Homogenizers and Honeycomb Cereal?

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I find it amazing how prevalent liquid mixing and homogenizing are in our everyday lives. These processes are needed, either directly or indirectly, in the making of everything from the 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 food processing equipment used in the manufacturing of consumables in the Food & Beverage industry overall?

Homogenization in Breakfast Cereal Production

Breakfast cereal requires liquid processing somewhere in its long journey from ingredients to individual pieces inside a box.  In many cases, the cereal pieces require a liquid coating that is applied by spraying or tumbling. This liquid coating consists of a homogenized mixture of water, vitamins, sweeteners, beet or cane sugars, flavor syrups and more. 

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!

Food & Beverage Industry Equipment Manufacturing

Every factory has an approach to how they homogenize, blend or mix cereal liquid coatings.  In some cases, workers manually transfer 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.  It is not very sophisticated, but simple.  

Other applications require mixing ingredients that cannot emulsify by simple stirring.  In these cases, a high-pressure homogenizer can create uniform emulsions.

Sonic Corp manufactures the Sonolator Homogenizer, which is used precisely for creating consistent liquid coatings that spray onto cereals.  We also use this blending technology in other areas of the Food & Beverage industry for:

  • Juices and Concentrates
  • Sauces
  • Flavor Emulsions
  • Cloud Emulsions
  • Purees
  • Salad Dressings
  • Syrups

The Sonolator is a unique 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.

 

non-hygienic cavitation chamber

 

Designed for High Standards 

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 systems that meet these requirements.  We utilize PD pumps from Waukesha, Seepex and others.  We use globally recognized instrumentation 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, and Mitsubishi, among others.

Learn more about Sonic Corp by contacting us today.  If you’re interested in learning how our blending equipment can benefit the food & beverage industry, download our FREE Sonoloator Homogenizer brochure here.

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About the Author:

Rob Brakeman
Owner & Director