Sugarplex SX Flow honoured with FoodTec Award 2024 for innovation and excellence

Sugarplex SX Flow honoured with FoodTec Award 2024 for innovation and excellence

The Sugarplex SX Flow from Hosokawa Alpine won over the jury of the International FoodTec Awards with its ability to prevent icing sugar from clumping without the need for additives.

The Sugarplex SX Flow from Hosokawa Alpine has been awarded a silver medal of the International FoodTec Awards 2024 for the one-step production of shelf-stable icing sugar, which has a wide range of applications within the confectionery and bakery industry.

The award honours 14 innovation projects, and was announced by The German Agricultural Society (DLG).

Hosokawa Alpine says the Sugarplex SX Flow meets the sugar industry’s demand for a simplified and flexible process for the production of shelf-stable sugar.

The approach to this solution by Hosokawa Alpine was honoured by an international jury of experts who hailed from research, teaching and practice fields. Since 1994, the DLG has been honouring pioneering developments in innovation, sustainability and efficiency in the field of food technology with the FoodTec Award. The official presentation of the prestigious technology award will take place at Anuga FoodTec in Cologne in March 2024.

When granulated sugar (sucrose) is ground with conventional methods, icing sugar tends to clump together again immediately after leaving the mill.

“This leads to difficulties with further processing and also when used as decoration for confectionery,” explains Dr Stefan Klettenhammer, sales manager at Hosokawa Alpine. As a rule, additives such as starch to prevent agglomeration are required to obtain and store stable icing sugar or systems such as mixing containers that keep the icing sugar in motion. “Complex downstream conditioning processes such as cooling and heating screws are also used,” says Dr Stefan Klettenhammer.

Conditioning requirements are set in the process with the Sugarplex SX Flow, as Hosokawa Alpine has developed an integrated, space-saving and energy-saving solution that eliminates the need for additives. It is based on precise process engineering adjustments for the conditioning requirements in the milling vessel.

“During the grinding process, a conditioned ambient atmosphere is created in the Sugarplex SX Flow, whose defined moisture content of the air and retention time of the freshly ground icing sugar in the mill housing is precisely controlled,” explains Klettenhammer. The freshly crushed sugar crystals, which are in an unstable, amorphous state, can therefore be converted into a stable and crystallised form in a controlled process step.

“And without any spontaneous agglomeration,” emphasises Klettenhammer. This significantly increases the storage stability of the icing sugar without the need for additives.

Only compressed air and demineralised water are added. All parts of the Sugarplex SX Flow that come into contact with the product are made of stainless steel and are manufactured in accordance with the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC and the Food Contact Materials Regulation (EC) 1935/2004. Thanks to its PSR 11 design, the system also complies with the European ATEX regulations 2014/34/EU and the most important international directives. The system is an airless concept with no downstream filter or fan, meaning that no fine dust is released into the environment. Alongside the compressed air used as purge air or conditioning air, only demineralised water is used as an additional medium for the process.

“No additional motorised blower is required, which translated into generally very low costs for the system in terms of energy and maintenance,” concludes Klettenhammer.

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