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Upgraded co-extrusion unit boosts productivity for centre filled cereals

By Oliver Nieburg , 17-Nov-2011

Baker Perkins Group has introduced an upgraded pillow crimper for co-extrusion that it has said maintains consistency and increases production capacity for cereals and snacks with centre-fillings.

The company said the upgrade would allow manufacturers using the group’s CoEx Master System to change between shapes quicker, increase production capacity through additional streams and keep consistency between products.

A Pillow crimper is part of a co-extrusion line that lets manufacturers extrude two streams of products into one.

For example, a cereal manufacturer could have the outer casing of a cereal product, but with the inner filling of cream or fruit.

The unit known as a pillow crimper gives the shape to the product. Previous upgrades have created pillow crimpers which can make unique shapes, such as cat faces, when only squares and rectangles were possible in the past.

Keith Graham, marketing manager at Baker Perkins told BakeryAndSnacks.com that the current upgrade uses fewer tools and would allow manufacturers to change between shapes much quicker than previous versions.

He said test in Baker Perkins' factory have indicated that changeover times can be reduced.

“For cereals and snacks you are looking for interesting shapes. The need to change the line over is becoming more and more common. It adds interest and variety to the product,” he said.

Higher-value products

Graham said that many leading manufacturers were turning to centre-filled cereals and snacks to boost profits.

“Filled products have higher sales value. With co-extrusion, all of a sudden you have a line that is producing a much more valuable product,” he said.

Other co-extrusion machines are on the market, but Graham claims Baker Perkins offering is more consistent and gives better value, evidenced by a large number of leading manufacturers that use the machine.

“We would say that ours is better because we get much more accurate extrusion – you don’t get variations with the product,” he said.

Graham added there were possible applications for co-extrusion in confectionery. For example, a cereal pillow filled with fruit and then chocolate coated could be positioned as a confectionery product or one of a new breed of crossover products.

Production boost

The current upgrade takes the maximum number of streams from 8 to 12, boosting production capacity by 50%.

Graham said that companies with existing pillow crimpers with four streams could be upgraded to eight streams without replacing the machine, subject to extruder capacity. However, an upgrade to 8 to 12 streams would mean further investment.

The equipment is available worldwide.

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