Batch weighing, continuous dispensing and gentle transfer of even the most challenging blended dry beverage powders and raw materials

Powdered drink mixes, coffees and teas, and ingredients for specialty beer manufacturing require accurate material handling and very gentle conveying methods in order to prevent product attrition in the transfer line or desegregation of the blends. The specialized equipment and systems from Coperion K-Tron and Coperion provide for highly accurate and efficient transfer of a wide variety of beverage types.

Whether batching powdered soft drink concentrates, or gently transferring roasted coffee beans, beer hops, flavor additives, or tea blends - the systems provided by Coperion and Coperion K-Tron implement the most versatile and efficient processes to guarantee product integrity and process safety.

In addition, Coperion provides the ZSK twin screw extruders which are used to produce the encapsulated flavors often found in beverage and tea blends.

Features and Benefits

  • Batch weighing systems incorporate Coperion K-Tron’s state-of-the-art SFT digital weighing technology, which delivers the highest accuracy weight measurements needed for maintaining control of costly ingredients.
  • The compact, sophisticated and innovative system designs provided by Coperion and Coperion K-Tron master the material handling and transferring challenges in the beverage industry by implementing cutting-edge automation technologies.
  • Sensitive materials such as coffee beans, tea leaves, and beer hops can all be conveyed gently and efficiently using Coperion K-Tron's and Coperion’s advanced dense phase conveying techniques.
  • Sanitary designs and quick changeover designs are available for the complete beverage product line, allowing for easy cleaning and operation, even for a three-shift operation.
  • Coperion K-Tron’s unique enclosed Weigh Belt Feeder can be used for high-rate addition of drink blends to the packaging line in cases where attrition or desegregation may be a concern with screw feeders.
  • The specialty material handling components, including rotary valves and diverter valves available from Coperion, can be easily integrated into a wide variety of beverage transfer applications. They are ideal for quick cleaning, which is especially beneficial when dealing with difficult blends such as soft drink concentrates.

Application Examples

WZK Two-Way Diverter Valve with smooth and easy to clean product contact surfaces

Soft drinks typically are comprised of water, carbonation, and a flavor concentrate in powder or syrup form. Limits on the shelf life of the end product lead manufacturers to produce and bottle drinks locally. Since the concentrates typically have a longer shelf life, they can be produced centrally and then shipped locally for distribution to multiple bottling plants. The concentrate recipes can vary greatly, depending upon the market requirements of the local bottling plant. Therefore, the system provided in this application was also required to be versatile, with the capability of the controls system to handle a wide variety of raw ingredients all in varied amounts. This application process describes a completely automated material handling and measuring system based on the gain-in-weight batching principle for the production of these various concentrate recipes.

Download the application sheet for more information:

Smart Weigh Belt feeder combined with vacuum receiver, buffer hopper and Aerolock rotary pre-feeder

In today’s market food manufacturers have become extremely sensitive to the effect of exact product feeding and ingredient delivery to the process. An improvement of even 0.25% in ingredient feeding can equate to thousands of dollars saved in long term operating costs, as well as valuable improvements in overall product quality. For this reason, when the requirement for a contained, low profile, highly accurate metering solution for delivering powdered drink mix to the packaging process arose, this food manufacturer turned to Coperion K-Tron for a solution. The application sheet linked below outlines the process for transfer and accurate delivery direct to the packaging line.

Download the application sheet for more information:

One of the fastest growing markets in the beverages industry is the production of specialty craft breweries. The conveying of barley and other ingredients (such as orange peels, flavor additives, etc.) direct to the brew tanks requires gentle conveying in order to avoid destruction of the integrity of the ingredient and thus a negative effect on the overall beer flavor. The systems provided by Coperion and Coperion K-Tron for these applications include extremely complex multi-recipe conveying systems for large breweries, as well as simple up-and-in applications for the smaller ones. The application sheet (coming soon) will outline the options available for conveying of these ingredients from either truck or bulk bag direct to the brew tank. For immediate information, please contact your local representative.

The coffee industry is expanding quickly, and an integral part of this expansion is the automation of material handling in the process line. The systems provided by Coperion and Coperion K-Tron ensure the most cost effective design for handling throughout the coffee manufacturing process, including transfer of the raw bean to and from the roasters, all the way to the grinders and packaging lines. In each of these applications, specialty components are used to minimize attrition in the line as well as maintain the internal flavor of the roasted bean. This application sheet (coming soon) will describe a wide variety of unit operations in the coffee manufacturing process. For immediate information, please contact your local representative.

Refer to the Typical Process Flow Diagrams below for an example of coffee conveying and storage.

Comprehensive Product Range

Food Extruders

Flavor Encapsulation for Tea Blends and Drink Mixes

Coperion’s line of ZSK extruders excels in the production of specialty flavor profiles such as those used in tea blends and drink mixes. Difficult materials such as lemon and citrus oils can be easily encapsulated using Coperion’s efficient extrusion technology, and then added to the final packaged product.

Read more about this process on the Flavor Blends page.

Food Extruders
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Feeding Equipment

Loss in Weight or Gain in Weight Dispensing for Accurate Ingredient delivery

Coperion K-Tron’s twin screw, single screw and weigh belt feeders are all ideally suited for the dispensing and batching of flavor blends to the packaging line.

Weigh belt feeders are the perfect solution where headroom is limited, or when feeding friable material that may be damaged by other feeding methods. These feeders achieve the same accuracies as loss-in-weight screw feeder designs. For sticky or challenging blends, such as sugar concentrates, an optional second weigh bridge with continuous taring ensures that neither dust buildup nor product buildup on the weighing device impacts overall accuracy.

Volumetric and Gravimetric Feeders

Material Handling

Easy-clean components design ensures quick cleaning and changeover

The material handling components provided by Coperion and Coperion K-Tron, including rotary valves, diverter valves and bag dump stations, are all designed with quick cleaning and product changeover in mind. Our extensive experience in handling frequent washdowns ensures that the complete material handling system or individual component is engineered with ease of cleaning and maintenance in mind.

Process Equipment
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Plants & Systems

Custom systems design for a wide variety of difficult to handle powders and ingredients

Each material handling solution is custom developed according to the process application, whether it involves transfer of roasted coffee beans or batch weighing of drink concentrates. Our global systems group excels in designing complex recipe control systems for even the most delicate and difficult to handle ingredient or blend.

Plants & Systems
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Service

Superior Global Service

Our global service personnel possess extensive material handling and process design knowledge for these special hygienic applications and are available 24/7 to assist you with your beverages and drink mix process needs.

After Sales Service

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better for ingredient batching – gain-in-weight (GIW) or loss-in-weight (LIW)?

Both LIW feeders and GIW feeding systems can be used in batching systems but they work in different ways. These differences typically make the LIW feeder better suited for dispensing ingredients with high accuracy requirements.

The LIW feeder is suspended from or rests on high resolution load cells and dispenses powder into the receiving vessel at a rate based upon sensing the feeder’s loss in weight. The LIW feeder’s weight sensing device provides high speed high resolution weight loss measurements of the powder in the feeder hopper. A graphic depiction of a LIW batching application with two LIW feeders simultaneously dispensing ingredients into a vessel is shown below in Figure A.

The GIW feeding system includes one or more volumetric feeders above a hopper that is suspended from high capacity load cells or rests on a high capacity floor scale. The volumetric feeders can be hoppers with rotary valves, screw feeders or other mechanical feed devices. Each volumetric feeder sequentially dispenses powder at a rate based upon sensing the gain in weight of the entire hopper and its contents. In the GIW batching application shown below in Figure B, two volumetric feeders sequentially dispense ingredients into the hopper below.

Which feeder type is best for your batching application depends on several factors, including the total batch size, the number of ingredients in the batch, your desired batching time, each ingredient’s flow characteristics, and your applications accuracy requirements.  When the batch ingredients include high cost items, such as probiotics, vitamins, costly flavors, etc., feeding accuracy can be a critical factor in determining whether the LIW or GIW batching method is best.

Here’s why:  With a GIW feeding system, a volumetric feeder dispenses a powder into the receiving vessel mounted on load cells, which must detect the weight of ingredient addition as well as the full weight of the receiving vessel and the powder it already contains (in other words the full scale capacity). Because most high capacity load cells and floor scales don’t have enough speed or resolution to detect the additional weight of a small amount of powder relative to the much larger overall weight of the receiving vessel (e.g. hopper, reactor, mixer, etc.) and its contents, a GIW system’s expected batching accuracy is typically +/- 0.5% of full scale capacity. However, a LIW feeder can achieve batching accuracies of +/- 0.1% of the batch set point. This is because the LIW feeder’s operation depends on sensing only the weight of the ingredient being fed, rather than the much larger weight of the receiving vessel and all of its contents, and the LIW feeder's high-speed load cells provide very high resolution (typically 1 part in 4 million).

The LIW feeder can also speed up your batching operation. When a GIW system handles an application with multiple ingredients, multiple volumetric feeders (one per ingredient) must dispense the ingredients one at a time into the receiving vessel because the vessel is weighed for each ingredient. In contrast, multiple LIW feeders can all dispense their ingredients at the same time into the vessel because each ingredient is weighed as it is dispensed. This significantly cuts the total batching time.

Be aware, however, that using LIW feeders for all the ingredients in a multi ingredient batch can be expensive.  A cost saving option may be to select a system that includes both GIW and LIW equipment. The GIW system can handle the lower cost macro ingredients that have lower accuracy requirements. The LIW feeders can dispense the more costly micros and minors, that have higher accuracy requirements or can dispense ingredients in large quantities, thus cutting the total batching time.

GWB vs LWB Principles

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Coperion K-Tron Smart Weigh Belt Feeder

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Dense phase conveying of coffee beans

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