Our test engineers have a background in an extensive catalog of materials and mixtures, and the ability to configure unique solutions to difficult applications. Following are just a few examples of how the Marion Test Center has provided expertise and services to help clients confirm the viability of their mixtures and processes before bringing them to production.
- Multiple ingredient testing: Some food mixes can have up to 30 unique ingredients to get that perfect taste and aroma. Attaining the right consistency throughout the mix can be tricky because each ingredient has to be added in the right sequence to achieve superior consistency throughout the batch. Getting this just right can require multiple tests for inflow of ingredients to the mix.
- Analog testing: For very expensive materials, our engineers can run trials on materials with similar properties, before using your expensive material. Recently, a nutraceutical and dietary supplements company found that, in a microbial reduction process, their materials were sticking to the sides of the machine in their production line. By running eight different tests using a similar, but less expensive material, we were able to adjust the thermal processing parameters and provide a significant reduction in the side wall caking.
- Precision testing: When it comes to chemicals, pharmaceuticals, baby formulas and other highly precise mixes, it is important to ensure that every mix comes out perfectly. Running tests on new formulations and mixes allows food processors to try new mixes in a laboratory to tweak the formulations before running large batches.
- Color precision testing: In plastics, some types of biomass and foods, testing of different color combinations helps determine the right look of the mix. Testing of different color combinations is a must to get the exact look for each mix.
- Tests of materials that are traditionally thought to be inappropriate for microwave, like metals: A recent test of a powdered metal, molybdenum, showed that WaveMix could be effective in the removal of oils and other moisture content without damaging effects to the material or equipment.
- Creation of new markets: Recently a customer wanted to process high-value nanocrystal gel into a powder. However, if the heating rose above a certain temperature, the material degraded and couldn’t be used. Through testing at Marion, we were able to develop a process using WaveMix for these special materials that produced the desired product while maintaining material integrity.
- New materials, new products, new customer demands: Technology and consumer demands are constantly changing. Suppliers of raw materials may go out of business or be replaced by suppliers with better pricing or quality. When a new material comes on the market or a company wants to try a new formula to meet consumer demand, testing the mix and processing is an important step before going to market. Changing one material can affect the entire mix or the proportions of other ingredients. Thorough testing ensures success.
- Process improvement: Working with a company in the area of natural ingredients (dehydrated biomass for nutrition), we found that by using WaveMix, Marion was able to reduce the drying time from three days to less than four hours. Similar processing could be applied to other biomass products for dramatically higher efficiency, footprint savings on the production floor, and faster time-to-market.
Of course, our Test Center is also at the ready to develop new products, improve the quality of existing materials, and provide guidance in new materials for existing customers.
New Building, New Test Capabilities
The Marion Test Center was recently enhanced, supporting our commitment to innovation and customer service. The new Test Center was designed to serve customers during their on-site visits, and to bring engineering and product development under one roof. Working together across departments allows improved product development for every Marion solution.
Our Test Center is at your disposal for both pre-purchase and as an aftermarket service to make sure you are getting the best out of your industrial mixers and WaveMix™ equipment. Recently, we upgraded the center with video cameras so that when it is logistically impossible to come physically to the plant, customers can be with us virtually during the testing of their products.
On site we have:
- Paddle, ribbon and continuous mixers
- 10- and 15-cubic-foot capacities available
- Configurable mixers with choppers and spray manifold for liquid addition
- WaveMix™ Mini 0.5 cubic foot
- WaveMix™ 10 cubic foot, non-vacuum
- Moisture analysis
- Rental fleet
With this range of configurations, we can test small quantities for feasibility prior to scalability testing of larger batches, to provide solid data for calculating return on commercial-scale investments.
Please connect with your Marion representative to arrange a visit to the Marion Test Center or to test new materials as your needs develop.