Prater-Sterling’s Weighing and Batching Solutions for the Food Industry

Prater-Sterling’s Weighing and Batching Solutions for the Food Industry

Prater-Sterling (USA) - Beginning with their first successful breakfast cereal, this American company has been producing delicious and nutritious ready-to-eat breakfast products for over 100 years. The company now produces over 20 well-branded breakfast foods and distributes them to hundreds of countries worldwide. Over their long history the company has seen many changes but their goal is still to transform grains and other materials into good for your family foods.

The Challenge:
An Engineer for the breakfast food company had worked with Prater-Sterling in the past and had recommended them for their current need to update their Minor Ingredient Weighing and Batching System for the production of waffles. The waffles were an existing product but changes in raw material availability continually led to evolving new product development.

In addition to increasing production flexibility, the company also saw opportunities for increased line efficiency. They wanted a system that would continue to maintain the high standards for a quality end product but hoped that the new system could also lessen their batch cycle time and reduce ingredient waste. Doing so would increase their profitability and give them an edge in the very competitive breakfast food market.

The Solution:
The Engineering Team of Prater-Sterling met with the customer to review their current process. Major consideration was given to the customer’s formula data, batch cycle time, ingredient data, raw material storage, conveying distance and space constraints, to custom-engineer a solution.

Inclusive within the Prater-Sterling Minor Ingredient Weighing System were several Engineering deliverables. The client was provided with a Process and Instrumentation Diagram, Electrical Drawings, Front Panel Layouts, Mechanical Assembly Drawings, and a Sequence of Operation.

Upon approval, Prater-Sterling provided a comprehensive Minor Ingredient System, including 10 stainless steel minor ingredient supply bins and feeder assemblies, three scale hoppers and support frames, a bulk bag weighing system for sugar, a bulk bag unloader for sugar, three minor ingredient transfer hoppers, a Vacuum Transfer to the Mixer System, a Dust Collection System, PLC/Panel View Plus Control System as well as other related components.

All of the items were included within the scope of supply along with the engineering review of the application to determine the system requirements. The process is controlled by a PanelView Plus/PLC based system. The batching portion consists of ten raw material supply bins and a bulk bag sugar unit. The feeders feed three independent scale hoppers. Once the product is batched, a Vacuum Conveying System is utilized to transfer the batching ingredients to two mixing vessels to complete the process.

The Results:
Now complete, the system is able to produce a batch every fifteen minutes or less to one of two mix vessels. The new system insures batch accuracy and integrity to obtain the customer’s high standards. The fully integrated system has increased line efficiency and profitability through automation. The customer’s other goals of reducing batch cycle time and decreasing waste have also been achieved. The system operates seamlessly and has improved the overall finished product, allowing the customer to maintain a quality standard unmatched in the breakfast food industry.

Prater-Sterling has had an ongoing working relationship with this client for the past decade. Prater-Sterling has designed and installed 4 custom engineered systems for the breakfast food company and has become a trusted partner in developing solutions to aid in their continued growth.

Don Goshert is the Vice President of Sterling Systems & Controls. Since starting with the company in 1984 Don has been involved in production, engineering, service, system start-ups, sales and became the General Manager in 1991. The employment has been more than a job. Don sincerely enjoys working with customers to apply automation to processes that are looking to improve efficiency, data management and validation. Don feels that while some applications are similar, each project has uniqueness and enjoys the challenge of providing solutions for our customers.

Sterling Controls, Inc. offers over 40 years of experience in providing efficient solutions for batching, applications, and providing micro, minor and bulk weighing systems. They utilize the latest technology in data management, raw material and production data tracking.

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