The German Agricultural Society (DLG) has announced the winners of the International FoodTec Awards 2024, honouring 14 innovation projects – among them, Hosokawa Alpine have won a silver medal for their Sugarplex SX Flow.
The solution is suited for the one-step production of shelf-stable icing sugar. Icing sugar has a wide range of applications within the bakery and confectionery industries. When granulated sugar is ground with conventional methods, a common issue is that icing sugar clumps together after leaving the mill.
“This leads to difficulties with further processing and also when used as decoration for confectionery,” explained Dr Stefan Klettenhammer, Sales Manager at Hosokawa Alpine.
As a result, additives such as starch to prevent agglomeration are required for the storage of stable icing sugar or systems such as mixing containers to keep it in motion. “Complex downstream conditioning processes such as cooling and heating screws are also used,” said Dr Klettenhammer.
With the Sugarplex SX Flow, the company has developed a space- and energy-saving solution that eliminates the need for additives to prevent clumping in icing sugar. It is based on precise process engineering adjustments for the conditioning requirements in the milling vessel.
“During the grinding process, a conditioned ambient atmosphere is created in the Sugarplex SX Flow, whose defined moisture content of the air and retention time of the freshly ground icing sugar in the mill housing is precisely controlled,” explained Dr Klettenhammer.
The freshly crushed sugar crystals can therefore be converted into a stable and crystallised form in a controlled process step. “And without any spontaneous agglomeration,” he emphasised.
The system is an airless concept with no downstream filter or fan, meaning that no fine dust is released into the environment. Alongside the compressed air used as purge air or conditioning air, only demineralised water is used as an additional medium for the process. “No additional motorised blower is required, which translated into generally very low costs for the system in terms of energy and maintenance,” concluded Dr Klettenhammer.
The Sugarplex SX Flow meets the sugar industry’s demand for a simplified and flexible process for producing shelf-stable sugar. This kind of solution was honoured by being awarded a silver medal by an international jury of experts. Since 1994, the DLG has honoured pioneering developments in innovation, sustainability and efficiency in the field of food technology. The official presentation of the technology award will take place at Anuga FoodTec in March 2024.
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