Homogenizers and Honeycomb?
I find it amazing how prevalent liquid mixing and homogenizing is in our every day lives. Homogenizers and homogenization are needed, either directly or indirectly, in the making of everything from our clothing we slip on every morning to the Honeycomb cereal we eat for breakfast. I’ll apologize now to all those modern-day, health-conscience eaters who might squirm at the notion, but, YES, I love my Honeycomb for breakfast! How or why does breakfast cereal require a homogenizer? How is liquid homogenization and food processing equipment used in the manufacturing of consumables in the Food & Beverage industry overall?
The How or Why of Homogenizers in Food & Beverage Manufacturing
Post consumer cereal brands, such as Honeycomb, account for 34% of the company’s more than $4 billion in sales revenue, a number that continues to grow according to Post’s 2015 Annual Report. Wal-Mart currently sells a family size box of Honeycomb for $3.28. Let’s assume for fun that this is the only cereal sold accounting for the company’s $1.58 billion in cereal sales. This would translate to roughly 482,000,000 family size boxes of Honeycomb sold in 2015 alone. There are approximately 600 individual pieces of cereal in a 16 oz box of Honeycomb each measuring roughly 1 inch in diameter. That’s 289 billion individual pieces that could stretch to the moon and back about 9 times. All of that cereal, and that’s a lot, requires liquid processing somewhere in it’s long journey to final individual pieces inside of a box. In many cases, the cereal requires a liquid coating that is applied to the cereal pieces by spraying, tumbling or other method. This liquid coating can be a mixture of water, vitamins, sweeteners, beet or cane sugars, flavor syrups and more. Guess what? This coating mixture needs to be homogenized and mixed! And based on the quantities of just one cereal company in a single year, that’s a lot of liquid homogenizing that is required!
How Sonic Corp Helps!
Every factory may devise a different approach to how they homogenize, blend or mix this liquid coating. In some cases, you’ll see the factory workers manually transfer all the ingredients into a large mixing tank and stir with a propeller mixer. I call this the “old-fashioned canoe paddle approach;” throw everything into the tank and stir it with a canoe paddle. Not very sophisticated but simple. It also might not always work if some of the ingredients don’t want to be together and simple stirring isn’t effective enough. This is where high-pressure homogenizers come into play. Making a more difficult emulsion requires better mixing technology.
Sonic Corp manufactures the Sonolator Homogenizer used precisely for this purpose of creating highly uniform emulsions that spray onto cereals as a coating. We also use this technology in other areas of the Food & Beverage industry for:
- Juices and Concentrates
- Flavor Emulsions
- Cloud Emulsions
- Salad Dressings
The Sonolator is a unique homogenizing and mixing device that employs an Orifice that accelerates fluids to over 300 ft/sec at flow rates to 100 GPM. The high velocity liquid stream is then impinged upon a knife-like Blade that generates extreme cavitation. The fluid acceleration and cavitation reduce particle and droplet sizes instantly without the laborious task of constant and lengthy canoe-paddle stirring.
Designed for the Food & Beverage Industry
Design and customization are critical to supplying equipment in the Food & Beverage industry. Most companies require that process equipment meet stringent 3A and EHEDG requirements. Sonic specializes in custom Homogenizers and custom Process Systems that meet these requirements. We utilize PD pumps from Waukesha, Seepex and others. We use globally recognized intrumentation and valves from companies like Rosemount, MicroMotion, E&H, Tuchenhagen and more. We offer VFD cabinet design and fabrication and include complete PLC automation using Allen Bradley, Siemens, Mitsubishi and more.
Learn more about Sonic Corp and our homogenizer options by contacting us today or if you’re interested in learning how Sonolator homogenizers benefit the food & beverage industry, download our FREE brochure below: