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Drive and control package helps food producer increase capabilities

Drive and control package helps food producer increase capabilities

Baxters Food Group produces a wide range of soups, sauces, condiments, dressings, preserves, pies and meal accompaniments in the UK and Poland. Previously, it had only produced cold fill products at its Colchester site, but wanted to expand production by manufacturing hot fill sauces and marinades.

A 750kg capacity holding vessel was relocated to Colchester from one of the other manufacturing sites in the group for the hot fill process which pasteurises the product, preventing spoilage and prolonging shelf life. The vessel, which had not been used for several years, featured a steam-heated jacket that made it suitable for the hot fill process, but had no controls or electrical supply.

Baxters needed a power and control solution that would turn the vessel into a fully usable asset. “The holding vessel is vital to the production of our hot fill sauces. Without its agitation and heating capability, we would struggle to meet the required levels of product consistency and thermal process. This would potentially compromise the high-quality standards of the product range,” says Tony Bellian, European Technical Director for Baxters.

Baxters contacted Gibbons Engineering Group for advice. Gibbons designed, built and installed a stainless steel-enclosed control panel, which incorporates a 4 kW ABB micro drive to control the speed of the holding vessel’s agitator via a door mounted potentiometer.

The VSD enables the speed of the mixer to be adjusted from 30 to 80 rpm, ensuring the hot fill sauces are agitated at a consistently controlled speed to give the correct end product quality. The control panel also controls the temp-erature of the steam. This is adjusted to suit different product  recipes. The project involved fitting associated cabling, along with setting up and testing the panel. The control panel took four weeks to fabricate and a day to install on site.

Enabling the speed of the mixer motor’s speed to be adjusted based on the requirements of a particular product, the variable speed drive ensures consistent mixing of a range of Baxters’ sauces, dressings and marinades. The ABB drive and control package has helped Baxters Food Group to increase production capabilities at its Colchester site.

“We had a tight deadline of two months to produce, install and test the solution. Gibbons was ready to conform to all of the working requirements associated with a food production environment. In addition, they were very cost competitive.” Bellian concludes.

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