Advantages of The New MS3000 Medium Shear Extruder
If you haven’t heard yet, Insta-Pro is preparing to launch a new model of our extruder, for the production of shaped products like pet foods and fish foods. We have been working on this for a little over two years now, between the design phase and testing, which started in June 2012. The progress has been steady and exciting to the point that we are confident enough to take this next step in actually putting the machine on the market.
The prototype that we put in the field with one of our customers, has exceeded our expectations. With that, our testing here in the research department will continue into the foreseeable future. The new extruder is considered in the medium shear class of extruders, and will be known as the MS3000 Medium Shear Extuder.
Traditionally, we have produced shaped products with our existing high shear extruder. Without getting too technical, I’m going to try and explain some of the differences and advantages of our Medium Shear verses High Shear.
As extrusion goes, shear is generated by the clearance or tolerance between the steam lock (restrictor plates), and the wear sleeve on the inside of the compression chamber. The less tolerance, the more shear is created. This also translates into higher internal pressures, and temperatures. High shear is great for cooking the products, but makes finished shaping more difficult because of the violent action of the starches as they are exposed to ambient atmosphere after exiting the die plate.
Low shear, on the other hand, is great for shaping but lacks the temperature to properly cook the ingredients, which is essential to high digestibility desired for good feed efficiency. The trick is to find that happy medium. Thus medium shear.
We did testing that covered horse power, RPM, barrel length, internal restriction, different conveyance configurations in the chambers and many different die sizes and numbers. Steam preconditioning and water injection are also utilized. We also tested different types of formulations for different qualities such as shape, floatability, water stability, capacity, and the amount of cooking that was being done. These all had to be of equal if not better quality, compared to what is on the market.
Medium shear technology is not new to the extrusion market, but it is for Insta-Pro. Our goal is to offer a machine that produces a better quality and variety of shaped products than we have been able to in the past, and offer it at a competitive price. Also, as an operator, I find the MS3000 Medium Shear Extruder much easier to operate. The equipment runs smoothly, maximizing productivity in operation and at start-up, requiring less time and producing less start up waste. My next blog will share more of my experiences operating between the High Shear and Medium Shear.