For quite some time Infré SA in Switzerland had been searching for a suitable tea blender for blending different types of tea. The 'gentle touch' required for tea, they found at Lindor in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. The decision was made to purchase the Lindor L4000 industrial mixer; gentle on fragile tea leaves and highly energy-efficient. This blender has increased flexibility for Infré and consequently also their market potential.
As with wine, the quality of tea can vary enormously. Its taste and composition depends on the country in which the tea is harvested, the weather conditions during growth, the location (height) of the tea plantation and the composition and quality of the soil. Tea is blended in order to achieve a consistent quality of tea and the Lindor mixer is ideal for this purpose. The fragile tea leaves are mixed very gently in the drum to form a homogeneous blend.
Tea naturally contains caffeine, also known as theine. Decaffeinating tea is what the Swiss firm Infré is specialised in. The decaffeination process takes place after the tea has been blended, using methylene chloride. This solvent is widely used in the food industry and among other things is suitable for the extraction of caffeine from coffee and tea.
The decision to purchase the "gentle touch" L4000 industrial blender will enable Infré to offer a fully integrated service to customers. As Mr Gert ter Voorde, CEO at Infré SA, remarks: "Our customers prefer to buy their tea ready to use, which means already blended and decaffeinated. This tea blender allows us to purchase different types of tea from all over the world and blend it to obtain the required quality. The Lindor mixer increases our flexibility and as a result we can appeal to a much larger market. What settled it for us was the mixing principle, the quality and sustainability. This tea blender is an important tool towards further grow for Infré."
The L4000 version enables a net product volume of 4,000 litres. The rotary drum of the blender contains six fixed scoops and on both sides of the drum there is a special seal that integrates seamlessly with the static inlet and outlet structure. The geometry of the paddles and their position in the drum ensures that the drum is completely emptied (> 99.8 %) after opening the pneumatically controlled discharge valve. In one batch process the tea blender can process 4m³. Cleaning and maintenance is facilitated by three large access panels. All metal parts of the tea blender that come into contact with the product, are manufactured from stainless steel 316. The machine complies with all hygiene and health and safety requirements as set by the food industry for this type of equipment, including the FDA standards. With dimensions of five by two-and-a-half metres and a height of two-and-a-half metres, the mixer weighs approximately 3,000 kg (excluding lower frame).
At the request of Infré, the standard frame has not been finished in RAL1013 (pearl white) but in bright orange! Mr ter Voorde laughed when he saw the frame, according to him "This is a typical joke you could expect from the Swiss owner of Infré. He thinks that tea blenders from the Netherlands should be given the national colours of the country, which in this case is orange. Even though I am a Dutchman, I am not particularly fond of this colour. But I must admit, orange does not look bad at all in our factory in Semsales in Switzerland!"
For more than half a century Infré SA from Switzerland have been specialists in the decaffeination of all kinds of tea. Many leading tea brands from Europe find their way to Infré to have their tea decaffeinated. In addition, Infré has introduced many different decaffeinated teas on the market under the Infré brand name. This proprietary brand has made them market leaders in Italy and Switzerland.
As a result of the growing demand for decaffeinated tea, in 2004 Infré decided to build a new high-tech tea plant in Semsales, Switzerland. After two years of construction, their more than 60 years of experience in decaffeinating tea combined with a specialist knowledge of process technology, has resulted in a state-of-the-art plant. Annually around 5,000 tonnes of high quality decaffeinated tea is produced by Infré in their brand new factory.
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