For nearly a decade, an Iowa-based dairy processor had been using Tri-Blender-style equipment to make chocolate milk sold in individual containers at schools and in pints and half gallon containers at retail stores. However, the processor found using the Tri-Blender required them to add extra cocoa powder to the process to get the right mix of chocolate milk.
Typically, the processor would fill a batch tank with 4,200 gallons of milk and begin recirculating it through the Tri-Blender. While recirculating, they would first add 3,100 lbs of liquid sugar and then add 700 lbs of cocoa powder.
Over the years, they had become accustomed to having cocoa powder settle out in their batch tank after processing. Because cocoa powder tends to clump when it gets wet, it is difficult to disperse and the processor had to recirculate the mixture for an extended amount of time while adding extra cocoa powder to get the right mix.
Then, after emptying their batch tank, they would still find a mud slick of undissolved cocoa powder at the bottom of the tank. About 30 lbs of cocoa powder, valued at $150, was being washed down the drain and wasted at the end of each run.
When Fristam learned of their problem, they suggested the processor replace their Tri-Blender with a Fristam Powder Mixer. The Fristam Powder Mixer is known for providing quick and efficient powder induction and dispersion in to a liquid stream, often on the first pass. The model Fristam recommended was their Powder Mixer 20-53, a midsized model.
The processor followed their same process of recirculating the milk then adding the liquid sugar and then the cocoa powder down the funnel of the Powder Mixer. They found they could add the cocoa powder faster with the Powder Mixer as they had no issues with plugging the funnel. Not only that, but the Powder Mixer fully dispersed the cocoa on the first pass, before it even got back to the tank and reduced the actual induction time by 30%. No additional circulation or cocoa powder was needed. After processing the batch and pumping out the batch tank, they found the bottom of the tank to be clean and free of wasted cocoa powder and the chocolate milk mix was perfect.
The key is the higher level of agitation the FS Shear Blender, a Fristam component in the Powder Mixer, provides. The FS Shear Blender uses high tip speeds and close clearances to create effective, highly turbulent mixing.
Since the processor was producing 3 batches a day, saving 30 lbs of cocoa powder per batch, valued at $150 each, equated to a weekly savings of $2,250 and a yearly savings of $117,000.
In the end, the Powder Mixer paid for itself quickly by saving the processor time, energy and ingredients while still producing a well-mixed, delicious product.