New infusion steam system revolutionises processes

Zambia-based beverage manufacture, Dairy Gold, a subsidiary of Trade Kings, recently launched a new system to hydrate maize flour for the manufacture of drinks. Commissioned for OAL Group, the new OAL Steam Infusion system is said to give the manufacturer a competitive advantage while reducing operating
costs and improving product quality.Trade Kings Limited is a prominent FMCG manufacturer in Zambia and
one of the major manufacturers in the region. Having sold its drinks business to SABMiller in 2009, Dairy
Gold wished to re-enter the market in 2015 with a new beverage offering. It decided to launch a new brand of highly nutritious maize based drink, called Ama Sipsip.
Winani Chiwowa, manufacturing director at Trade Kings, says the company was looking to re-enter the market with a maheu product as well as a variety of other ambient drinks: “Our company was seriously considering re-entering the market but needed to do this with products and processes which were superior to our competitors as well as being cost effective in this very demanding market place.”
Chiwowa says Dairy Gold has a good understanding of traditional processing technologies and was in search of new technologies to provide the competitive advantages for their new venture. “Reentering
the market, we believed there was a big opportunity to dramatically reduce operating costs and improve
product quality. Following many tests,we decided on the OAL Steam Infusion Vaction technology system from
OAL Group, a United Kingdom based company.”
Steam Infusion is a low risk cooking process that heats, mixes and cooks liquid based food products fast and efficiently.
Jake Norman, sales and marketing manager at OAL Group, says the system can manufacture 15,000 litres of maheu an hour, using only one 5,000 litre vessel to hydrate maize flour. He says: “OAL Group designed, built and commissioned Dairy Gold’s new hydration system in Zambia. Using patented Vaction™ technology, the steam infusion system can hydrate maize flour up to concentrations of 12%, at a rate of 15,000 litres per hour using only one 5,000 litre vessel. The maize slurry produced is then fermented at 60˚C for two hours before continuously passing through two steam infusion Vaction units to heat the final product to 90˚C, before filling.
“The first stage compromises a large batch vessel with recirculation routes and a powder entrainment system. This system is designed to batch liquid ingredients, entrain 500kg of powders into a five tonne batches, and heat it up to 80°C in 20 minutes. The recirculation routes consist of two Vaction units in parallel that allow for in-line heating and routing of the product to the next stage of processing. The second phase takes the product from the fermentation stage and brings it to temperature before final processing and packaging. This stage is completed using a continuous production system via two Vaction units in series. The control system can vary operating conditions of the steam infusion technology to provide a consistent product output temperature.”
Norman says the steam infusion realises significant business benefits: “Steam Infusion does not expose product to excess temperatures because of the partial vacuum generated in the Vaction unit, improving product quality by eliminating burn on contamination. There are also no moving parts, making the process inherently easy to clean and maintain.”
Flexible manufacturing
Due to consumers’ changing preferences, products that are both smooth and gritty need to be manufactured using the same equipment. By altering the steam flow rate through the Vaction unit, the level of shear can be increased and decreased, allowing manufacturers to change the characteristics of the final product.
Concludes Chiwowa: “The installed system is simpler with fewer stages compared to traditional methods. Previously a maize slurry was premixed by hand before heating in a vessel with a steam jacket or a steam coil. The new steam infusion system instantly hydrates maize flour on a single recirculation system. Dairy Gold has also benefited from energy savings and lower maize processing costs due to a significant reduction in capital equipment and energy efficiency. The ability to increase our maize concentration means we can create a higher quality product.”
OAL Group: Tel +44 1733 394 700; sales@oalgroup.com; www.oalgroup.com
Trade Kings Zambia: Tel +260 211 286 117 /27; info@tradekings.co.zm; www.tradekingszambia.com