The company, which makes starch molding equipment for gums, jellies, marshmallows, fondant creams, liquorice and crusted liqueur, was acquired by tna in March last year
Its flagship NID M3000 Starch Molding Mogul imprints shapes into a bed of starch for the liquid confectionery to be deposited; debucks the product from the trays while its Finishing Machines add shiny or sugar coating to the product.
Despite the M3000 being able to produce 35 trays a minute, tna says it has made further investments to improve the technology with features that increase operations, enhance quality control and improve overall system performance.
Edward Smagarinsky, group product manager, NID said ATEX compliancy has become increasingly important to customers over the last few years.
The second edition of the ATEX 2014/34/EU guidelines was issued in December 2017.
It claims: ‘A potentially explosive atmosphere exists when a mixture of air gases, vapours, mists, or dusts combine in a way that can ignite under certain operating conditions.
‘Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres (ATEX) cover a range of products, including those used on fixed offshore platforms, petrochemical plants, mines, and flour mills, amongst others.’
According to the essential health and safety requirement 1.5.7 "Explosion" in Annex I to the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC "Machinery must be designed and constructed in such a way as to avoid any risk of explosion posed by the machinery itself or by gases, liquids, dust, vapours or other substances produced or used by the machinery.
‘Machinery must comply, as far as the risk of explosion due to its use in a potentially explosive atmosphere is concerned, with the provisions of the specific Community Directives.’
Starch is combustible in nature
“Although starch molding itself is not generally considered a high risk and accidents are rare, there are hazards associated with the handling of dry, uncontained starch due to its combustible nature,” said Smagarinsky.
“The health and safety of our customers and operators has always been our priority, so any changes we can make to our equipment that can eliminate these risks takes precedence.”
NID M3000 improvements include upgrading the internal parts of the feeder and stacker in stainless steel for better hygiene, adapting the moguls with ATEX-certified electrical devices, temperature sensors.
Repositioning and redesigning mechanical components to mitigate the hazards associated with the handling of starch and upgrading the tray turntable with a vibration mechanism to ensure the starch is fully discharged when trays are emptied.
Other changes include a newly designed hopper with automatic starch gate and starch level sensors for advanced control over the tray filling process, a new mechanism for the automatic tray insert/eject station and the insertion and removal of weight control trays without stopping the machine.
Mark Lozano, sales manager, confectionery, tna, said it hasn’t even been a year since it acquired NID but the number of developments and upgrades its team has delivered are impressive.
“Our engineers have worked tirelessly over the last few months to make sure our starch molding technology meets the strictest guidelines. The hard work has paid off and we’re about to deliver four moguls, with more orders in the pipeline,” he added.
tna is also planning to set up an annual ‘Starch Mogul Hazard Mediation Forum’ to start an industry dialogue about dust control and mitigation strategies.