One of the world’s largest cereal factories is located in a famed industrial park in northwest England. World famous breakfast cereals have been made here daily since the 1930s. About 600 people are employed in its offices, expansive production and warehousing facilities. In the United Kingdom alone, the plant makes enough cereal to fill a billion breakfast bowls each year. For the rest of the world, the plant produces more than 120,000 tons of cereal annually.
When working on a global scale, every drop of product in the process matters. In addition to the grains, flavor coatings are sprayed on the surface of the cereals while they are being created. These flavor ingredients can be costly, so every drop counts.
The Challenge of Making a Great Cereal
After shaping and drying, the cereal can be coated with vitamins, minerals, sweeteners and flavors—such as fruit juices, sugar, syrup or honey. To reduce the cost of layering these flavor coatings on cereals, the cereal maker in northwest England wanted a system that applied its flavorings evenly, without waste.
Most important was that the system chosen did not clog or sputter. This problem could cause the production line to waste material, slow production or have to be shut down to repair the situation—a worst case scenario.
In addition, wasted spray coatings could end up in the plant’s effluent collection system. This system gathers any runoff in the production process and treats it so that it does not impact local waterways or the general environment.
As the company looked to update its production to eliminate waste and reduce water treatment costs, it decided the best approach was to conduct tests on different pumps used in production.
Following many trials and test runs, the experienced food manufacturing engineers at the plant determined that if they had a pump that predictably controlled the rate of flavor application, they could better manage this crucial step in the production of their cereal brands. It also meant that they could save money on the all-important coatings and have less collected waste to process.