‘Disruptive change’ group set for PPMA show launch

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Maheu is made on the hydration system at Dairy Gold in Zambia
Maheu is made on the hydration system at Dairy Gold in Zambia

Related tags Maize Better

A new consortium called ‘Food is Life’, which aims to introduce ‘disruptive change’ to the food industry in Africa, is being launched at this month’s Processing & Packaging Machinery Association (PPMA) show.

The launch by OAL Group, formerly known as Olympus Automation, follows the installation at Zambian beverage manufacturer Dairy Gold of OAL’s novel steam infusion technology to hydrate maize flour during the production of traditional Maheu drinks.

Dairy Gold, which had up to 2008 been in the Zambian drinks market using traditional processing technologies, was in search of new technologies for a new venture which would give it a competitive edge by reducing operating costs and improving product quality.

Superior and cost effective

“Our company was considering re-entering the market but needed to do this with a product and process which was superior to our competitors’ as well as being cost effective in this very demanding market place,”​ said Dairy Gold process development director Winani Chowa.

“We are producing a superior Maheu product and a variety of other ambient drinks, which are also being exported to many other African countries.”

Chowa will be speaking at the Food is Life launch at the PPMA show, which takes place at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham from September 29 to October 1.

Dairy Gold chose steam infusion after testing showed it improved product quality and reduced the system footprint and processing times of maize and other grains.

Steam infusion

The steam infusion system can hydrate maize flour up to concentrations of 12%, at a rate of 15,000 litres an hour using only one 5,000 litre vessel. The maize slurry produced is then fermented at 60°C for two hours before passing through two Vaction units to heat the product to 90°C before filling.

The units inject steam at a rate exceeding 1,000m/s, generating a partial vacuum in the unit. This prevents exposure to excess temperatures and improves product quality by eliminating burn-on contamination.

Products that are both smooth and gritty need to be made on the same kit. By altering the steam flow rate through the Vaction unit, the level of shear can be increased and decreased allowing the characteristics of the final product to be changed.

Related topics Dairy

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