In this blog post Segment Leader for Food and Beverage, Jordan Bettencourt, shares his insight on the confectionery manufacturing industry, highlights pain points in candy production, and offers strategies for mitigating various challenges.
Confectionery manufacturing, or the production of sugary treats, is a profitable sector in the food and beverage industry. In 2020, the global market size was approximately $265 billion CAD1. To create confections like chocolate, gum, and candy, key ingredients such as sugar and cocoa are required.
While these ingredients are largely to thank for great taste, they can create big problems in manufacturing plants. This is also true of most other powder applications in the food and beverage industry due to the vast amounts of dust that can be released. Not only this, other issues can arise that necessitate high quality clean air solutions.
What is the Confectionery Manufacturing Process in Canada?
To understand how possible challenges can be detrimental in confectionery manufacturing, it is first necessary to break down the entire process. Although the manufacturing process can vary per application, the concept of candy making at a high level involves transporting sugar or sugar substitutes and dissolving it in a liquid to form a sticky syrup. The syrup is then boiled until caramelization occurs2. The process of chocolate production is executed differently, however ingredient and powder transferring are still involved.
The transferring of materials along different parts of the process is largely the cause of the accumulation of dust, which can create many different issues. That being said, all stages of the food manufacturing process and individual choices regarding equipment used in production also contain risk. The case study below demonstrates a complex problem one of our clients faced as a result of ordering air filtration units from an international supplier.
Camfil Canada Case Study: Confectionery Producer
In many applications, food manufacturers purchase air filtration units from an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in another country as they are recommended, trusted, and commonly used in sister plants. This can cause more challenges down the line as filters initially installed in the equipment can be specialized, costs may vary frequently due to currency fluctuations, and there may be longer lead times. When filters need to be replaced, it can be difficult to find local suppliers to fill the order.
A well-known, global confectionery company was having this very issue. For over a year, our team of air filtration experts worked closely with this company to develop a replacement filter suitable for its equipment. This required many iterations and attempts in order to replicate the OEM filter. Ultimately, an ideal solution was created that was able to generate the company hard cost savings of 40% as well as the time that would have been required to have the items consistently made and shipped by the international supplier.
To avoid this problem from arising in the first place, it is recommended that food manufacturers find local suppliers willing to customize their filters and prepare these suppliers for specialty orders well in advance. In order to avoid delays and costly manufacturing shutdowns, Jordan Bettencourt recommends that “when possible, there should be a set of backup filters on hand for the next change.”
What Are Other Issues in Food/Confectionery Manufacturing With Powder Applications?
Apart from difficulties with OEM filter designs, there are several other challenges that may arise in the food manufacturing industry.
It is nearly impossible to produce foods that do not emit odours, whether these odours be subtle, strong, acidic, sour, sweet, bitter, spicy, or tangy. While inhaling the molecules that create these odours are not necessarily harmful to human health, they can become a nuisance to workers in the plant, and those in internal and external surrounding area3.
High Dust Loads Causing Explosions
Dust generally loads quickly in air filters in food manufacturing due to the production volume, thus requiring more frequent filter changes. Any decrease in the source capture air volume or air circulation can lead to a high volume of fine dust in the work area. This can result in an explosion within the facility. Ultimately, any dust that is collected within a dust collector/bag house hopper should be consistently removed. In food, almost all dust is explosive.
Confectionery manufacturing involves cooking, production, and handling in the facility. Jordan Bettencourt states that cross contamination can cause “bacterial infections from Listeria, E Coli, Salmonella. It can also impact consumers with health issues such as Celiac Disease and peanut allergies. Proper ventilation within the HVAC systems and ultra-high hygiene must be implemented due to the potential contamination hazards.”
Dust and Moisture Causing Hard Casing
As a consequence of dust and moisture mixing and infrequent filter changes, a hard casing can form onto dust collector cartridges/bags, and render them ineffective. It can also result in the failure of the HVAC system. This is a cause of dust released from spices, flours, seeds, or sugars and this combining with moisture which can be created from temperature changes inside and outside manufacturing facilities, from different processes such as drying or humidifying, or from water getting into a compressed air system and being pulsed onto filters.
Lack of Food Specific Standards in Confectionery Plants
Although certain recommendations exist, there are no set standards in Canada that relate to food/confectionery manufacturing and air filtration requirements. The lack of clear guidance can be difficult for manufacturers and facility managers who strive to create a safe working environment and employ hygienic practices. As Jordan Bettencourt mentions, “It is our opinion that the food and beverage manufacturing process is critical and should follow proper air filtration guidelines, best practices, and standards”.
While these challenges are complex and appear difficult to address, adequate air filtration measures can dramatically reduce these issues.
What Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Products Address Challenges in Confectionary Plants?
Clean air solutions for HVAC are most effective for non-dust related issues. For odour control, the ProCarb VDBe is a molecular filtration unit that has a low life cycle cost for exhaust applications and a leak-free design. It can handle air flows up to 105,000 CFM. Additionally, all ProCarb Exhaust products offer a high level of control of molecular contaminants, and therefore assist in reducing contamination caused by microbiological growth4.
To ensure that the high risk area of confectionery manufacturing maintains ultra high hygiene, the Hi-Flo ES from our Hi-Flo bag filter line provides high efficiency particulate capturing. It is available in efficiencies from MERV 11/11A to MERV 15/15A and is the longest lasting pocket style filter available in the industry. It can be used with a pre filter such as the 30/30 Dual 9 for less frequent filter change-outs, or can be used individually to reduce energy costs.
As final solutions for extended dust holding capacity and further assurance of a safe, clean atmosphere, the installation of the Cam-Flo XMGT or Cam-Flo XLT is recommended. These air filters are constructed with synthetic fibre media with unique properties and extremely high burst strength. This allows for the removal of harmful particles and results in stable performance.
What Air Pollution Control Products Address Challenges in Confectionary Plants?
To ensure employee and process safety, it is imperative to have a properly sized dust collection system. Excess dust or dust collection in food processing not only harms the HVAC system, but is also an ignition source for an explosion. The proper dust collection system will ensure all dust flows properly through the work space, duct work, and is then transported to the proper collection bins or waste process. The Gold Series X-Flo (GSX) is an industrial dust and fume collector perfect for use on waste stream dust collection applications. It can handle fine, fibrous and heavy dust loads from ingredients such as sugars or flours, as well as all toxic and combustible smoke and fumes. With a highly engineered design, the GSX collector effectively processes dust and pulse cleans the filters to maintain a low pressure drop and reduce filter change-outs. Representatives from Camfil Air Pollution Control (APC) can also perform dust testing to determine factors that affect system performance, sizing, and moisture. This test will also aid the Camfil APC team in recommending the proper media solutions, filter design, and collector accessories such as explosion protection or insulation.
For OEM installments, Camfil APC provides replacement Filter Cartridges for many other brands. This allows food manufacturers to keep their pre-existing units while localizing the filter cartridges; avoiding expensive fees for replacements from international dealers.
Overall, employing a combination of the listed air filtration products best ensures that adequate safety and hygienic measures are being taken in food manufacturing.
There are a variety of factors that determine which clean air solutions work best for food/confectionery manufacturing and powder applications. Be sure to contact an experienced air filtration consultant to find products right for your building.
About Camfil Canada Clean Air Solutions
For more than half a century, Camfil has been helping people breathe cleaner air. As a leading manufacturer of premium clean air solutions, we provide commercial and industrial systems for air filtration and air pollution control that improve worker and equipment productivity, minimize energy use, and benefit human health and the environment. We firmly believe that the best solutions for our customers are the best solutions for our planet, too. That’s why every step of the way – from design to delivery and across the product life cycle – we consider the impact of what we do on people and on the world around us. Through a fresh approach to problem-solving, innovative design, precise process control, and a strong customer focus we aim to conserve more, use less and find better ways – so we can all breathe easier.
The Camfil Group is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and has 33 manufacturing sites, six R&D centers, local sales offices in 30 countries, and about 4,800 employees and growing. We proudly serve and support customers in a wide variety of industries and in communities across the world. To discover how Camfil Canada can help you to protect people, processes and the environment, visit us at www.camfil.com/en-ca/.
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