As pet owners continue to value pet nutrition as high as their own, the demand for high-quality, health-conscious nutrition for our pets continues in an upward trend. This trend also includes the addition of nutrition-packed superfoods like pumpkin, chia seeds, kale, sweet potato, and honey in the food. In 2017, high-quality pet food sales are expected to soar to an estimated $30 billion in the U.S. market alone. Dry dog kibble holds the major portion of these sales with other dry pet kibbles, including cat and fish food holding a steady second and third place, respectively.
The main ingredients in the kibble include grains, meat, fat, minerals, and vitamins. These ingredients must be ground into a coarse meal in an appropriate, uniform particle size to enhance water absorption and safe cooking. The uniform particle size also enhances absorption ability of the nutrients contained in the ingredients. The most common piece of equipment used to grind the ingredients into a coarse meal is the hammer mill.
Often the coarse meal produced by the hammer mill contains foreign and oversize materials or has lumps and agglomerated clumps. This is how the centrifugal sifter provides priceless protection. It protects the extruder before the dry ingredients are sent further along the production line. It is situated in-line before the mixer and extruder to protect the integrity of the ingredients. It removes the foreign, agglomerated lumps prior to mixing and protects the extruder by eliminating die blockages.
It provides additional benefits to the process by eliminating the risk of product contamination from the milling process. One centrifugal sifter can serve several supply points, while they are also totally self-contained providing dust-free operation. They also are reliable, low maintenance, and economical to run.
After processing through the centrifugal sifter, the next step includes the mixing of raw dry and wet ingredients into dough. The ingredients are generally combined in a large continuous ribbon mixer. The dough is then cooked in an expander with pressurized steam and fed through the extruder, cut into pieces and dried. After drying, the kibble is enrobed with a spray of fat, oils, and flavoring to enhance the nutritional value and palatability of the pet food.
Each piece of equipment in the process line provides a key part in the production of high-quality pet food. The centrifugal sifter delivers priceless protection in the process by removing extraneous material, oversize particles, and clumps consequently eliminating die blockages and ultimately the safety of the extruder.