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Just-in-time mixing

Silverson Flashblend mixing system improves production

Silver Spring Soft Drinks is the largest independently owned soft drinks manufacturer in the UK. In addition to their own brands, they manufacture own-label products for all of the major UK food retailers and export throughout Europe.

Established in 1870, Silver Spring has always embraced and pioneered new technology and their twelve acre site in Folkestone is one of the most technologically advanced in the industry. One of the latest improvements has been in the syrup production process, where a Silverson Flashblend powder/liquid mixing system has been installed for dispersing and hydrating functional ingredients. These are prepared in concentrated solutions, however the long mixing times previously required to produce each batch meant that it was a race against time to keep up with the rest of production. “We needed to begin making up gum solutions hours in advance to get a head start, because it sometimes took over an hour to complete a batch,” explains Tom Geldard, syrup room team leader. “With the Flashblend, we can make a batch twice the size in about seven minutes. Gum solutions can now be prepared on a just-in-time basis and we can use the unit for other ingredients such as aspartame, citric acid and maltodextrin.”

Silverson Machines designed the Flashblend for high speed entraining and instant dispersion of powders into liquids, especially problematic ingredients such as gums and thickeners, caseinates, flour, starches, powdered milk, etc. An agglomerate-free, homogeneous dispersion can be produced in a single pass, with powder incorporation rates of up to 15,000Kg/hr. The range includes 3 production models and a pilot-scale unit. Silverson also has the capacity to customize mixers to individual customer’s needs, and the model supplied to Silver Spring incorporates a number of special features specifically designed for their process.

At Silver Spring, the Flashblend has taken the strain off one of the critical stages in manufacturing. “These ingredients are only a very small percentage of the finished product but the improvements to the process make a huge amount of difference,” comments Tom Geldard. “The Flashblend gives us the flexibility to react quickly to the needs of production.” And when production exceeds a million liters per day, that’s quite an advantage.