Creating, building and maintaining a customer base is a long journey that can meet an unfortunate end through any number of quality control issues. When it comes to sifting flour as a material, manufacturers have a slew of concerns to keep up with during the conveying process. Enormous costs are associated with throwing away large amounts of material, so creating proper food safety systems in a flour mill can lead to pertinent economic benefits. Essentially, ensuring that foreign materials are removed from a flour milling process is crucial to maintaining consumer safety and reliably counting on these benefits.
At AZO, we are always aimed at helping material handlers understand what our systems can do to improve their processes, so in the following blog post, we’ll illustrate the critical role that screeners play when implementing safe ingredient automation and in ensuring food-safe pneumatic conveying systems overall. Then, we’ll reference another tactic used in tandem with screening to ensure consumer safety that you, as a flour handler, should absolutely consider implementing if you do not already.
Screeners are made to separate unwanted material in a process
While there are benefits to either selecting a deck or cyclone screener, the function of any screening device is primarily to remove any number or combination of the following items:
- Pieces of bags
- Pieces of rubber gloves
These unwanted materials are large enough to be caught by the overs container of the screen as smaller desirable material (fines) drop through the mesh and continue in the conveying process.
The unwanted materials listed above cause enough trouble for manufacturers in various industries, but there are also other ways screeners can protect food products such as flour.
Screeners can also act as a final ‘safety check’ in a convey line
In addition to initially keeping undesirable material out of a batch of flour, screeners are often incorporated before packaging to act as a final quality check. This is known as a “safety screen.” Doing so will help maintain compliance with quality assurance departments. Screening equipment ensures ease of consistent processing, material safety and material integrity.
Testing samples also maintain reliable food safety systems
In addition to utilizing a quality screener, the “key” to maintaining a reliable food safety program is testing samples. FoodProcessing-Technology.com describes operations managers checking processed data in the lab that are representative of the entire batch, but they also state that a quality control test “is only as good as the tested sample, which is only as good as the flour sampling technique used to obtain a true representative sample that has the characteristics of the whole lot or batch.”
Automating your flour sampling is preferable, according to the site, because it is a method that is:
- Has as little bias as possible
Random hand sampling misses these marks. Since “proper flour sampling” is known to “make or break” quality control analysis, this stands as another example of how implementing more automated functions can truly improve safety, reliability, repeatability and efficiency overall. As advancements in testing methods increase testing convenience, there will be more and more opportunities for any manufacturer to ensure completely food-safe systems.
If you have any questions about cyclone screening equipment or ingredient automation as a whole, please contact our sales team. If you’ve seen enough and are ready to select from a myriad of screeners we provide, we have an in-depth screening buying guide to help you specify, justify or maintain the right AZO screener for your operation. Even if you aren’t sure, the guide is free and contains literature on other screener-related topics we hope any plant manufacturer can learn something from.