The latest SBX Master™ twin-screw extruder for snack production, on show on booth 10223 at Pack Expo, will be installed in the Baker Perkins Inc. Innovation Center at Grand Rapids, Michigan. Here it will be available for customers to create new products and processes, produce samples for evaluation, conduct feasibility trials and train staff.
The full capabilities of the SBX Master™ Extruder range will be available for testing. These include extruded and cut, direct expanded and filled co-extruded snacks.
This development expands the end product capacity of the Innovation Center, which already includes equipment to form and bake cookies and soft dough, filled or granola bars.
Potential for innovation
Innovation is the main driver of growth in the diverse and highly fragmented snack market, and twin-screw extrusion has a lot of untapped potential in this respect. A full array of snack products made on Baker Perkins equipment is on show at Pack Expo.
Extrusion can process ingredients from a wide range of sources including grains, vegetables, legumes and fruit. Texture can be varied from light and crispy to hard and crunchy while a variety of post-extrusion forming and cutting techniques can be used to add interest and variety.
Co-extrusion increases the scope for innovative product development further. The technique involves extruding a hollow tube of cereal while simultaneously injecting a low-moisture cream or paste filling into the centre. The tubes are then cut or crimped into pillows, bars, sticks or wafers to form bite-size or hand-held snacks. A suitable filling can elevate the products into the premium indulgent or healthy snack categories where growth potential and margins are significantly higher than standard extruded snacks.
A crucial advantage of the extrusion process is that, as a business expands, a line may be extended at any time to broaden or even completely change the range of products being made.
A standard line may comprise an extruder, dryer and flavoring system capable of making direct expanded products such as balls, curls, chipsticks and profiled shapes. With additional dies and other equipment the range can be expanded in stages to create a portfolio of high specification, complex products including whole grain / multigrain snacks, shredded snacks and sweet or savory filled pillows with intriguing shapes, textures and surface patterns.
Today’s sophisticated Baker Perkins twin-screw extruders are designed to produce consistent high quality products at efficiency levels that minimize downtime and waste. They are automatically controlled using parameters stored in pre-configured user recipes.
Automatic start-up and shut-down is crucial to smooth and efficient operation. Machines are automatically sequenced from warm up to production, optimized to minimize time and material waste. There is no operator involvement, and therefore no opportunity for error. The shut-down sequence is similarly automated to reduce waste and cleaning time.