There is a long list of nuts that may be conveyed in your facility. Almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts are a few common types of nuts that are consumed globally.
The United States Nuts Market is projected to grow at an annual rate of 5% for the next five years. This growth trend mirrors what has happened in the past 10 years. Here is an example of the growth rate of roasted nut and peanut butter manufacturing in the past 10 years.
What is unique about conveying nuts? Nuts are brittle and sensitive to motion and free fall, a common occurrence with certain types of conveying. Nut production and processing facilities either handle a single type of nut or a variety of nuts for various purposes. Nuts can be processed for their oils, for nut butter, or packaging and sale as whole nuts or as ingredients in a wide range of food products. Selecting the best conveyor system for the nuts you are conveying is critical.
So what conveyor systems are the best at conveying nuts?
In October 2022, Cablevey Conveyors commissioned the independent research firm, Ascend2, to conduct a research study titled Evaluating and Implementing New Conveyor Systems. The 16-page study (download for free) asked 290 food processing professionals in the United States and the United Kingdom to provide their insight on critical considerations when evaluating conveyor systems.
In this article, we will review and analyze the findings from 103 food processing professionals that are conveying nuts. What conveying systems are best for the specific needs of conveying nuts? Use these findings and download the report for more information to help prepare for what is ahead in the nut industry.
Finding #1: Are you ready for the upcoming growth in the nut industry?
87% of facilities processing nuts are increasing their budget for conveying equipment and maintenance in the next 12 months. 34% tell us that they are significantly increasing the budget needed to meet growth opportunities. Growth in the industry is projected to continue in the next 5+ years, so advanced planning to meet that growth is critical to your future success.
Why the increase in the budget? The increase is in response to how much these businesses grew in the past year. An astounding 71% of facilities experienced 11% or more growth in the past year. With this type of growth, facilities must plan to accommodate the increased conveying capacity of nuts to meet the growing demand.
Finding #2: Professionals frequently evaluate their conveying systems.
How frequently do professionals in the nut industry evaluate their systems? We can safely say that the answer is “sooner rather than later!”
96% of the professionals surveyed evaluate their systems at least every 6 months and 39% do it monthly.
Finding #3: Energy efficiency is a BIG deal.
What contributes to energy efficiency? The size of the motor and the amount of horsepower required to run a conveying system can have a major impact on production costs. What conveying system is the most energy efficient for conveying nuts? Cable and disc conveyors are #1 by a wide margin, at 54%
Here are two questions to ask regarding energy and efficiency:
- How much energy will this system use?
- Is there a high or a low cut-off point at which this system becomes inefficient?
Finding #4: What type of conveying system optimizes a facility’s workspace?
An important consideration of growth is your workspace and facility requirements. What conveying systems are best for the space that you have available? Are you optimizing the space you have available?
94% of nut industry professionals told us that they are optimizing their workspaces and facility requirements. How are they doing it? According to the nut processing experts surveyed, the #1 conveying system (50%) for maximizing available space is cable and disk conveyors. Bucket elevators (43%) and pneumatic conveyors (43%) were a distant second place in optimizing a facility’s workspace.
The fact is, you cannot have a conveyor system without taking up some floor space. And depending on the size and layout of your facility, the amount of space you have to work with will be different.
When planning the layout of your facility, it is important to take into account all the specifics. Do you need multi-directional conveying? Multi-floor conveying? Do you have a lot of horizontal space or vertical space? Or both? What about any sharp turns or corners, or potential existing equipment or barriers?
Your answers to these questions will help you determine the best conveyor type for your needs. It could be an overhead conveyor, a vertical conveyor, one that transports material at an angle, or similar. For example, if you need to move roasted or raw material between floors at a steep angle, a belt conveyor would not be the best option.
A modular conveyor, such as a Cablevey tubular drag conveyor, is perfect for facilities both with ample and limited space. These conveyors can be configured to fit almost any layout, and they can be modified in time as your facility grows or changes.
Here is a short video that shows a nut conveying system and how to optimize space, maintain integrity, and preserve quality.
Why are cable and disc conveyors so popular? The Cablevey tubular drag-style conveyors are designed to require simple pneumatic tensioning for the cables and require very little maintenance. Cleaning is easy as well, with clean-in-place methods available to improve efficiencies and reduce downtime.
How are tubular conveyors cleaned? Wet cleaning, dry, and in-line cleaning options are available for the Cablevey conveying equipment. The Cablevey engineering and service process works with nut processing teams to determine the best cleaning solution for specific needs and requirements.
For nuts conveying, the enclosed tube environment keeps your materials free of contaminants and safe while in transit. Enclosed tubes can also be sanitized with minimal downtime when transitioning between products that have allergens.
Finding #6: Mixed nuts and gentle conveying of nuts.
Gentle conveying is needed to transport fragile products successfully and swiftly such as nuts and nut products throughout every stage of the manufacturing process, including sorting, roasting, chopping, and packaging. The homogeneity of nuts is extremely important, especially when you are conveying mixed nuts.
What system ranks #1 by nut industry professionals for maintaining the integrity and homogeneity of nuts? Cable and disc conveyors are first at 50%.
The nut industry is growing and evolving. This research study provides insight into the specifics of how industry professionals are preparing for that growth and making the best decisions for their facilities.
The research points to cable and disc conveyors as the superior solution for nut processing facilities. Tubular conveying utilizes a coated, flexible stainless steel drag cable pulled on a looped system. Solid circular discs or flights attached to the cable that gently move product through the system help nut mixes maintain desired ratios of smaller and larger pieces and prevent the settling out that can occur with other types of conveyors.
These discs also push the product through the tube without air or excessive force to maintain material integrity and protect ingredients. The enclosed tubing drastically cuts back on dust for a more sanitary, safer production facility and prevents product contamination. Avoid waste, prevent breakage, and achieve the desired throughput of nut processing with Cablevey tubular drag conveyors.
To find out if a Cablevey system is the best solution for conveying your nuts products, have the Cablevey Testing Center perform a free test for you. The Testing Center will provide you with the data to help you make the most informed decision for your specific need.
This article only covers a portion of the finding from the Ascend2 research study. Download Evaluating and Implementing New Conveyor Systems for more insight into the food processing industry.