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A no-waste flavouring and coating technology
07 April 2018
This article was published in April 2018. You can find the original article here
Food Processing spoke to Judith Hewitt, managing director at Spice Application Systems, a company which offers an interesting product flavouring and coating solution which can offer a host of benefits for food producers.
Q. Could you explain a bit about the electrostatic coating technique and what benefits it can offer in food applications, when compared with more traditional coating solutions?
Electrostatics use the attraction of opposites to great effect. Imagine a food production line – anything from potato or corn snacks to confectionery, cereals, or pet food.
When it’s time to add flavourings and coatings, the electrostatic coating equipment uses an electrode at the tip of an electrostatic spray head or atomizer. As the oils or powders are sprayed onto the base product they move past the electrode, becoming negatively charged and creating an electrostatic field.
The positive and negative effect means the particles will automatically adhere to the ‘grounded’ food items and, due to the electrostatic attraction, spray that would normally be in the air, attaches itself to all sides of the product, creating a true ‘wraparound’ effect.
This solution can help save powder and oil. Most systems simply ‘remain where they touch’ so there’s a great deal of wastage. Because electrostatic adhesion is so precise, all the flavouring and coating ends up on the product, not in the bottom of the drum.
It is also a quicker and more efficient process, using less time and powder, so is also more environmentally-friendly. There are less dusting and misting emissions so workplaces are much cleaner.
Depending on the quantities manufactured, we believe companies can see a return on investment within around four months in terms of savings alone – mainly through less wastage and greater energy efficiency.
The system is also great for coating fragile products. Due to the shape of the tumbling drum, even intricate shapes and sizes will come out the same as they went in.
Q. Is the technology a mature one, might we expect to see any developments in the coming year?
SAS pioneered the use of electrostatics in the food sector and has been a recognised industry leader for well over a decade and we are always working on new and innovative equipment. For example, we are currently working on a new snacking system and exploring new developments in confectionery. There is a trend to move away from sugar so manufacturers want to be able to use different and exciting new flavours to tempt the taste-buds. We offer trials and tasting facilities to help them get the results they want.
Q. Can electrostatic coating systems be retrofitted into existing coating lines?
Yes, you can either retrofit or buy new equipment with the electrostatic elements built in, which is often the most efficient and effective way – especially the system is in the process of being upgraded.
Q. In your four years at SAS have you seen an increase in the use of electrostatic technology in the food industry? If so, in any particular food production sector, and to what do you attribute this?
I’d certainly say that electrostatics continues to make steady inroads. Once manufacturers try it, they don’t want to go back. For example, pop chips are now a staple on supermarket shelves today. Yet, when we started using electrostatics to flavour them, they were a novelty product and we’re proud to have played an important part in helping popularise them.
Another area where we are seeing a real increase is the cheese sector. Shredded cheese is in huge demand, both for use in standalone packets and on food items such as pizzas and pasta dishes. To stop grated cheese sticking together, it needs to be coated with starch powder and this has caused real problems as the dust settles on production lines. Using electrostatics can now almost completely eradicate that problem as it dramatically cuts the amount of powder in the air during the application process and at the same time reduces wastage offering 100% product coating.
Q. Do you see any undiscovered areas in the food industry that could particularly benefit from the use of electrostatic coating technique?
Rather than food-related areas, I would actually say most of the UK food manufacturing industry. It’s astonishing how little enthusiasm there is for change in the UK, it’s very much a question of doing things the same way they have always done. European manufacturers were among the first to see the benefits of the technology but more recently our biggest growth is coming from the Asian and Far East, as well as the Eastern Europe.
Experienced salesman James Taylor has joined the team at electrostatics expert Spice Application Systems.
With a strong track record in retail and sales management, he has been involved in both the technology and fast food sectors.
His arrival at the Oxfordshire-based company follows soon after SAS’s success at the recent Anuga FoodTec 2018 exhibition in Cologne, Germany, where its stand generated dozens of enquiries.
“I am thrilled to have joined such a dynamic and forward-thinking company,” said James, who has spent his first few weeks on the road with SAS founder Peter King.
“The potential of electrostatics is huge and when you see the benefits it can achieve for customers, the only question is why aren’t more people using it? The feedback has been excellent, and I’m looking forward to visiting many more companies to see the difference that electrostatics is delivering for them.”
Peter King, founder of SAS, said: “We’re on a strong growth curve, we have lots of exciting plans in the pipeline and James’s arrival will help us take best advantage of increasing interest in electrostatics.
“Having worked in the fast food industry, he understands the need for quality and service and he is already proving a valuable addition to the SAS family.”
Away from the office, James enjoys DIY and spending time with his two young sons.
SAS pioneered the use of electrostatics to apply spices and flavourings to a wide range of foodstuffs, including snacks, confectionery and cereals, as well as cheese, frozen foods and meats. It now has customers and distributors worldwide.
For more information email Peter King at email@example.com.
Cologne, Germany – March 20-23 Visit SAS in Hall 4.2 Aisle C, No. 056
The countdown is on to Anuga FoodTec 2018, so put a date in your diary to visit Spice Application Systems’ stand at the exhibition and find out more about the latest electrostatic technology now available.
SAS will be showcasing its complete flavouring systems, with key benefits including:
- non-breakage of fragile products
- powder efficient applications
- less wastage
- unbeatable flavouring techniques
Electrostatic expert and SAS founder, Peter King, will be on hand to discuss how electrostatics can work for you and your range of food products. Email us now to book a dedicated appointment time or simply come along to Hall 4.2 Aisle C, No. 056 and see what we have on show.
Spice Application Systems, (SAS), has appointed Judith Hewitt as Managing Director, to be responsible for the day-to-day running of the business as well as business administration and a company director role.
Judith is a Fellow of the Institute of Administrative Management and has worked at SAS for the past four years as Personal Assistant to the company’s founder Peter King, during which time she has gained an in depth understanding of the electrostatic industry.
Peter King says: “Judith’s background covers a multitude of different business disciplines and her excellent organisations skills, attention to detail and specialist knowledge, means she will continue to be a huge asset to the company.”
Judith looks forward to working alongside Peter to build on the company’s success in China and Southern Asia as well as developing the company’s relationship with their existing European customer base.