Gemini Series Model IMD 779.2 Coffee Capsule Granulizer for engineering the perfect grind


MPE announces the Gemini Series Model IMD 779.2 Coffee Capsule Granulizer with variable roll speed ratios for achieving the strongest particle size distribution for coffee pods, pads, and capsules. The Gemini has Independent Motor Drives for each roll, allowing customizable roll speed ratios ranging from 1:1 to 1:4 to yield particle size distribution differentials engineered for each application. Its automated recipe-driven control system provides the repeatability of all parameters and grind characteristics. The Gemini is the pinnacle of precision capsule grinding equipment and ultimate grind control.

Gemini graph

Talk to a sales engineer to learn more about the Gemini Series Model IMD 779.2 Capsule Granulizer

Caribou Jumps to Chain-Vey

Caribou press release 520px by 275pxCaribou Coffee, the well known Minnesota-based coffee chain, installed cable tube conveyors in their roastery several years ago. Their first cable system transported green coffee from an unloading point to their classification equipment. The cable conveyor manufacturer had promised longevity. However roastery managers became largely dissatisfied upon experiencing a much higher cost of ownership and maintenance than promised over time.

Caribou’s Needs

Green coffee is typically abrasive and for this reason wears conveyors more quickly than other applications. Roastery managers were replacing cable and pucks on a 18 to 24 month basis due to cable stretching. Cable fraying also meant having to splice sections of cable periodically. Plus, if the cable broke in the middle of production, managers did not want to splice cable with orders unfulfilled. They wanted to try a Chain-Vey system and see if it truly meant less maintenance and greater reliability.

MPE’s Solution

MPE engineers offered a cost effective Cable-to-Chain-Vey retrofit for their green coffee cable conveyor. It would capture nearly all of the benefits of Chain-Vey without needing to replace the entire conveyor. It could also be done in half the time it takes to install a new conveyor.

Cable to Chain-Vey Retrofit at Caribou Coffee Roastery
Caribou’s newly retrofitted green coffee Chain-Vey conveyor


The retrofit installation was a breeze and completed in half a day. Roastery managers were impressed on the first production run by reduced noise coming from the conveyor. As time went on though, the most important benefit has been the peace of mind in the system’s reliability. The chain will never fray and never break.

“Never have to worry about it. It’s quieter than the cable system. Pretty much a set it and go piece of equipment.”

-Adam Sislo, Engineering Supervisor, Caribou Coffee

Let a Chain-Vey Engineer work with you on capturing greater reliability and longevity through a Cable-to-Chain-Vey Retrofit.

SaltWorks Hits Accurate Particle Sizes, Reduces Production Cost

SaltWorks® is a sea and mineral salt company located in Woodinville, Washington producing a range of specialty salts for wholesale customers and consumers. In addition to their selection of popular salts, they also produce custom salts with customer-selected characteristics—not the least of which is grain size. SaltWorks is unique within its market because of its economies of scale in producing high quality salts.

SaltWorks’ Needs

SaltWorks reached out to MPE because their previous grinder was not doing a great job and translated to higher production costs for two reasons:

  • A high number of fines up to 25% meant more product was needed for yields of a desired grain size. While excess fines were still valuable for use in other products, processing them a second time required extra inventory and labor
  • Switching between Himalayan pink salts and white sea salts require cleanings to ensure purity and integrity. However manually cleaning their old grinder was a laborious and inefficient process

For these reasons, plant managers wanted to find a grinder that could reliably achieve a lower fines rate and integrate into SaltWorks’ existing environmentally conscious clean-in-place (CIP) system.

MPE’s Solution

MPE engineered a custom IMD 79 Gran-U-Lizer for SaltWorks (model IMD79) with two roller stages, affording an ideal amount of control and precision in the particle size reduction process. The programmable logic controller (PLC) allows operators to electronically set grind size and improve consistency across all products. Additionally the IMD79’s 4 rolls were made out of stainless steel and therefore can be wet washed as part of SaltWorks’ CIP system.


SaltWorks’ IMD79 grinder fully integrates within their automated process system by use of an MPE designed and programmed PLC

SaltWorks production managers are now experiencing a fines rate of only 2-3%. Their two-stage electronically controlled gap adjustment grinder allows for nimble transitioning between orders of varying grain sizes—with repeatable accuracy. Plant managers have never been happier when it comes to particle size reduction.

Reach out to a sales engineer to find the grinder that fits your needs.

Verena Street’s Showroom-Quality Process System

Verena Street Coffee is a specialty roaster in Dubuque, Iowa. They recently moved into a 34,000 square foot facility and needed help building three new post-roast processing systems.

Verena’s Needs:

Each system needed flexibility for employees handling multiple blends, batch sizes, grinds, flavors, etc. Additionally, Verena’s owners needed systems that could scale with projected growth without the need of replacing conveyors and equipment that had yet to make a return on investment. Verena took full advantage of its situation in building a new operation from scratch; consulting with MPE engineers in judiciously laying out each system to ensure ease of transport of totes, safe worker movement, and the facility’s overall aesthetic appeal to white-label customers. Additional engineering considerations like broad sweeps of the tubular conveyor elbows and extra outlets (for grinders and totes) ensured operational longevity of each system at full speed and capacity.

MPE’s Solution:

Flavoring system: Taking totes of roasted coffee, transferring to a blender for flavoring, then transferring back to totes

Grinding system: Transferring coffee from totes to a grinder and then back to totes

Blending system: Taking totes of fresh roasted coffee, batching specified quantities for blending, then moving blends to totes

Flavoring System

Tube conveyor system inside Verena's coffee facility
On the floor-level is a Chain-Vey tubular drag conveyor inlet where totes can be wheeled up to and emptied. The conveyor transports the coffee upwards to the mezzanine where the mixer is. After flavoring, the coffee will drop vertically through the mezzanine floor into another tote (yet to be installed in these photos)
Marion coffee mixer atop of mezzanine at Verena facility
The perspective atop of the mezzanine looking at the flavoring mixer. Note the Chain-Vey above has two outlets, yet only one mixer to empty into. Eventually Verena will add a second mixer without needing to modify the tubular conveyor system

Grinding System

Grinding system at Verena coffee facility
The grinding system begins with a floor-level tube conveyor inlet where totes of coffee are emptied. The coffee is conveyed upwards using a 4″ diameter Chain-Vey to a mezzanine where batch bins reside as intermediary storage to regulate the flow of coffee into the 600 FX grinder below. After the coffee is ground and densified, a 3″ Chain-Vey conveys the coffee upwards to another batch bin for intermediate storage until it’s ready for transport
600 FX grinder and Chain-Vey integration
For aesthetic and workflow reasons Verena wanted the grinder and Chain-Vey to sit in-line with each other. MPE placed the Chain-Vey’s turnaround inside the grinder’s footprint to achieve this
Grinding system at Verena facility engineered for scaling production in the future
In another example of planning ahead, a second batch bin located atop of the grinder system’s mezzanine is ready for eventual installation of a second grinder and Chain-Vey

Blending System

Coffee blending system at Verena facility
This is a wide shot of the blending system; on the left are three floor scales and unloading inlets for wheeling up and emptying totes of coffee; on the right is a blender and corresponding outlet for finished batches
Floor weight scales and load cells measure loss in weight of coffee from totes
The floor scales are robust enough to handle sizable steel totes but also precise enough to measure specific losses-in-weight consistently for desired coffee blends. The scales send these measurements to the fully programmable and automated PLC which starts and stops the feeders according to the program recipe
Mixer for blending coffee in processing system connected by tube conveyor
This blender sits on load cells to measure weights of incoming and outgoing coffee; data which is then transmitted to the PLC. This second weight measurement affords redundancy in the blending process and allows for easier process management


Verena Street Coffee now has a showroom-quality facility with three MPE-engineered systems. Together, Verena has the flexibility and operational efficiency that fits with their current business needs while fully prepared for future growth. Their white-label business is especially poised to benefit from this easily expandable capacity. The reliable conveyance Verena Street Coffee enjoys with their Chain-Veys, the unsurpassed grinding quality with their MPE grinder, and the expertise MPE engineers leveraged from hundreds of past systems integrations coalesce into Verena having one of the most prized roasteries in the Midwest.

Get in touch with our processing systems engineers to discuss the possibilities of your project.

Also check out other coffee processing systems like what we did for Philz Coffee and Keurig Green Mountain.

Clean-In-Place System; Flexible, Customizable, and Stress-free


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.

Need uncompromising cleaning automation in a tubular drag conveyor? Give a Chain-Vey engineer a call to get a conversation started.

MPE and Petroncini Forge Strategic Service, Support, and Representation Alliance

Petroncini and MPE Alliance

MPE of Chicago, USA is pleased to announce their strategic service, support, and representation alliance with Petroncini Impianti S.p.A. of Ferrara, Italy.

MPE is the world’s leading manufacturer of coffee grinders and tubular drag conveyors, and a leader in coffee processing system designs with a 60 year reputation for American engineering innovation, quality, and commitment to customer success.

Petroncini is a world leader in coffee roasting, processing equipment, and plant designs with a 98 year long tradition combined with cutting-edge design and European modernity.

Now formally allied together, Petroncini will be assisting in sales efforts and service/product support for MPE coffee grinders and Chain-Vey® tubular drag conveyors. “This alliance will be of great benefit to our European, North African, and Middle Eastern customers who will have closer access to MPE’s technical expertise and products channeled through Petroncini,” says MPE’s President Daniel Ephraim. “Years of past systems integration together and mutual appreciation of each other’s work led to this partnership. It was just a natural step,” he added.

This alliance’s complete range of product offerings, fully integrated and supported throughout the world, will continue both companies’ pursuits in providing the best products, service, and support to coffee roasters worldwide.

We invite you to meet with MPE and Petroncini, together in person, at the MPE/Petroncini booth in Hall 2, Booth A04 at Interpack 2017 in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Philz’ MPE-Designed Coffee Processing System Featured on ABC7 News

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.

The Curious Case of the Breakfast Biscuit: A Case Study

Process System for Large Bakery

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

  1. 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
  2. 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’s solution

MPE engineered an entirely new process system for Bakery Co. in the following order:

  1. Bulk pack (also known as supersac) unloaders feeding a tubular drag conveyor
  2. 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
  3. Loss-in-weight feeders ensure precise dispensation of ingredients in adherence to recipes
  4. Then feeding measured ingredients to a second tubular drag conveyor transporting to a ribbon blender
  5. 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 unloaders for large quantity ingredients feature paddles and spout elongation devices for continuous flow of product exiting bulk bags. Spout seal plates securely fasten for no leakage. Also a dust collector and return line was installed with differential pressure switches that can be monitored from the transport control system (shown below)
MPE Batching Control System (1).png
MPE batching and transport control system sequences up to four separate batches with zero cross contamination. The conveyor runs automatically when each batch is ready for transport and turns off when not in use, thus saving energy
Storage Hoppers.png
3000 lb bulk ingredient storage hoppers are fed from a Chain-Vey above. They have high angle walls and vibrating bin bottoms to ensure consistent outflow of dry ingredients to loss-in-weight feeders with accuracy within 0.1%
Accurate ingredient amounts are discharged into a Chain-Vey without the need for air-locks
This second Chain-Vey system is 240 ft in length and carries measured amounts of ingredients to the mixer hopper. The importance here is that unlike many other conveyance systems, Chain-Vey ensures virtually zero product loss even in fine particle applications; an important consideration for adhering to recipes
Mixer Bathcing Hoppers2.png
The system above the dry mixer hopper utilizes minimal clearance of only 24 inches between the hopper and ceiling. A second scale system records the receipt of each ingredient which is reported to the batching and transport control system

The result

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.

Talk to a sales engineer for custom ingredient management and automated process solutions.

Roast Magazine Feature

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.