Rapid Ribbon Mixing for Tate and Lyle

John R Boone have supplied a high-specification, easy-clean Helical Blade mixer to Tate and Lyle’s food ingredients factory in Mold, North Wales. 

The 250Kg capacity mixer has been constructed to meet the factory’s stringent hygiene and safety standards in stainless steel, with ‘u-trough’ adaptations for rapid discharge, larger batch sizes and full-width top doors for easy cleaning that include special safety interlocks.

JR Boone made a strong commercial case, which was followed up with trials performed at JR Boone’s pilot scale plant at their Congleton factory. As Brian Jones, Tate & Lyle’s Engineering Manager, put it; “I have known JR Boone for many years, and they have proved their ability to support us technically, both here and in our factories overseas. We ran supervised trials, with the mixed products then going through our full QC test procedure, which they passed successfully”.

Tate and Lyle manufacture high-purity food additives and ingredients in hundreds of different types, including some made to the highest Kosher and Halal standards. Therefore when they were looking at replacing an old mixer their key objectives included improving the ease of cleaning and speed of changeover.

John R Boone have a great international track record with Tate and Lyle, with Delta Blade high shear mixers already in place in Mold, Lubeck in Germany and Brisbane Australia.

Along with other manufacturers, JR Boone were invited to tender for the project, JR Boone proposing one of their well-proven horizontal helical blade mixers (HHBM). HHBM mixers are available from as little as a 50L capacity all the way up to 10,000L. For this application, a relatively small 500L unit was recommended.

The HHBM mixer has four mixing elements forming an interrupted spiral, with very precisely calculated geometry and a short length compared to its width; that gives the mixer substantial advantages over conventional ribbon or spiral mixers. The slow-moving mixer arms gently lift and fold the blend end-to-end, in an action that is so efficient that ‘trace’ components can be added directly to the mix with no need to pre-mix.

As mentioned above, the factory has very strict requirements for clean-down between mixes. The JR Boone mixer was fitted with two full-width doors to make it easy to clean every inch of the mixer interior, so much so that cleaning only requires around ten minutes. To make it easier and safer, the doors are counterbalanced and fitted with quick-release catches. JR Boone also met the Tate & Lyle safety system requirements with the addition of a captive key system, a system that interlocks the lids of the mixer with the mixer drive, so the mixer can’t start with the lid open.

The HHBM is designed to discharge quickly: the two outer spirals sweep the entire shell with every revolution so there is only a very minimal amount of material remaining in the mixer after the batch. An added advantage is the ‘U’ shaped mixer trough which provides additional mixing capacity over a standard omega shell, giving a 600L batch size to accommodate lower density ingredients.