Pursuit Dynamics plc

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Pursuit Dynamics plc is showcasing its new PDX Sonic batch processing system at Stand 151, Hall B5 during Drinktec 2005, Sept. 12-17 in Munich, Germany.

Engineered to meet the needs of the drinks industry, the PDX Sonic is a self-contained, fully integrated processing system that uses low-pressure supersonic ‘shockwave’ technology to achieve dramatically increased throughput and energy savings. It is capable of delivering significant improvements in the dispersion of artificial sweeteners and gums, and is ideally suited to beverage manufacturers who need to add syrups, flavorings, sweeteners, colorings, stabilizers and gums to the process flow. The system also reduces sugar dissolution time by as much as 50 percent.

The PDX Sonic also enable beverage processors to move from batch production to continuous processing, with a significant reduction in the amount of cleaning required between different recipes. This makes the production of relatively small volumes more cost-effective, giving manufacturers a level of flexibility not previously possible. It simplifies the production of trial quantities, enabling market testing to be carried out more quickly and for successful new products to be brought to market faster than ever before.

Supersonic ‘Shockwave’ technology

PDX Sonic replaces conventional multi-stage drinks production processes with a self-contained production system that uses supersonic ‘shockwave’ technology to mix, pump, homogenise and heat ingredients simultaneously. The core technology has no constrictions or moving parts to block and is exceptionally easy to clean. Not only is the PDX Sonic suitable for use within a CIP system, but it can also act as the pump and heat source for a CIP circuit. The technology is protected by 28 patents (both granted and pending).

Sugar dissolution

As part of the manufacture of soft drinks and ‘alco pops’ there is usually a requirement to dissolve large quantities of sugar in water — a process that is both difficult and time-consuming on an industrial scale. The water has to be heated considerably to increase the solubility of the sugar, and the mixture has to be stirred vigorously to ensure thorough mixing. By its very nature, the PDX Sonic rapidly heats and agitates mixtures. Its versatility allows it to process particulate liquids at a very high but controllable rate. A PDX Sonic has a much smaller footprint than a traditional steam-jacket apparatus and most significantly it can reduce the amount of time taken to dissolve the sugar in water by 50 per cent.

Dissolution of artificial sweeteners and thickening agents

Dissolving powdered artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, Acesulfame K and saccharin and thickening agents presents a number of problems to most drinks processors. However, the PDX Sonic system allows ingredients to be simultaneously wetted, hydrated and dispersed, thereby eliminating the need for any pre-mixing. Agglomerations are dispersed as they pass through the supersonic region of the PDX unit. With full dissolution, consistent quality and maximized yield are achieved and the need for costly integrated stabilizers is eliminated.

In trials conducted using a PDX system with a 25mm bore, a 1.3% concentration of aspartame was fully dissolved in a single pass at a continuous rate of 14,500 litres/hour of solution, with an exit temperature of 38.5 degrees C. Based on an industry-average steam cost of £0.01/kg the energy cost for this process was less than £2/hour.

The process is scalable either by using multiple units of the same size or a single unit with a larger bore.

Dispersion of gums

PDX Sonic will also benefit companies using thickening agents such as xanthan gum and pectin or stabilisers such as CMC (sodium carboxyl methyl cellulose), guar gum and gum Arabic as part of their process. Dissolving these powdered ingredients is often problematic, as they can be slow to hydrate. Often, the base liquid must be heated in order to accomplish full hydration, which consumes valuable process time and energy. Powders that are insufficiently hydrated can build up on vessel walls, leading to a requirement to clean the vessel and dispose of the spent ingredients. In addition, wastage occurs when processors overdose the ingredients to compensate for the incomplete hydration. Conversely, a reduced yield may have to be accepted.

As with the dissolution of gums or artificial sweeteners, several ingredients can be simultaneously wetted and hydrated, thereby eliminating the need for pre-mixing. Agglomerations are dispersed as they pass through the supersonic region of the PDX unit. In trials performed using a PDX system with a 25mm bore, the following concentrations of powders were processed: 1.1% CMC (12,000 litres/hour), 1.7% guar gum (13,000 litres/hour), 12.4% maltodextrin (12,000 litres/hour), 9% pectin (10,000 litres/hour), 21.4% purity gum (9,000 litres/hour) and 1.5-2.0% xanthan (12,000 litres/hour).

Pursuit Dynamics' U.S. sales office address:

Pursuit Dynamics plc
30 Old Kings Highway South
Suite 224
Darien, Conn. 06820
Tel: (203) 202-2128
Fax: (203) 202-1608
Email: USsales@pursuitdynamics.com

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