Plant proteins have many properties that make them ideally suited for use in vegan products, from ice cream to spreads. Thanks to their good emulsifying properties, they can be excellent binders and stabilizers. One challenge in the manufacturing process is the low heat tolerance of the proteins. All process steps must therefore be carried out in a way that is gentle on the product.
A producer of plant proteins required a machine for the final process step – the drying of the protein meal – that enabled optimum drying even in the low temperature range. In addition, the system had to be able to recover the used solvents. Ulrich Vielhaber, Sales Manager at BHS, reports: “We decided on a vacuum dryer with a dynamic drying process to implement the evaporation of the solvents at the end of the process. This means that the product is kept in constant motion. As a result, no nests form, and the proteins dry thoroughly and in a uniform manner.” A fully automatic control system permanently measures and regulates the temperature. Once the desired degree of dryness is reached, the machine shuts down automatically. This means that the sensitive product is not moved any longer than necessary. The evaporated solvents are collected and can be returned to the process, thus saving resources and money.
Thanks to the novel process for extracting plant proteins, a high-quality product fit for human consumption can now also be obtained from plant parts that were previously not suitable for food production. Due to the closed process in the vacuum dryer, the energy consumed during this production step is minimal.