I’ve had a few people contact me lately with questions about steam requirements as they relate to the preconditioner, which is used to enhance the capabilities of shaped products and capacity in full fat soya in both the high shear and medium shear extruders. It is important to note, the preconditioner is not utilized in ExPress® system. Here is a quick review of what is required for Insta-Pro equipment.
It is often assumed any kind of steam can be used. The most common problem encountered with the steam supply is processors trying to use a steam generator, the kind used for cleaning equipment. This is probably the lowest quality of steam you can get, it is very wet steam and can’t keep up with the volume of steam the extruder needs.
The extruder functions on high quality steam; this translates to high pressure and high volume. This can be achieved by utilizing a good high pressure boiler, typically 8 to 10 BAR, or 120 to150 PSI. The next thing to consider is the volume of steam needed. In the case of the preconditioner, 15 HP is the minimum recommended. 1 horse power = 35 Lbs. of steam per hour, so 15 HP would be capable of producing 525 Lbs. steam per Hr. The flow rate becomes more critical if other equipment in the production line also uses steam such as a dryer. It’s beneficial to have the boiler close to the extruder and insulate the pipes to avoid heat loss.
A reduction valve is supplied with the conditioners to reduce pressure going into the conditioner, separate any condensate in the line and return it to the boiler. High quality steam will help assure a high quality finished product. In some cases it can also reduce wear and control drying costs of shaped products. As always we encourage our customers to contact us with any questions they may have regarding anything related to Insta-Pro equipment.