Extrusion: Technology that inspires

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Extrusion technology stands as an indispensable pillar in our innovative food production. But what exactly is behind it? Today, we would like to provide you with insight into a technology that has revolutionized food production, yet remains unfamiliar to many. It's high time for that to change because here we are talking about technology that inspires. Let us reveal why.
A look inside the production facility - where ideas take shape
A look inside the production facility - where ideas take shape

The Twin-Screw Extruder: A Technological Masterpiece

To produce crispy extrudates, such as those for cereals or chocolate, Erbacher Food Intelligence employs highly advanced twin-screw extruders.
Their operation is an impressive interplay of precision and engineering. Initially, raw material is fed through a hopper and processed. A twin-screw extruder consists of two co-rotating screws, enclosed by a cylinder. The process is divided into various zones, each with specific tasks and control capabilities:
1.        Feeding Zone: Raw materials enter the extruder in this zone. The screws move them through the tight spiral, facilitating initial mixing and pre-processing.
2.        Conveying Zone: Pressure increases in this zone, and the material is thoroughly mixed. Constant rotation of the screws ensures an even distribution of heat and pressure.
3.        Residence Zone: Here, the material can further react at controlled temperature and pressure, adjusting its physical properties. This is crucial for structure and texture formation.
4.        Discharge Zone: At the end of the extruder, the finished product is expelled. The choice of specific nozzle shapes and sizes at this stage can influence the extrudate’s final shape.
Precise control of temperature, pressure, and rotation speed during the process allows for customised production with precisely defined characteristics. This is especially important when creating high-quality crispy ingredients for cereals and chocolate. At Erbacher Food Intelligence, we have nozzle plates specially crafted by a toolmaker for unique customer requests, enabling us to give shape to extraordinary ideas. Gluten-free organic dinosaurs? Biscuit triangles? Adorable organic cocoa ducks? With the right expertise and advanced technology, (almost) anything is possible!
Schematic representation of a twin-screw extruder
Schematic representation of a twin-screw extruder

Smart Technology with Numerous Benefits

The detailed operation of the twin-screw extruder brings a multitude of benefits. The intensive mechanical and thermal treatment during the extrusion process guarantees optimal ingredient mixing. This not only brings about uniform textures it also allows for targeted adjustment of taste and color.
Precise control of process parameters enables the use of a wide range of ingredients with varying properties. Versatility of the twin-screw extruder allows for the production of different shapes, textures and flavor profiles. This level of control and adaptability makes extrusion technology an indispensable resource for the food industry, enabling the production of innovative extrudates of the highest quality at the forefront of technology.

High-Tech with History

The extrusion method was developed in England at the end of 1790, initially used for manufacturing seamless lead pipes with a manual piston extruder. In 1930, the first heated screwpress revolutionized plastic production. Twin-screw extruders were first used in the 1960s. In food production, there was a period of experimentation until the 1980s when the twin-screwextruder was fully mastered, revolutionizing the market with crispy new snacks and cereals. However, it took some time for additional innovative product categories to emerge. In the1960s, deoiled soy flours were processed into textured vegetable proteins (TVP = Textured Vegetable Protein) through the thermoplastic cooking extrusion process, serving as the first meat alternatives available in Germany, according to DLG reports. This step was motivated by ecological and ethical considerations to reduce the consumption of animalproducts without sacrificing familiar taste and texture. Thus, an over 200 year old process has evolved into one of the most promising methods for texturizing non-animal raw materials.

Precision, Diversity, Innovation: Extrusion Technology at Erbacher Food Intelligence

Today, this advanced technology allows us to precisely process a broad range of ingredients – from grain flours to proteins, fibers, and flavors. The exact control of temperature, pressure, and rotation speed enables us to produce customised extrudates of the highest quality for our clients. In a world where consumer demands are changing, extrusion technology is a crucial factor in pushing the boundaries of food innovation and shaping the future of food production.
Product diversity with extrusion technology
Product diversity with extrusion technology
We therefore build upon this inspiring technology. And would be delighted to inspire you as well. Contact us, together we can explore the possibilities of this technology in creating your product!

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Erbacher Food Intelligence GmbH & Co. KG
Im Steiner 2/4
63924 Kleinheubach - Germany