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Optimize electrostatic powder coatings.

Electrostatic coatings are used in snack foods to apply seasonings and flavors. The coatings are more efficient than traditional powder coatings because the electrostatic product creates less dust and waste, and yields a more uniform coating.

The purpose of research at The Ohio State University was to use research surface methodology (RSM) to optimize the airflow settings, particle size, voltage and food height in a belt conveyer electrostatic powder applicator. By gaining knowledge of the powder properties important for coating efficiency and reproducibility, processors can optimize their coating systems and save money, time and energy.

The RSM evaluated transfer efficiency and reproducibility at 20 kV, 30 kV and 40 kV; at 0 cm, 1.5 cm and 3 cm of height; at airflow settings of 20, 30, and 40; at salt particle sizes of 230.9 [micro]m, 122.2 [micro]m and 15.48 [micro]m; and sugar particle sizes of 268.46 [micro]m, 113.63 [micro]m and 19.62 [micro]m. Pre-cleaned slides were coated electrostatically in the powder applicator.

The efficiency of the process was determined by the ratio of the weight of the powder on all of the slides divided by the total amount of powder added into the system and the percentage of area that the slides covered. Reproducibility was determined by relative standard deviation x 100.

For salt, the efficiency increased with distance from the belt and direct right airflow setting. The highest efficiency was produced at intermediate sizes near 100 [micro]m. The reproducibility increased with distance from the belt and direct right airflow setting. The highest reproducibility was produced at intermediate sizes near 100 [micro]m.

For sugar, the efficiency increased with size, direct right airflow setting and direct left airflow setting. The reproducibility increased with size, voltage, distance from belt and back inject airflow setting. Size, voltage, distance from the belt, airflow setting and the type of powder significantly affected the powder distribution.

Further information. Sheryl Barringer, Department of Food Science and Technology, Ohio State University, 2015 Fyffe Ct., 110 Parker Food Science Building, Columbus, OH 43210; phone: 614-292-6281; fax: 614-292-0218; email:
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Publication:Emerging Food R&D Report
Date:Mar 1, 2005
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