Plant proteins often form an essential part of a vegetarian or vegan diet, which is why this product is in high demand. However, several process steps are required to obtain high-purity plant proteins suitable for human consumption from almonds, sunflowers or, for example. One of the challenges is the final drying process. A producer of plant proteins required a machine for the final process step – the drying of the protein meal. The machine needed to meet the high requirements of food production while at the same time enabling optimum drying even in the low temperature range. In addition, the system had to be able to recover the solvents. AVA, part of BHS Sonthofen, reports: “We decided on a vacuum dryer with a dynamic drying process to implement the evaporation of the solvents at the end of the process. This means that the product is kept in constant motion. As a result, no nests with higher residual moisture or temperature form, so the proteins dry thoroughly and in a uniform manner.” A fully automatic control system permanently measures and regulates the temperature. Once the desired degree of dryness is reached, the machine shuts down automatically. This means that the sensitive product is not moved any longer than necessary. The evaporated solvents are collected and can be returned to the process, thus saving resources and money. Thanks to the in-house, state-of-the-art test center, AVA’s experts for drying processes can precisely simulate the final process with the respective feed material. These tests make it possible to correctly adjust parameters in advance, to design the machine for best performance and to analyze the economic efficiency of the process.

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