While dry pasta production is a relatively straightforward process, it is not without its conveying challenges. This blog looks at dry pasta production and how TipTrakTM bucket conveyors can be used to service the manufacturing process.
Dry Pasta Production: A Short Overview
The primary raw ingredient for dry premium grade pasta is semolina which is milled from high quality durum wheat (gluten free pasta is made from milled rice flour). Durum wheat is a very hard product and milled semolina is quite granular. Milling of durum wheat yields a high percentage of semolina; durum wheat flour is another by-product of the milling process and this product is often used to make lower grade pasta.
Two types of dry pasta can be identified. Long goods pasta consists of a longer and thinner final product – spaghetti is an excellent example. Short goods pasta, in contrast, consists of smaller and thicker shapes – penne, for example. In the manufacturing process, the final shape of the pasta is determined by the dies used in the extruding step, as described below.
The actual manufacturing process for dry pasta is quite straightforward. Semolina (or rice flour) and water are combined in a mixing chamber to create pasta dough. The dough is then fed through an extruder fitted with dies designed to create the pasta shape desired. For the production of long goods pasta, such as spaghetti, the extruded dough is trimmed to length. Following extrusion and trimming, the pasta is then conveyed to a drying process where it is dried before moving on to final packaging.
Conveying Short and Long Goods Dry Pasta: Applications
A primary application for bucket conveyors in dry pasta manufacturing is in the transport of extruded product through the drying process and from the drying process on to the final packaging line.
In the production of long goods and some short goods pasta, multi-stage driers are often employed. The first stage consists of a pre-dryer where some water is removed, leaving a plastic-type dough. In the other drying stages, the remaining moisture content in the dough is reduced to approximately 12.5 percent. Following the final drying stage is a cooling stage, where the pasta is cooled before it is moved on to the final packaging line.
In short goods pasta production, the drying stage often consists of either rotating drum units or continuous belt dryers. In belt drying, the pasta moves from the upper level of the dryer to the next lower level by falling onto a belt which is moving retrograde to the direction of travel through the upper level dryer. In the belt drying process, bucket conveyors can be used to convey product from the upper dryer onto the belt which feeds the dryer on the lower level.
In production processes where product is moved directly from the cooling stage onto the packaging line, a bucket conveyor can be used to directly feed the packaging process. Should the production process use a stacker, where dried and cooled product is temporarily stored before final packaging, a bucket conveyor can be used to move product from the cooling stage into the stacker.
Conveying Short and Long Goods Dry Pasta: TipTrakTM Bucket Conveyors
TipTrakTM bucket conveyors are an ideal equipment choice for applications which involve conveying short goods pasta. Consider the advantages of TipTrakTM conveyors for this type of application:
- Gentle handling. Dry or moist pasta can be fragile, with the product susceptible to breakage and degradation when conveyed. The rubber beltchain and fully interlocking buckets of TipTrakTMconveyors provide unsurpassed gentle handling, minimizing product damage and loss.
- Sanitary service. TipTrakTM conveyors can be supplied with options and add-ons to support sanitary service for food grade applications. These options include Clean-In-Place (CIP) systems, anti-microbial beltchains and buckets, and bearings and components which support equipment washdown.
- Special purpose conveying. Because moist pasta can adhere to surfaces, TipTrakTM conveyors can be supplied with acetyl buckets which provide smooth, non-adherent surfaces. Dried pasta can be somewhat abrasive and hard on equipment. TipTrakTM conveyors can be supplied with wear-resistant plastic buckets specially formulated to provide long service with minimal downtime.
With these advantages, TipTrakTM bucket conveyors are an excellent choice for applications involving conveying short goods dry pasta. To find out more about TipTrakTM equipment for servicing short goods dry pasta applications, please contact our sales department directly.