Chain-Vey’s Clean-In-Place System is a flexible solution for stress-free, automated cleaning of your Chain-Vey. The system begins with a Chain-Vey tubular conveyor built to water-tight specifications with CIP-integrated drive and turnaround boxes at each end of the system. The drive and turnaround boxes are where high pressure water or foaming agents are sprayed onto the chain and pucks and/or flood the system (depending on your selected cleaning cycle).
The cart is a detachable unit providing plant managers any selection/sequence of high pressure water, foam, or flooded-system cleanings. Then using warm, dry air pumped throughout the system, the cart can dry the entire Chain-Vey for quick resumption of operation. The cart can then be quickly detached and wheeled to other Chain-Veys for staggered cleanings as part of routine operations. Virtually all cleaning agents can be used and the cart needs only water and electrical (230/460 V or 380 V) sources.
With foam cleaning, a cleaning that might otherwise consume hundreds of gallons of heated water for a fully flooded cycle can be done with a fraction of water and energy—while meeting or exceeding all sanitation specifications.
Flavorings, allergens, sanitation-sensitive products, pharmaceutical, and high purity applications are well answered by the Chain-Vey’s robust CIP system.
When our friends at Philz Coffee told us their amazing new MPE-designed processing system—with its shiny new green coffee silos, classification system, Chain-Vey tube conveyors, roasters, and packaging system—was going to be featured on ABC 7 News, we knew it was because Philz is obviously an incredible roaster doing something special in the coffee world. But it’s nice to see our own work play a part in Philz’ story and success as one of the US’ fastest growing roasters.
Bakery Co.* is a multi-billion dollar food processing company that produces a popular breakfast biscuit (and several variations) consisting of rolled oats, rye flakes, various flours and other ingredients. These recipes, while nothing too complicated, became difficult to scale with Bakery Co.’s existing process system and production managers were experiencing quality control issues prior to MPE’s involvement.
Bakery Co.’s needs
The biggest issue was that after blending dry ingredients; flours, sweeteners, and additives would segregate during transport through a pneumatic tube system to a bulk bag filler. Needless to say, this issue created headaches for production managers
Plant managers also wanted to find a replacement process system requiring less maintenance and reducing energy costs—as their pneumatic conveyors consumed a lot of electricity, were quite loud, and required frequent upkeep
MPE engineered an entirely new process system for Bakery Co. in the following order:
Bulk pack (also known as supersac) unloaders feeding a tubular drag conveyor
Transport to stationary surge bins on load cells (large scales) with active bin bottoms to ensure consistent subsequent outflow of dry ingredients to loss-in-weight feeders
Loss-in-weight feeders ensure precise dispensation of ingredients in adherence to recipes
Then feeding measured ingredients to a second tubular drag conveyor transporting to a ribbon blender
After blending, the (still dry) mixture feeds into a third tubular drag conveyor for transport to a subsequent bulk bag filler for storage until baking production
A picture is worth a thousand words
Bulk bag ingredients are quickly unloaded with no waste and efficiently transported to interim storage; ingredients are then accurately measured and transported to the mixing hoppers; product integrity is maintained during transport from mixers to the final bulk bags; all at a fraction of electricity usage and noise pollution. Meanwhile, Bakery Co.’s breakfast biscuits never tasted better.
*We substituted our customer’s real name with the fictitious name Bakery Co.
MPE’s president Dan Ephraim extended his advice in Roast Magazine’s January/February 2017 issue in the first of a two part article “Building a Mid- to Large-Scale Specialty Coffee Roasting Plant.”
This advice echoed by Ephraim, who recommends clients start with a “5,000-foot view” of the overall project, allowing them to “develop an order of magnitude on the kind of space and resources necessary to move forward.”
Ephraim also suggests having the latest design resources available, such as 3D modeling, to “eliminate issues down the installation road.” He adds that someone on your team needs extensive experience with the software to make the best use of these tools.
We are very happy when the work of our customer Green Mountain Coffee is featured on a TV show as fun and exciting as Unwrapped 2.0; but we’re especially proud when the work of our engineering, sales, and manufacturing teams is featured so prominently as well. And in case you were wondering, those are 5″ Chain-Veys (featured at 0:45 and 1:15) and IMD-999 grinders (at 2:25) inside Green Mountain’s roastery.
Let’s talk oxygen. Oxygen’s penchant for stealing electrons gives it a sort of criminal reputation among chemists and MPE engineers. Coffee like any chemically organic matter is inherently delicate and an easy target for oxygen bandits which will chip away at your freshly roasted coffee’s delicate chemical beauty, leaving your coffee stale and with less aromatics. From the roaster to the grinding to the packaging, MPE can implement oxygen free conveyance systems, grinders, and degassing bins. This is achieved by pumping nitrogen, a relatively inert gas, into the system to prevent oxygen from stealing electrons from your coffee (oxidation). Additionally, this can be done in a cost effective way because Chain-Vey is already a significantly more efficient system by design than a comparable pneumatic tube system. An entire post-roaster oxygen free system will improve your coffee’s freshness and aroma making your customers happier. And happier customers lead to more business. Take our word for it.
It’s a beautiful sight—for both coffee lovers and personal injury lawyers—heavy bags of excellent green coffee arrive for processing. This can be a costly task in terms of labor, inefficiency, and workers’ comp payouts. MPE can now offer a solution in partnership with Petroncini Impianti S.p.A. to automate the bag cutting and emptying process; increasing labor efficiency and reducing injury risk. The Petroncini automatic bag opener can empty 900 bags/hour and be controlled by MPE’s Plant Control System. Using circular blades opposed to each other that act like scissors, the blades slice the bags in numerous places at low speeds ensuring the coffee can be emptied without bean breakage or yield losses.
Typical power requirements for the Chain-Vey range from 1-5 HP and, when compared to alternative conveying systems, such as dilute or dense phase pneumatic systems, the energy savings can be as much as 90 percent. Assume that the requirement exists for a 100-foot conveyor length at a run rate of 12 hours a day and 250 days a year. A Chain-Vey will achieve electrical energy savings between $5,000 USD and $10,000 USD per year.
Typical configurations can range from single inlet or single outlet, to a system with 10 inlets and 10 outlets with multiple twists and turns along the way. No matter the length or complexity of the design, gentle product handling is maintained throughout the conveying process.
Product moves through the Chain-Vey via stainless steel chain and molded-on discs. This chain is extremely durable and will not stretch, fray nor deteriorate. Turns or corners in the system are accommodated through the use of ‘sweep elbows’ that can range from 10-90 degrees and are designed to minimize friction. When necessary, the design utilizes ‘live corners’ with rotating wheels that eliminate resistance, thereby enabling long runs and multiple turn situations.
In summary, MPE’s development of the Chain-Vey conveyor technology meets the increasingly challenging demands of bulk product transport and is a flexible and efficient alternative to traditional conveying methods.
Ferris Coffee & Nut Co. is a specialty roaster located in Grand Rapids, MI. They first reached out to MPE with the goal of modernizing their previous operations to achieve a higher level of food certification required by their wholesale customers as well as increase their capacity, efficiency, and beauty of their coffee operation.
A complete green coffee cleaning system with dust collection
A green bean silo storage with recipe driven control system to automatically deliver batches to two 120 kg batch roasters
Water-cooled grinders for increased ground coffee taste and aroma retention
Tubular drag Chain-Vey conveyor implementation throughout the facility to move all coffee (green, whole bean, and ground) while keeping the coffee enclosed
A Plant Control System to coordinate all coffee movement—from unloading green coffee to final packaging
An unloading mezzanine and bean cleaner
Four 7500 lb capacity storage silos
A 700FX grinder
A 600FX grinder
Packaging surge hoppers with dust collector
Six 4” tubular drag Chain-Vey conveyors.
Implementing PLC controls that allowed the system to be as automated or manual as desired
The value for Ferris utilizing MPE’s grinders, Chain-Veys, and process systems integration has been tremendous in terms of efficiency and flexibility.
“With the installation of the new system, we’ve managed to meet all the needs that drove the project in the first place,” noted Sam Mirto, Director of Coffee at Ferris.
The original goal of meeting a customer’s auditors’ exceptional food safety standards was achieved. Other savings have resulted from more efficient use of labor. With the implementation of advanced process automation, one person can be grinding coffee and packing thousands of pounds of coffee seamlessly, whereas previously these were separate tasks that required multiple employees before the renovation. This efficiency also positions Ferris to accommodate increasingly large customers with ease.
Another benefit of the beautiful open layout and design of Ferris’ build-out is the pride of touring the facility to potential customers. With the implementation of Chain-Vey’s clear tubing, people can follow the coffee along the production process and walk away with a deeper understanding of the operation.