Automated Separation Solutions For Food Production Line

Haitoglou improves automation of tahini and sesame seed production line with industrial sieving, grading and filtration equipment

by Darren Ralphs | Wednesday 27 September 2017

Founded in 1924, Haitoglou Bros SA is a global leader in the production of sesame products. Processing up to 150 tonnes of seeds a day, the Greek manufacturer prides itself upon modern production facilities, meeting the highest standards of hygiene and automation, ensuring a premium quality product.

From sesame oil and flour to seeds and tahini paste, a wealth of international consumers rely upon the quality of Haitoglou’s products.

To meet these international standards, Haitoglou has invested in state-of-the-art processing and separation equipment throughout automated production lines at its Thessaloniki site. As the business has expanded, Haitoglou has taken the necessary steps to meet production demands, not only with capacity levels but also product quality, hygiene and operator health and safety – with Russell Finex providing high-quality automated food separation equipment throughout.

The first step towards automation began in 2002, when Haitoglou sought a high-capacity automated solution to separating good sesame seeds from soft peels, broken seeds and dust. Russell Finex provided a solution that delivered the capacity of two previous spring-mounted separation units which Haitoglou had previously been using. The Finex Separator™ helped the company reach the desired capacity of two tonnes an hour and improved grading accuracy. These multi-deck round separators provide various cuts of material in one operation. In this case the larger foreign material is removed via the top screen while smaller particles such as peel fragments and dust are removed using the bottom screen.
Nikos Itskos, Haitoglou Bros SA Technical Director, comments, “We first contacted Russell Finex many years ago to provide a higher capacity solution to grade our peeled sesame seeds. We found the quality of separation and capacity was a significant improvement on the previous machines we were using, as the Finex Separator is more powerful than other separators.”

Haitoglou installed additional Finex Separator™ units at this stage of the production line to further enhance production. This demonstrated a step towards using high-performance separation equipment to help the company meet rising demand for its products, and further improvements were subsequently made to downstream equipment. Haitoglou relocated its sesame production to another building - facilitating a completely automated production process - with Russell Finex sieving machines forming an integral part.

The next area for focus was the post-washing stage. Good seeds would stick to the surfaces of the washing unit and be lost during cleaning. Despite seeming like a small quantity, even if 0.1% of product was lost, considering the vast amounts of seeds processed, this amasses to a substantial loss of product. Two Russell Compact Sieve® units were installed after the washing stage to recover these seeds. Water is flushed through the washing machine and into the sieves, where the seeds are then extracted from the wash water, dust and sediment. This is now an automated process, and as well as increasing product yield, production costs were also reduced by meeting modern environmental standards reducing organic material in waste water, lowering contaminated waste water disposal costs.

Mr Itskos states, “What impressed us about Russell Finex equipment was not just the high capacity and accuracy of separation but also the large variety of machines available. If we require very fine separation or a more compact machine - this is available. When we need to grade larger material or filter liquid products - there is a solution. No other supplier has such a variety of options.”

Additional Russell Compact Sieve® machines were also installed to guarantee the quality of sesame seeds before packaging. Haitoglou had been experiencing issues with agglomerated seeds entering the final product and compromising quality. In addition, these agglomerated seeds would block the pneumatic tube transport systems used to pass the seeds from one unit to the next. Mr Itskos stated, “Even if there was one clump of product per 100kg of seeds, this would not be acceptable for Haitoglou. We promise 100% quality for our customers - any less is unacceptable. The Russell Compact Sieve guarantees the quality of our packed sesame seeds by removing any clogging or oversize.”

At Haitoglou Bros SA, the sesame seeds are either packaged or further processed to make tahini. To produce tahini, milling and sterilization processes are applied, and the resulting sesame paste must then be filtered to remove oversize contamination and guarantee a consistent, smooth product. The company invested in the Self-Cleaning Russell Eco Filter® to fulfil this requirement. These automated inline filters can be installed easily into an existing production line to remove oversize contamination from liquid products. A unique and continuous self-cleaning design means there is no downtime to change filter elements, and no slowing of throughput due to blockages. The filters are totally enclosed, preventing contamination - ideal for food applications.

As with the packaged sesame seeds, a final quality-check solution was installed at the end of the tahini production line. A unique high-speed Russell Compact Sieve® was custom-built especially for Haitoglou and installed before the packaging stage, to provide a final quality-check of the tahini paste. These compact vibratory food screeners fit easily into existing production lines, and enclosed operation not only protects operators from dust and fumes, but ensures total containment, eliminating the risk of contamination at this crucial stage before packaging. The units are available with all-stainless-steel parts and can be quick and easily dismantled and assembled for cleaning, making it ideal for the food industry.

Haitoglou has been delighted with the level of automation, capacity and quality provided by Russell Finex equipment. Mr Itskos commented, “We are very satisfied with the quality of Russell Finex equipment. We have vast experience in working with sesame seed products, and understand that sesame products can be very difficult to process. For us to invest in so many Russell Finex machines is testament to their quality. We now only choose Russell machines for these applications.”

With five subsidiaries around the world Russell Finex is a global leader in the design and manufacture of automated industrial separation equipment. Over 80 years of experience in supplying equipment to the food industry has allowed Russell Finex to secure the trust and partnership of Haitoglou, a major global brand, into the future.

Mr Itskos concluded, “Since our first purchase in 2002, we have trusted Russell Finex to supply high-quality equipment to meet the needs of our customers. We now run a completely automated sesame and tahini production line, and are very happy with the service provided by Russell Finex. From onsite tests at our factory, or trials at Russell Finex’s test facility to after sales support, whenever a new application has been identified, we have received excellent advice from the sales team. If ever we have an occasional issue, we can always talk to an engineer and rely on a fast response.”

Contact Russell Finex to find out how automated food separation solutions can benefit your production line.


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Martin Chipperfield
Russell Finex Ltd
+44 20 8818 2000

Wednesday 27 September 2017 / file under Engineering | Food and Beverage | Machinery