Sign up for the Coperion newsletter to receive the latest updates

Saratoga Food Specialties

Automated feeding and material transfer for efficiency and improved product quality

Saratoga Food Specialties, IL, USA, contacted Coperion K-Tron for the automation of their dry seasoning blend operation. Saratoga has been developing and producing unique and quality dry seasoning blends for over 60 years. With a product array of over 500 different blends, a growing customer base, and a goal to deliver consistent output through facilities optimization, Saratoga quickly realized the need to automate their dry seasoning blend operation.

The original method of production for the seasoning blend included labor intensive batch weighing and transfer of each of the individual ingredients as well as the addition of fiber to the final blend prior to packaging. All weighing and transfer of these ingredients was done manually. This operation had limited flexibility in capacity and also required long production time due to the manual stages of the process. In addition, when recipe changes were required for the different blends, the changeover time further extended the production time.

In response to Saratoga’s request, Coperion K-Tron’s overall system design includes a two stage blending step with the primary preblend of spices done in a batch blender. This preblend is then conveyed pneumatically directly from the blender via dense phase vacuum conveying to a Coperion K-Tron vacuum receiver above a Coperion K-Tron loss-in-weight feeder. 

A second processing line, complete with a mechanical conveyor transfers the fiberous material directly to a second loss-in-weight feeder. Both feeders are controlled through individual Coperion K-Tron Control Modules (KCM’s) with direct links to an overriding HMI, the K-Vision™ Line Controller, complete with recipe control.

Depending upon the recipe chosen, the control system directs the correct proportion of spice blend/fiber to be delivered by the loss-in-weight feeders to the continuous mixer below. The highly accurate load cells of the Coperion K-Tron feeders ensure that the precise amount of ingredients is supplied to the process without excess or waste. The two loss-in-weight feeders supplied include a single screw and a twin screw design, with one being constantly refilled by a flexible screw conveyor, and the other via the Coperion K-Tron pneumatic conveying system. Consistent refill of the loss-in-weight-feeder and correct integration into the overall material handling system is imperative in order to achieve efficient product quality.

The accurate and efficient system as provided by Coperion K-Tron has improved the overall versatility of the seasoning line, and has also allowed us to meet the growing capacity demands of our customers.

Jim Bejna , Director of Operations, Saratoga Food Specialties

The added ability to control required set points and ingredient proportions through the Coperion K-Tron controller allows for added versatility, with the ability to change recipes quickly and easily. Most importantly, the automated transfer of all the components reduces labor and overall process time, while allowing Saratoga to more than triple their capacity in the production line, with a significant increase from 2,000 lb/hr to 6,250 lb/hr.

Today’s food manufacturers are continually striving for methods to maintain and improve product quality while controlling overall manufacturing costs. Saratoga Food Specialties is a prime example of a food processor succeeding by utilizing highly accurate Coperion K-Tron loss-in-weight feeders and the automation of material handling. This resulted in tripling their existing line capacity.

By accurately controlling the seasoning delivery, there is significant reduction in the delivery of excess ingredients, thus also controlling high value ingredient cost and improving overall product. The added transition from a manual to an automated transfer of product has allowed Saratoga to significantly increase their production capacity. As stated by Jim Bejna, Director of Operations, Saratoga Food Specialties, “The accurate and efficient system as provided by Coperion K-Tron has improved the overall versatility of the seasoning line, and has also allowed us to meet the growing capacity demands of our customers. In addition, the added reliability of the Coperion K-Tron control system provides a validatable method of feedback that the system is making product correctly, in both product quality and required quantities.“

Subscribe to the Coperion Newsletter