Stable Micro Systems tests flowability of compact powders such as flour and cocoa

By Jenny Eagle contact

- Last updated on GMT

Stable Micro Systems Powder Vertical Shear Rig. Photo: Stable Micro Systems.
Stable Micro Systems Powder Vertical Shear Rig. Photo: Stable Micro Systems.

Related tags: Cocoa powder

Stable Micro Systems has developed a Powder Vertical Shear Rig for food manufacturers to measure the flowability of compacted powders, such as flour, cocoa powder and starch.

It claims the rig imitates a filled hopper, testing the flow of a powder from a packed state. 

'Cake' of powder

It does this by transferring a specific mass of powder to the main body of the rig, which is compressed to create a ‘cake’ of powder. 

The results of the test reveal how easily the powder flows from a packed state which can determine the correct hopper outlet size, and indicate if any changes are needed to the powder formulations, for example to add flow additives or change the powder particle size.

It can provide accurate measurements of flow behavior, to increase operational efficiency and improve quality standards along the production line. 

Jo Smewing, applications manager, Stable Micro Systems, said the Powder Vertical Shear Rig is an extension of its powder testing technology the Powder Flow Analyser. 

She added working with powders on food production lines can be challenging because discharging them from storage can be unreliable. 

Understanding a powder’s flow behavior is key to meeting operational demands and minimising production downtime,​” she said. 

Incorrect dosage

According to Stable Micro Systems, powders often compact under their own weight during storage, causing blockages in the hopper and restricting flow. This can result in incorrect dosage, wasted product and/or downtime while blockages are cleared. 

The likelihood of blockages forming depends on the properties of the powder and the conditions surrounding it, such as temperature and humidity.

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