October 15th 2019
When Pittsburgh, PA based TruFood Mfg needed a new melter, PTL’s solution was the only option that ticked all the boxes
The need for a flexible melter that meet the needs of a dynamic co-manufacturer
The PTL melter, which is an innovative, small-footprint solution that can be customised to meet different requirements
Increased efficiency across all areas: labour reduction, melt rate increase, footprint reduction, portability, ease of loading, cleaning and changeover time reduction. The ability to be installed next the point of use (rather than having to pump from remote batch kitchen where traditional melt and use tanks are located) results in reduced product waste due to long piping runs
“The sanitary design and build quality of the melter is second-to-none. What’s obvious is the amount of time and thought that has been put into all aspects of the machine.”
– Mike Berko, Project Engineer
The need for a melter that could meet a range of requirements
TruFood Mfg is one of the top contract manufacturers in the USA of private-label nutrition bars, protein bars, chocolate-moulded products, and baked goods. Founded in 1985, the company has three production facilities in Pittsburgh, PA. They produce a wide range of products for category-leading brands, and their dedication to the quality of their products means high-quality equipment is required in all of their facilities.
When TruFood Mfg made the decision to purchase a new melter, they had specific requirements in mind. Not only did it need to melt a range of product effectively, it also had to be able to deliver coating to their production line efficiently. TruFood Mfg needed a melter that was:
- Capable of fast, efficient changeovers to an allergen standard
- Easy to maintain and operate
- A footprint that wouldn’t require a large amount of space or long supply piping runs
- Able to seamlessly integrate with existing equipment
Unique, innovative approach made the PTL solution stand out
Mike Berko, Project Engineer, already had PTL on his radar, having spoken to some engineering colleagues at other production facilities using PTL equipment. “They were one of a few options we looked at,” he recalls. “The decision to go with them came down to the unique, innovative approach they’ve taken towards melting and delivering coatings. No other options I investigated had the abilities to meet all the design criteria for the project’s needs.”
PTL melters are designed to continuously melt product corresponding to down-stream production rates. They’re flexible in that they’re not specifically designed to work with bar line machinery (typically enrobing with chocolate), but with any process. This means they’re adaptable for all kinds of food production facilities such as bar co-packers, bakeries and chocolate manufacturers.
After making contact with PTL and discussing their requirements, Mike realised the solution that PTL‘s melting solution would exceed expectations. “The sanitary design and build quality of the melter is second-to-none,” he says. “What was obvious was the amount of time and thought that had been put into all aspects of the machine. This equates to ease of use, ease of sanitation, minimal downtime for sanitation and flexibility to switch between products to keep up with our customers’ demands.”
Efficiency gains, flexibility and ease of use
Since the installation of the melter, TruFood Mfg have seen an increase in production efficiency. Mike says this is down to how user-friendly and flexible the melter is. “As a co-manufacturer, we need to be flexible enough to meet a variety of customers’ requirements,” he explains. “The melter allows us to do just that.” Other benefits Mike identifies include:
- A single person can operate the unit and keep up with the needed melt rate
- The small footprint and portability of the unit meant it could be installed in an area where space is at a premium and keep the adjacent areas usable and not overcrowded
- Since the melter is located beside the end point of use, the amount of supply piping is reduced greatly, especially compared to the piping that would be required if larger, conventional-style melting and holding tanks were being used instead.
- Disassembly for cleaning does not require any tools or specialist expertise
- All components are identified for easy and accurate reassembly.
“The sanitation process for the melter is simple due to the ability to remove it to a designated wash area,” Mike explains. “The design of the removable melt head and stirrer allows full access to all product contact surfaces. The short length of piping means the circuit can be broken down into easy-to-handle individual components that can be easily and thoroughly sanitised in a fraction of the time that would be required with a traditional setup.”
Expertise for dealing with complex challenges and support issues
Like many of PTL’s customers, TruFood Mfg is located in the US. PTL is based in New Zealand, but Mike explains that the differences in geography were not a problem. “I was able to work out all the details for our melter via initial face-to-face meetings, email, conference calls and web design review meetings,” he says. “The response time for any issues has been excellent. I’ve always received a prompt response from the PTL team either via email, phone call or text. Also, the fact that PTL always has a staff member in the US has allowed them to visit our facilities to review, in person, any issues we’ve had.”
Looking forward to continuing a great relationship
When it comes to future projects, TruFood Mfg have already placed an order for an additional melter. “I’ve had discussions with PTL for additional projects,” Mike reveals. “I’m really looking forward to continuing to build on the great partnership that TruFood Mfg has with PTL.”
Mike also has some words of advice for anyone in a similar industry, considering a new melter purchase. “When you order equipment from PTL, the team is very thorough in going through all aspects of the project from conception through to completion,” he says. “They are open to collaboration, they listen to your suggestions and work with you to reach your end goal. PTL truly cares about your success. Their goals is in working towards the right solution for the unique challenges their customers bring to them.”
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