Specialist food processing company gains from process gas heating expertise
At a facility in South Wales, a recent installation of process gas burner equipment has showcased the performance and benefits of the latest solutions in this market. Express Contract Drying (ECD) is the largest toll sprayer in the UK.
ECD is gaining from Lanemark Combustion Engineering’s expertise and technology. Lanemark has a long history of successful installations in the food and beverage sector. ECD’s application required a series of drying facilities that need to achieve results that not only meet accepted industry standards but also help to maintain ECD’s leading reputation in the industry.
Who Are Express Contract Drying (ECD)?
Nick Ball, operations director at ECD’s Ebbw Vale facility, one of two operated by the company in the area, explains the key role played by the Lanemark installations: “We have built a leading reputation over 35 years for the supply of dried food flavourings and colourings, mostly for the UK snack sector,” he says. “This is centred on five process lines that handle a combination of water, a carrier such as potato starch and the added flavour, all of which are blended into an emulsion that is then transferred to one of the processing vessels. Here, the action of the heat created by the Lanemark burner evaporates the water from the mixture to leave a powdered flavour that is then moved forward for packaging and despatch.”
Ball points out that, typically, a moisture level of just 3% is achieved in this way. This is well within the industry standard of 5% and ideal for onward shelf life of up to a year.
“The installations at the ECD site feature our duct burner (DB) design,” explains Adrian Cadman at Lanemark. “Each is fitted to a mounting plate that is bolted into the process air duct, acting as a transition box, with a fan then driving the heated air through connected ducting to the point where the emulsion is sprayed into the process.” Importantly, the designs, which also incorporate a panel, booster and exhaust fan, ensure there is no direct flame impingement on the product itself.
Lanemark’s installations on all five vessels – with plans now well advanced for adding a sixth facility – all operate from the available natural gas supply and include the process air fan, a modulating gas valve train, control box and elements of the stainless steel ducting.
“It is also vital that we are able to closely control the heated air temperature to reflect variations such as volume, type of emulsion involved and even the size of the nozzle through which it is sprayed,” adds Ball. “Each installation can deliver a required temperature level of, typically, between 180°C and 200°C, with excellent heat up and temperature stability characteristics.” The company also benefits from Lanemark’s BurnerCare service support package, which includes a planned servicing programme that helps to ensure continuous plant operation.
Ensuring Gas Burner Reliability
The range of flavourings and coatings that can be produced at ECD’s Ebbw Vale facility not only reflects the versatility of the company’s operation but also the need for ongoing, reliable output. The role played by each of the systems supplied by Lanemark matches this need and is an excellent demonstration of the suitability of the company’s process gas burner technology to deliver precise process heating objectives in specialist sectors of the food processing industry.