Sanitary, accurate, and reliable mix and blend systems are required by today's food processors

August 2004

The success of frozen vegetable blends in the market has spurred food processors to create new and more exciting offerings.  A growing number of manufacturers are competing in the meal-in-a-bag market with tasty blends including vegetables, meat, pasta, and sauce.

The mix and blend systems of the early 1970's no longer meet the requirements of these advanced recipes.  Today’s advanced recipe systems must be sanitary from beginning to end to meet USDA



hoppers.  Food ingredients inside the hopper must find no place to stop or hide, so large radius corners (without welds) are used; welding is done to USDA specification; pipe grates are made easy to clean, and grids are made to be removable.  To keep product flowing smoothly, bin vibrators, product rakes, or wipers can be used in conjunction with rigidized contact surfaces.  Quick Cleanä carriers enable unobstructed cleaning of primary hoppers and cluster breakers by allowing operations staff to easily disconnect the two and roll the breakers out of the way. 

Customers have the choice of measuring out ingredients either volumetrically or by weight.  Ingredients can be weighed at the primary or 


Many details produce a sanitary hopper.

regulations and corporate commitments to food safety when handling meat or dairy products.  Every aspect of the system must be evaluated for its potential as a bacteria breeding ground.  The implications are significant and touch everything from the surface texture of the stainless steel, to gaps between adjoining surfaces, the radius of corners, protrusions in the product flow, accessibility for cleaning, and whether a part is permanent or movable in nature.

Commercial Manufacturing—one of the largest suppliers to the meal-in-a-bag market—has constantly improved its mix and blend system designs over the past thirty years.  Ideas that were conceived by customers and implemented by Commercial engineers have found their way into today's state of the art system.

What does that system look like?  Well, customers have asked for systems that are sanitary, easy to clean, reliable, safe, and accurate.  A typical configuration might start with a stable  anti-tip over frame with as few legs as possible going to the floor.  It might even need to be mobile, such as with wheels, tracks, or forklift pick points.  The frame and primary hoppers must be one continuous surface in order to eliminate nooks and crannies where food can become trapped and hide unnoticed.  Bin cradles with two-stage dumpers are used when pallets are involved to keep debris and pallet wood out of the 

Roll cluster breaker aside to clean hopper.

secondary hopper for batch processes and on weigh belts or in the scale head for continuous system flows.  A specialized low damage metering valve handles volumetrically measured ingredients with a breakaway safety back and quick-change rotor (spool) that is completely cleanable.  Regardless of how the ingredients are measured, a repeatable, predictable process is essential.  To help in this regard, Commercial can include automated controls to assist in bin dumping, cluster breaking, metering, and weighing to assure accurate, consistent results while minimizing operator errors and helping to prevent injuries.

Your processing needs may be different than those described here.  That would be one more reason to contact Commercial Manufacturing—the long standing leader in customized mix and blend systems—and its knowledgeable food processing representatives listed elsewhere on this web site.  

For an overall view of a  volumetrically measured mix and blend system, look at the photo on our Home page.


Quick Clean is a trademark of Commercial Manufacturing of Fresno, California