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Lean IBC Mixing a success at Hero baby foods

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With the help of Matcon IBC and Lean IBC Mixing, Hero Spain have enjoyed rapid growth and increased market share, particularly in the consumer segments of baby food and nutritional specialities.

Matcon IBC have been an integral part of the significant Lean manufacturing upgrade at Hero's baby food plant in Alcantarilla, Spain. The purpose of this upgrade was to meet increased market demand, whilst ensuring the plant was ready to face the ever more demanding hygiene, allergenic and ATEX regulations.

The Problem was bottleneck:

  • Due to the complex composition, which range from very small ingredients up to relatively large amounts, pre-mixing has for many years been established as the most efficient operating method.
  • It has however been a painfully slow and labour intensive operation to produce the pre-mixes, with a lot of clean-down time required between different batches there were also concerns with product Allergens.
The Solution was lean mixing:
  • The alternative mixing method now implemented removes the need for cleaning the Mixer ‘completely’.
  • Instead of trying to wash down a fixed installed mixing vessel, the product contact hopper (IBCs) is removed from the mixing cage and can be transferred to the next process stage or packing.
  • The mixer itself is then available to mix the next batch immediately after finishing the first; even if there are concerns over allergens or strong taste/scent contamination from the previous batch.
IBC Mixing and how it works:

In conventional mixing, the various ingredients are filled into a static mixing chamber. Within this chamber, the product gets mixed typically by rotating baffles or by tumbling the chamber itself. With IBC Mixing, the mixing vessel(s) is mobile and filled “off-line”. On demand the particular formula is inserted into the mixer cage and removed after 10-15 minutes mixing. The mixer is then instantly ready to accept the next IBCs with the same, or a totally different formula.

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