Viewed as a renewable, biodegradable material, the market for industrial starch is exploding. But that’s left starch producers scrambling, unable to effectively scale obsolete batch processes to meet demand. Bepex can help.
Bepex brings continuous processing to industrial starch production. Continuous processing is scalable and offers vast improvements compared to batch processing, Plus the Bepex starch processing system provides independent control over mixing, drying, heating, and reaction. That provides operational flexibility while creating a superior product, fine-tuning functionality, and lowering production costs.
Increased Operational Flexibility
Batch systems often combine mixing, drying, and heating into a single unit – limiting flexibility and opportunities to modify the process during production. The Bepex system is designed to create a wide range of products with consistent, repeatable results. Whether creating different products or fine-tuning current operations, adjustability in residence time, temperature, and gas concentrations allows for easy modification of color, RVA profile, or other functional requirements.
Lower Operating Costs
Bepex offers the fastest drying and heating capabilities on the market while also minimizing required gas flow. Our high efficiency, indirect heat transfer significantly reduces the time needed for processing. Continuous processing also requires less labor and material handling than batch operations. It all adds up to lower operating costs and better cap ex returns.
Starch dust can be highly combustible. Bepex’s indirect drying technology uses less oxygen in processing, limiting the opportunity for accidental ignition. Drying, heating, and reacting units are also designed for dust containment or inert operations.
Multiple Processes. Proven Technology.
Mixing is a critical first step in the starch production process. Starch and a diluting acid or base must be mixed aggressively to create a homogenous mix. The Bepex Turbulizer provides aggressive, high-shear mixing, designed to improve product quality and color by preventing localization of the acid or base.
After mixing, the starch feed needs to be dried to less than 0.5% moisture. The Bepex Solidaire quickly removes moisture from the starch, preventing gelatinization. The Solidaire’s rapid, thin-film drying technology leads to minimal color change and cuts processing time.
The dry starch is rapidly heated to 140-220°C, depending on the modification required. Extremely rapid heating helps preserve the color of the starch. A single, multi-zone Solidaire can be used to both dry and heat the starch, or the operations can be separated for more control – including the ability to adjust temperatures on the fly for different products.
The hot starch enters the Bepex Continuator, where it is held at a specific time and temperature to encourage the inhibition reaction. Residence time, temperature and gas concentrations are all adjustable, allowing for product changes on the fly.
The hot, modified starch is cooled in a Solidaire to prevent gelatinization when the starch is added to water to wash out residual chemicals or other impurities. Cooling is done in an inert environment to eliminate product degradation.
After washing, excess water often is mechanically removed from the starch, then the starch wet cake is fed into the Bepex PCX dispersion dryer. The PCX can handle pumpable or non-pumpable starch feeds. It mills and dries the starch in a single step to control particle size and density while low drying temperatures protect product quality.
All new inquiries begin with a feasibility study. These studies aim to provide preliminary insights into the viability of a commercial process. Using as little as 100 grams of material, we can begin early process design, develop plans for pilot-testing and/or confirmation, and begin providing early economic estimates. Our experience across our wide range of technologies gives us a unique ability to provide quick feedback on the feasibility of your process.
From our learnings, we’ll begin the process development work. The primary work in this phase takes place in the form of pilot-scale testing in our Process Development Center. Our pilot tests look a bit different than what you may have experienced in the past. Each test is designed to measure the system performance and feasibility rather than that of any single machine.
Each system is custom assembled for each test. Our goal is to provide as much of a pilot-scale simulation as possible while gathering scale-up data to deliver on commercial capacities. When a certain technology proves ineffective, we’ll draw from our range of options to determine if there is a better fit. The Process Development Center is our sandbox to build, test, and revise to ensure we get every detail right.
With a successful pilot simulation completed, we now have everything we need to scale up and provide proposals for capital equipment with included performance guarantees.
System Design And Build
After receipt of the purchase order, we begin with both equipment and system engineering. Each proprietary technology we sell is custom-designed and built per application. We do not have any off-the-shelf units. At this stage, your exact system begins to take shape, including auxiliary equipment, process flow diagrams, process and instrumentation diagrams, safety provisions, and more.
After delivery and installation of your new system, Bepex will provide a mechanical check to ensure everything is placed according to plan. This is followed shortly thereafter by system commissioning. This is where our pilot-scale simulations become invaluable, as our team of application engineers, controls technicians, and sales engineers begin working with your team to successfully bring your system online.
At this point, you’re up and running at rate, producing a quality product, but our work doesn’t stop there.
Following commissioning, Bepex remains a reliable partner, providing quality OEM parts, immediate field service, process optimization, training, system troubleshooting, and more. We have consistently had high customer retention rates, and we believe it is due in large part to our comprehensive approach to serving our customers long after the original sale.