NWU on forefront of extrusion technology
The second annual international ExtruAfrica Training Seminar and Conference Week was recently held at the Protea Hotel Kruger Gate. ExtruAfrica is an initiative of the dti Centre of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing (CoE) at the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University (NWU) to promote extrusion through conferences and training seminars.
This event provided a platform for industry, entrepreneurs, researchers, academics, government, investors and funders to learn more and share knowledge about extrusion technology and its applications and opportunities. This year, delegates from more than five countries attended the event. The two-day practical training seminar on food, feed and pet food extrusion was presented by Dr Mian Riaz, a world-renowned extrusion expert from the Texas A&M University in the USA, Prof LJ Grobler, Head of the CoE and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Mr Danie Vorster, Director of CFAM Technologies at the NWU.
“Extrusion cooking is a processing tool used to introduce thermal and mechanical energy to food and feed ingredients, forcing the basic components of the ingredients, such as starch and protein, to undergo chemical and physical changes, meanwhile forming a predetermined shape,” explained Dr Riaz during the training seminar. He also described the technical functions that an extruder can provide, how ingredients are used and the classification of extruders.
One of the advantages of extrusion cooking is adaptability, as it can supply the demand by consumers for new food products. “Extrusion can modify protein, starches, almost all sources and other food material to produce a variety of new and unique food products,” added Dr Riaz.
Energy efficiency is another advantage of extrusion and Prof Grobler presented a topic on energy management in extrusion plants, showing delegates how to understand and manage energy.
The training seminar included a practical demonstration each day where delegates could experience first-hand how different products with different shapes can be made with the same extruder. They could also see, smell and taste some of the extruded products, as both food and feed products were extruded. The setup of an extruder and the different types of screw-configuration on the shafts were explained to delegates. The TX50 extruder, manufactured at CFAM Technologies (Pty) Ltd on the Potchefstroom Campus of the NWU, was used for the practical demonstrations.
One of the advantages of extrusion cooking, namely high product quality, enjoyed a lot of attention during the conference.
Prof Herman van Schalwyk, agricultural economist and rector of the Potchefstroom Campus of the NWU, led the final day of the conference with a keynote address on agro-business development and processing. He said: “Extrusion is the ideal tool to address malnutrition and ensure food security for more people in Africa. Extrusion increases the shelf life of most products and the possibilities to address malnutrition in poverty stricken countries, where cooling and cooking facilities are not available, are endless.”
Visit the ExtruAfrica website at www.extruafrica.org.za for more information on extrusion and upcoming events.
Various visitors and staff from the NWU Potchefstroom Campus attended the ExtruAfrica Conference week. Here in the back from left: Christoff Briers, Karl-Heinz Tietz, Christo van der Merwe, Piet van Huyssteen, Danie Vorster, Anje Vorster, Bruno Molefe and Nelson Mongale.
In the front from left are Petro de Wet, Natasa Taseski, Prof Herman van Schalkwyk, Dr Mian Riaz, Prof LJ Grobler and Selmarie Grobler.