Sifting or screening is a mechanical process that separates material according to individual particle size. The QA36 sifter enables the operator to monitor the product being processed for oversize impurities and is applicable to ingredients such as wheat flour, whole meal products, wheat germ, durum semolina, corn flour and corn meals, oat flour, granulated sugar, salt, potato flakes, starch and gluten, claims the firm. The manufacturer said the QA36 is suitable for all processors handling bulk ingredients and that it offers greater capacity than the previous version, the QA24, as it can sift 500lbs (226.8 kg) per minute on soft wheat flour and over 650lbs (294.8 kg) per minute on hard wheat flour using a 30 mesh screen. Cost savings The QA36 sifter is an In-Line sifter, which means it can be directly inserted in a pressure or vacuum conveying line, said Great Western's sales manager, Bob Ricklefs. According to Ricklefs, In-Line sifters offer savings for processors as additional equipment such as cyclones, airlocks, hoppers, receivers, secondary blowers and dust collection machines, used with the more traditional gravity flow sifters, are no longer required. "Eliminating the need to go from one conveying state to another and back again saves a great deal of costly equipment," Ricklefs told FoodProductionDaily.com "Not only are the initial system investment and installation costs substantially lower, the on-going operation, maintenance and sanitation expenses over the life of the system are reduced," he added. Quality assuranceThe reduction in the amount of equipment required in the In-Line sifter system limits the potential for product contamination, thus making them the machine of choice for many quality assurance applications, claims Ricklefs. "Sifters serve an important role in quality assurance systems simply by removing oversize material and filth, helping to prevent products from being labelled as adulterated," he said. "When used on incoming ingredients, sifters allow processors to monitor their suppliers and ensure that they are manufacturing, storing and transporting under sanitary conditions; and, at the same time, ensure that ingredients in use are on-spec," added Ricklefs. MaintenanceAccording to Ricklefs, the QA36 also enables easy dismantling through its pneumatic sieve clamping system, whereby the upper and lower domes remain in the machine and only the sieves are removed. He said that the machine can be opened in minutes for inspection, cleaning or maintenance, while spare trays enable quick changeover for alternate products or repair and snap-on neoprene gaskets rather than the glued-on versions eliminate waiting time for adhesive to cure. The compact nature of the equipment, according to the company, also means it has minimal plant footprint.