Lesaffre Ingredients Services (LIS), a specialist provider of industrial services in food ingredients, inaugurated the pilot platform brought into service at its Cérences plant in Normandy. The platform, called the Extrusion Porosification Technology (EPT) unit, is the first pilot installation of its kind in Europe. The unit will now offer businesses in the food industry an advanced technology for the drying process. The pilot platform is a result of a collaborative project between Clextral, Diane Pet Food, Triballat and LIS.

The EPT unit produces porous powders with enhanced properties, such as rehydration, flowability and preservation of assets. The applications concerned range from powdered milk to soluble coffee and a variety of food ingredients.

The EPT process makes it possible to dry highly viscous products and to save between 20 to 40 percent of the energy used in a conventional process of drying through atomization. This technology was developed and patented by Clextral, an extruder company and a subsidiary of the Legris Industries group.

With a total cost of €3 million (US$3.3 million), the project was financed by the four industrial partners involved. This pooling of means enabled the partners to acquire an unprecedented level of expertise in this new technology. The pilot platform, based at the LIS industrial plant in Cérences, has been operational since early June. European food processing companies will now be able to carry out tests to develop new products and to improve their dehydration processes. Clextral is based in Firminy in the Loire district of central France, also supplies special pumps designed for the nuclear industry.

A subsidiary of the LeSaffre Group, LIS is a specialist in drying operations for food ingredients and more generally of converting ingredients into powder form, with two plants in Europe in France and Poland that benefit from a wide range of technological processes (spray-drying, granulation, vacuum drying, encapsulation, toll-blending, etc.).