Naturally Homegrown Foods, Ltd. improved application consistency, reduced waste and simplified cleaning operations by installing a new seasoning system from integrated food processing and packaging equipment provider tna. The investment enables the gourmet chip manufacturer to deliver consistent coverage and flavor for its high-end potato chip brand, Hardbite Chips, by replacing an out-of-date steel coating drum and dry powder applicator with an efficient automated system.
Based in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Naturally Homegrown Foods specializes in the production of high quality batch-fried chips and supplies leading retail locations in Canada, the US and Asia. With each batch of chips hand-cooked, every chip is created using the finest ingredients. To meet growing demand, the company needed a flexible seasoning solution that ensured consistent and efficient application of eight different dry seasonings, with minimum machine downtime between flavor changes. In addition, the new system had to integrate and work seamlessly alongside other processing machinery in the facility.
With a primary objective to improve overall product consistency, Naturally Homegrown Foods installed the tna intelli-flav® OMS 5 seasoning system to ensure uniformity. The equioment features a responsive variable mass seasoning system with a dynamic vibratory weigher to directly control powder application from the drum. This enables an accurate, proportional amount of seasoning to be consistently applied to the product for improved coverage and flavor dispersion – even for products with irregular surfaces, including batch-fried chips.
“Delivering unrivalled product quality is a top priority for us,” states Kirk Homenick, president of Naturally Homegrown Foods. “We’ve seen a vast improvement in seasoning consistency as a result of installing the tna intelli-flav OMS 5. Most notably, we’ve been able to reduce our seasoning application rate from 8-9% down to 5-6%.”
Further benefits are realized through the positioning of the scarfplate on the tna intelli-flav OMS 5 infeed. Positioned closer to the top of the tumbling product, the scarf adds dry powder into the flavoring area more accurately, providing high quality, consistent seasoning. “The addition of this equipment has made such a difference for our facility compared to the older screw auger feature in our previous system,” notes Homenick.
In addition, the scallop-designed infeed conveyor curves to match the shape of the drum which reduces product drop, helps control product direction and results in reduced product waste.
The tna intelli-flav OMS 5 has a simple modular design that is fully enclosed to help prevent seasoning, dirt and other materials from building up, thus allowing for increased levels of hygiene and ease of cleaning. In addition, the system’s pivoting drum provides accessibility for hard to reach areas, simplifying day-to-day operations.
“As a small plant that is experiencing growing demand, it’s imperative that seasoning changeovers and cleaning downtime is kept to a minimum to ensure optimum production levels. Since the tna intelli-flav OMS 5 was installed, changeover times have been reduced by 15 to 20%. Now we are able carry out a seasoning changeover in less than 20 minutes thanks to the system’s simple design,” adds Homenick.
“The entire installation was completed quickly and on target to prevent interrupting production during a time of high demand. Once in place, the system basically behaved as a plug in and play,” comments Homenick.