machinery that food processors use:
Gravity-fed mills, also known as angle disintegrators, are ideal for processing high bulk density products (ex. ginger, apples, potatoes, tomatoes, and horseradishes.) They feature a large inlet and a large production capacity. Each model is ideal for a wide variety of products and can facilitate many different downstream processes.
Screw-fed mills move sticky, moist, or difficult-to-feed materials through a screw conveyor directly into the grinding chamber. These mills offer a metered feed system, which makes processing more efficient by reducing overload potential. The screw-fed disintegrator is popular in the processing of everything from whole pumpkins to leafy greens.
Crushers are used to bring large agglomerates down to a size that can be processed further. These types of equipment are often the first stage in a comminution process. An example would be reducing a 55 gallon frozen drum of fruit juice puree into softball-sized chunks which can be further processed into a final product.
Pump-fed mills are heavily used in the liquid processing industry. Designed to reduce agglomerates and large material in pumpable liquids, pump-fed mills help facilitate comminution in things like soup and soy bases and hummus production. These units are also CIP-able.
Comminution: A Summary
Comminution is a scientific word for size reduction and is an important term to know. When you have the right equipment for your applications you can ensure top-quality comminution.
Ready to add advanced size reduction equipment to your lineup? Contact Corenco today. Our skilled staff will walk you through our selection and help you find or engineer the solutions that are right for you.