The company exports almost half of its total volume to Europe, a place where almonds have always been a food mainstay.
Helping CGA maintain this important product purity is a series of Eriez® 66C and 46C Electromagnetic Feeders, Model FF Metal Separators and a variety of Rare Earth (RE) plates and tube magnets. The Eriez equipment is installed at both the company’s Tenaya and El Roya processing plants in Modesto, California, part of the lush San Joaquin Valley.
CGA produces premium almond ingredients by managing control from tree to package. The almonds are primarily grown on farms that the company owns and operates in the heart of the almond country. The 35-employee company also collaborates with neighboring farmers who produce almonds to meet CGA’s standards for quality and freshness.
Almonds grow from tree varieties developed using natural breeding, meaning the almonds are not genetically modified (non-GMO). CGA pumps water from its wells supplied by the Sierra Mountains and it rents honeybees to pollinate the almond orchards and some good pumps are powered via solar panels.
Along with the Eriez products, the company’s top-of-the-line food-grade facilities contain cutting edge equipment to shell, sort, pasteurize, roast, dice, slice, mill and pack almonds. This enables CGA to have high standard confectionery grade almonds. Technology on the shop floor includes optical and infrared sorting, low-moisture pasteurization and constant-vibration roasting.
Eriez equipment brings quality assurance to both plants
The Tenaya and El Roya processing facilities are a quarter-mile from each other, but they serve different customer bases, according to CGA. The 35,000 square foot Tenaya facility, built about three years ago, processes almonds for domestic customers while the larger, 84,000-square-foot El Roya facility built two years ago satisfies the company’s export business. By processing millions of pounds of almonds annually between the two facilities, CGA satisfies the demands of a vast array of customers such as yogurt and ice cream shops, chocolatiers, bakeries, gluten-free baking mix makers and industrial giants.
The Tenaya facility is designed for confectionary grade almond processing at the retail level, according to CGA. Here, the incoming raw almonds fall freely through a series of Eriez Model FF Metal Separators, which are designed to detect all magnetic and non-magnetic metal contamination, even when embedded in the product. Metal contaminants are then rejected through the “Quick Flap” reject unit.
Next, the Eriez 66C and 46C Hi-Vi Electromagnetic Feeders properly convey the precise amount of raw almonds—approximately 12,000 pounds per hour—that eventually pass through an optical sorting line and into the packaging process.
The Eriez feeders feature a totally-enclosed patented magnetic drive and can feed practically any bulk material from micron size to bulky chunks. Standard units operate at temperatures up to 130° F while high-temperature units are available for temperatures up to 300°F.
At the El Roya plant, two Model FF Metal Separators and several RE Plate and Tube Magnets help detect and remove contamination from almonds destined for exporting to a European customer base. The Eriez equipment is installed on the main processing line conveying 20,000 pounds of almonds per hour and a secondary line conveying 15,000 pounds per hour.
Plate Magnets installed in chutes, spouts, ducts and pipes or suspended over conveyors remove tramp iron to help prevent costly shutdowns associated with machinery damage. Individual tube magnets are used as a quality control check of dry bulk materials and in many other ways where a powerful, portable magnetic power source is needed.
The Eriez equipment gives CGA a cut above in the almond industry and gives the company a competitive advantage from a technological standpoint. The Eriez feeders, in particular, allow CGA to build more efficient processing lines while reducing human touching and handling of the almonds.