Barrel emptying system for date paste processing

A food trend with a process engineering challenge

Cross section of a Visco-MT barrel emptying system

Health awareness among consumers has been growing, and not just since the Covid-19 pandemic. Natural and plant-based foods that have particularly high nutritional value or health-related benefits are very popular. One ingredient that accompanies this trend is date paste. It is really healthy, but not entirely easy to manage for food processing companies. In addition to the strict legal regulations governing market establishment, the processing and production process in particular poses a real challenge.

Date paste is used as a nutraceutical or functional food. For example, to sweeten fruit yogurts or drinkable meals. The natural sweetness is not only healthier, but also prevents syneresis. Date paste is also often found as the main ingredient in fruit bars. The dense and sticky date paste helps complementary ingredients, such as nuts or oatmeal, to mix and combine better. However, it is precisely these properties that also make processing difficult: The sticky, viscous and partly fiber-laden structure of date paste presents a major challenge in terms of processing technology. Often, date syrup or date paste is delivered to the food processing plant in buckets or barrels. At the next stage, the date paste is mixed with other ingredients and is then processed further or filled into smaller containers, such as cups. Both the removal from the delivery container and the further filling for viscous and solids-laden material require technically suitable equipment that are especially suited for the food sector.

Viscotec offers a solution for this technical challenge. The Visco-MT barrel emptying system with integrated progressive cavity pump is particularly suitable for emptying medium to high-viscosity material. The emptying system consists of a base frame with barrel loading ramp, as well as a pneumatic lowering device for moving up and down. In addition, the barrel emptying system has a follower plate with a wiper lip. During emptying, the progressive cavity pump conveys the material from the suction to the discharge side in a pressure-stable manner. As emptying progresses, the follower plate moves down to the bottom. The wiping lip is used to wipe off product residue from the edge of the barrel. In this way, an emptying rate of over 99% is achieved. After emptying, the operator opens the vent valve on the follower plate and starts the lowering device. The follower plate and progressive cavity pump are then moved upwards again. To cover different barrel sizes and emptying times, the barrel emptying system is available in three sizes. The Visco-MT-XS can empty barrels from 10 to 50 l with a volume flow of approx. 1 l/min. The Visco-MT-XM covers a barrel range of up to 200 l. The integrated progressive cavity pump delivers up to 30 l/min. The largest version, the Visco-MT-XL barrel emptying system, empties barrels, as well as tank containers, up to 1500 l with a volume flow of approx. 50 l/min.

The complete series is hygienically designed in compliance with the EHEDG guidelines. The barrel emptying system is therefore ideally suited for use in the food industry. Based on the same principle of progressive cavity technology, Viscotec offers dosing and filling pumps with which even highly viscous and lumpy material can be gently, pressure-stably, and uniformly fed to the downstream process or portioned into filling containers. In this way, the technological challenge in processing can be solved.