Balaji is the second largest producer of potato crisps in India. The Balaji Group uses our gentle touch mixers for savoury snacks. “We are always looking for new technologies to improve our production”, says Balaji Group director, Keyur Virani. “Lindor has managed to transform our mixing into a more hygienic and efficient process."
Due to increasing market demand, the Balaji plant in Rajkot (Gujarat) required modernisation and expansion of its production capacity. Our Indian partner Food Processing Technologies (FPT) has maintained close ties with the Balaji Group for many years, and together they explored how best to improve the factory’s production process. Director Virani soon became convinced that our Gentle Touch Mixer was the best solution, giving the greatest reliability for taste consistency and quality.
It is essential for extrusion that water is added uniformly to a homogeneous mixture of raw materials. Lindor mixers are ideal, because in addition to mixing the dry raw materials, they also allow for optimal water distribution over the moving product bed without causing any dust. Dust, which causes loss of quality for several reasons in extrusion, must be prevented at all costs. The mixer is fitted with injection lances that have process-specific nozzles, to distribute the water very delicately over a moving product bed, resulting in a homogeneous mixture of a high and consistent quality. The return on investment of a Lindor mixer is very quick, because of its quality advantages and significantly higher productivity. At least six batches per hour, with a batch weight of 400 to 500 kilos.
The machine surfaces are hygienically treated both internally and externally using the Viwateq® water jet finish. Because of this, the surface is beautifully smooth and easy to clean. This minimizes the risk of microbial retention. This is important because the mixture of flour and water is an excellent breeding ground for microbes. The mixer has a retractable inlet and outlet. This makes the mixer, and in particular its seals, even easier to clean. “The mixer is very easy to clean, and we now meet the most stringent hygiene requirements. In addition, the mixer consumes very little energy, has proved to be easy to integrate into our process, and the maintenance costs are low,” says Virani.
Our Indian partner FPT took care of the engineering and installation of the short process line, of which our mixer is a part. The Lindor mixer discharges very quickly. The 400 – 500 kg batch is conveyed rapidly, in a few minutes, by a F3 Floveyor. This is a unique aero-mechanical conveyor system that, just like our mixer, is particularly gentle with the product.
After a year during which the process line had proved its reliability, with low operating and energy costs, the Balaji Group decided to equip the process line in the Valsad and Indore factories with the same Lindor mixers. In total, we have supplied three L1000 mixers with liquid injection, retractable inlets and outlets and a water jet finish. In addition, we also supplied a fourth mixer, an L500 with a batch volume of 500 litres. Our Engineering & Service Manager, Akko van der Lee looks, looks back on this with great satisfaction “The Balaji company is a frontrunner in quality and efficiency in India. In India, they are considered pioneers by their willingness to invest in expensive, Western equipment. We find it a pleasure to work with this company.”
The Balaji Group has a history that reads like a novel. Because of a poor harvest on their father's farm and the subsequent lack of income, founder Chandubhai Virani and his two brothers left the parental home in the '70s. They moved to the city of Rajkot. At the time, Chandubhai was 15 years old and found a job in the cafeteria of a cinema.
Because the supplies to the canteen arrived on a very irregular basis, Chandubhai decided to teach himself how to make crisps. Today, the family business that evolved from his enterprise, owns several factories with over 1800 employees in total. The factories produce 100 thousand kilos of potato crisps, and half a million kilos of other savoury snacks every day. Balaji is the second largest producer of potato crisps in India. The current managing director, Keyur, is a nephew of founder Chandubhai.
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