Confectioners' sugar – also called powdered sugar, 10X, or icing sugar – involves finely grinding sugar granules into a powdered state. Confectioners' sugar usually contains anti-caking agents – such as tricalcium phosphate, potato starch, or cornstarch – to absorb moisture, helps the sugar flow easily, and prevent clumping. Because of these additives, confectioners' sugar is typically 95-97% percent sucrose.
Though it can be made by hand, factory-produced confectioners' sugar uses industrial sugar milling machinery: fine grinders, air classifying mills, lump breakers, and airlocks. This finely ground sugar is often used in industrial food production when recipes require sugar that dissolves quickly. It is used in the manufacture of icing, many types of mass-produced candies, and other foods containing sugar manufactured at scale.
Sugar Grinding & Fine Grinders in Powdered Sugar Manufacturing
Confectioners' sugar varies in how finely it is ground and is often designated as 6X, 8X, or 10X. The finer the sugar granules are ground, the higher the X number, with 10X used to provide smoothness and consistency in icings. Because of how fine it needs to be ground, fine grinders are often used in the confectioners' sugar grinding process to produce it in bulk.
Powered sugar is used primarily because of its ability to dissolve in water, which food processing manufacturers use to make all sorts of sweetened food products at scale. Ideally suited for processing raw sugar into ultra-fine confectionery grades, grinders reduce the sugar granules into powder through impact and shear action.
These ultra-fine grinders pulverize free-flowing, dry material into tightly distributed particle sizes as fine as 400 mesh (37 microns). When it comes to fine grades of confectioners' sugar, ultra-fine grinders can easily reduce granules between 100-200 mesh (75-149 microns), depending on the final "X" designation required.
Fine grinders are designed to operate within pneumatic conveying systems. They are practical when milling heat-sensitive materials such as sugar which also requires a high degree of dust control to reduce the possibility of dust explosions. Pneumatic systems work by using an enclosed conveying circuit to move material, using fans or blowers to create pressure differential and airflow. By controlling the pressure and airflow, the fan moves material through the system with little damage or loss. Pneumatic systems work well with batch ingredients that require weighing and cooling during their manufacture.
Fine grinders are a type of impact milling equipment that mechanically reduces the particle size of a wide range of bulk solids, including systems that break down various types of flour, minerals, grains, and sugar. Impact mills use a striking force to stress natural weak spots in the particles, breaking them down into smaller sizes. Used primarily on dry, free-flowing material like sugar granules, fine grinders are well-suited to produce a narrow particle distribution for greater uniformity.
Prater Fine Grinders for Sugar Grinding
Prater Industries Fine Grinders offer better control of dust, easier maintenance, improved safety features, a precise distribution, and greater capacity. This combination of features is the perfect combination for large-scale sugar grinding operations. Using a cantilevered, vertical rotor design, Prater's fine grinder features a large hinged door to allow easy access to the internal mechanics, reducing the time needed for maintenance and product changeovers.
Prater's fine grinders can break down sugar particles to 200 mesh (75 microns) and finer. Its highly efficient design works well within any process that includes sugar grinding, with multiple sizes available to suit various production needs. The high-speed impact principle allows production lines to precisely control particle size.
Some features of Prater's fine grinders include:
- Precision fit grinding jaws
- Hygienic, dust-tight design
- Several maintenance saving features
- Standard safety devices
- Replaceable impact parts
Beyond the need for sugar grinding, Prater ensures its fine grinders operate efficiently and meet a wide range of industries' needs.