Ingredient Transfer & Handling

Cutting-edge material handling technology ensures optimal ingredient transfer with a variety of pneumatic conveying methods

The systems engineers at Coperion and Coperion K-Tron can help to design the optimal ingredient transfer system for your operation, such as moving flour, starch or sugars from railcars, trucks or bulk bags, direct to the process. Pneumatic conveying systems are available for dilute or dense phase, as pressure or vacuum systems, each chosen to provide the most efficient and safe means of transfer for the process. Even the most difficult to handle materials can be transferred using such technologies as dehumidification systems for moisture free conveying as well as in-line sifting and metal detection to ensure safe process operations.

Typical materials include: Herbs, spices, spice blends, starches, bakery ingredients, flour, corn meal, sugar, salt, coffee beans and coffee powder, malt and hops, rice, tea, tobacco, soy beans, nuts, milk powders, whey powders, potato powder, cheese powders, infant formula/baby food, lactose, casein, pet food, snacks, popcorn, soft drink concentrate, bread crumbs, cocoa beans and powder.

Features and Benefits

  • High-precision material handling systems, feeders, and components which can be provided to the highest hygienic design standards for easy cleaning and maintenance
  • One single supplier for components and entire systems, which encompass all steps in the process
  • Extensive test facilities around the globe to provide support in finding solutions for handling even the most difficult-flowing ingredients
  • World-renowned technology for all phases of food and pet food material transfer operations as a result of research and development teams worldwide
  • A choice of options in several conveying technologies to ensure the most cost efficient and safe processes, tailored to suit the application
  • Sophisticated overall solutions which adhere to a wide variety of regulations and standards
  • Automation options for HAACP analysis, as well as complete mechanical and operational FAT and SAT protocols are all available, depending on the customer and process requirements

Typical conveying applications

Coperion and Coperion K-Tron integrate a wide variety of process steps into their completely automated systems including mixing, sifting and even extrusion utilizing Coperion’s high efficiency extruders. All control systems are custom designed with the most efficient process in mind, and include a variety of options such as batching and bar code reading/recording, recipe control and cleaning sequencing. Food grade designs are available in a variety of options depending on the type of cleaning required and material to be conveyed. Specialized designs are available for hazardous environments, in accordance with ATEX and NEC guidelines.

Typical conveying applications include:

  • Bulk bag, railcar, and silo unloading of major ingredients such as flour, salts, corn meal, sugar, gluten, etc.
  • Dense phase conveying of pre-blended materials to extruders or packaging lines
  • Dilute phase conveying of micro, minor, and major ingredients, via pressure or vacuum
  • Refill of loss-in-weight and volumetric feeders for continuous processes
  • Gentle conveying for fragile materials such as popcorn, pasta, candies and coffee beans
  • Multi-material conveying and batch weighing
  • Combined volumetric feeding and pneumatic conveying where space is limited

Application Examples

P100 batch weigh receiver with KT20
P100 Batch Weigh Receiver with KT20 feeder

Whether produced by batch or continuous processes, many food products require the precise combination of several major and minor ingredients. Typically major raw materials need to be conveyed from remote bulk storage and accurately weighed prior to an initial mixing operation. The application sheet linked below outlines the use of batch weigh receivers to combine the operations of conveying and weighing for major food ingredients.

Download the application sheet for more information:

A variety of food processes generally require various ingredients to be transferred to mixers and/or extruders. Depending on the percentage of each ingredient in the blend, materials are usually categorized as majors, minors and micros. In many cases the transfer and weighing of these ingredients can be a manual and tedious process. The application sheet linked below outlines the solutions provided by Coperion K-Tron to switch a baked snack foods manufacturer from manual transfer and weighing to a much more efficient automated process.

Download the application sheet for more information:

Gain-in-Weight Batching Station for a bakery installation in Indonesia
Gain-in-Weight Batching Station for a bakery installation in Indonesia

The manufacture of any blended food product typically involves the intermediate process steps of batching individual ingredients based upon their weight percentage in a blend. The application sheet linked below outlines the methods available for the automated transfer and weighing of ingredients. This includes pneumatic transfer methods by either vacuum or pressure, as well as batching via Gain-in-Weight (GIW) or Loss-in-Weight (LIW) batch devices to accurately and efficiently deliver the individual raw ingredients to the process.

Download the application sheet for more information:

Loss in Weight Feeders Feeding Spice Ingredients to Continuous Mixer
Loss-in-Weight Feeders feeding spice ingredients to continuous mixer

Continuous mixing is often used in the food and pet food industries for mixing dry powdered ingredients such as additives, flavors, macro ingredients, grains and cereals. The application sheet linked below shows how Coperion K-Tron Loss-in-Weight feeders operate in a continuous mixing process, and also outlines the requirements of an efficient refill in a continuous process of this kind.

Download the application sheet for more information:

Comprehensive Product Range

Combination K2-MV-T35 with P30

Feeding Equipment

Belt feeders and screw feeders for efficient transfer and ingredient weighing

The superior accuracy of Coperion K-Tron’s weighing technology combined with the most innovative belt feeder or single and twin screw feeder technology provides for highly accurate weighing in ingredient transfer lines. Our unique combined feeder and conveyor units provide consistent feeding in compact settings with height restrictions. Our belt feeders are ideal for continuous weighing of trail mix products for direct transfer to the packaging line.

Volumetric and gravimetric feeders

Material Handling

Components designed for easy cleanability, quick product changeover and operational reliability

Coperion and Coperion K-Tron’s material handling components are designed for a wide variety of food applications, including those subject to the most recent hygienic design and cleanability standards. Whether providing an easy-access bin vent for your silo, or a CIP design rotary airlock or diverter valve, our project engineers can offer a variety of options suitable for the process and application.

Process Equipment

Plants & Systems

Sophisticated Pneumatic conveying and material transfer solutions

Coperion and Coperion K-Tron offer a variety of systems and methods for the transfer of the most difficult to handle food ingredients:

  • Continuous pressure and vacuum systems
  • Dilute and dense phase conveying
  • Batch weighing and scaling

Systems can be designed either for delivering a single ingredient to multiple destinations or multiple ingredients to be delivered to a single destination. Our systems include our specialty conveying receivers as well as components in a variety of executions - from carbon steel to polished stainless steel designs with the capability of being washed or cleaned in place.

Plants & Systems
Coperion service technician


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 ingredient transfer and handling needs.

After Sales Service

Frequently Asked Questions

Which method is best for conveying food ingredients: Dilute or dense phase? Positive pressure or vacuum?

Food manufacturing facilities will typically include several pneumatic conveying types. The mode of transfer of raw ingredients or final product is dependent on many process parameters, including material characteristics, distance to be transferred, required rate of transfer, friability of product and/or segregation concerns. In the case of raw material delivery, the type of container in which the ingredient is originally received can also be a factor. For example, majors such as flour, grains, starches, and sugars are often received by truck or railcar and then stored in silos prior to usage. Pressure Differential (PD) trucks and railcars use positive pressure to unload material, whereas other types of delivery to the blending batching steps can involve either positive pressure or negative pressure. It is therefore important when choosing the conveying method that a full examination of several process parameters be completed, since different options can result in cost savings and efficiency improvements.

Positive pressure systems (see illustration below), are typically used to convey bulk materials from a single source to one or multiple destinations. This is done by use of a positive displacement blower blowing into material entry points located downstream. These entry points then meter each product into the conveying line by means of a rotary airlock valve which maintains the pressure differential between the ambient atmosphere and that of the conveying line. Material and air blown through the line exit at single or multiple use points where they are separated by means of a filter receiver or cyclone separator, or fed directly into process vessels. Positive pressure conveying systems are typically used to transport product over long distances and at high throughputs. Applications which involve pressure conveying often include loading and unloading of large volume vessels such as silos, bins, railcars, trucks, and bulk bags.

Conversely, negative pressure or vacuum systems are generally used for transporting material from multiple sources such as storage vessels, process equipment, bulk bags, trucks and railcars, to individual or multiple destinations and are used for lower volumes and shorter distances. Negative pressure is created by a positive displacement vacuum blower located at the downstream end of the system. Material can enter the system via bag dump stations equipped with rotary airlock valves, handheld pickup wands, and pickup hoppers. Material exits the system through filter receivers that separate the material from the conveying air directly above process equipment, surge hoppers, storage vessels or other discharge points. One of the advantages of vacuum systems is the inward suction created by the vacuum blower and reduction of any outward leakage of dust. This is one of the reasons why vacuum systems are often used in higher sanitary or dust containment applications. Another advantage of vacuum systems is the simple design for multiple pickup points. It should be noted, however, that the distances and throughputs possible with a vacuum system are limited due to the finite level of vacuum that can be generated.

Positive pressure system example

The illustration shows the most common configuration for a dense phase pressure vessel system when the objective is to reduce degradation or segregation of the material.


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Coperion K-Tron twin screw feeder feeding a food grade powder

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