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Inside Philz Coffee’s new MPE-designed processing system

Philz Coffee

Philz Coffee is one of the most widely recognised names in the United States coffee scene. In the past 10 years, it has grown tremendously, with coffee shops in numerous American cities. Part of Philz’ success can be seen in its expanding roasting and processing capabilities, exemplified in its MPE-designed system in San Francisco, California.

Scope
Plant managers wanted a plant that could accommodate green bean storage up to 90,000 pounds (40,800 kilograms). They needed the ability to blend more than 10 types of beans for their finished products, along with wanting a high degree of automation. The finished product would be both ground, largely drip filter, and whole bean coffee. MPE Systems Group designed a flexible and fully automated process system.

Green coffee funnel and operation cleaning.

Green Bean Intake and Cleaning
The green bean intake, cleaning, and storage bin system comprises:

  • A green bean unloading station. This elevated platform, roughly 12 by 16 feet (3.6 by 4.8 metre) has a funnel underneath that the coffee falls into. A worker cuts open palletised burlap sacks of coffee to empty them into the hopper below. Traditionally, the dust created from the coffee as it falls into the mezzanine would be inhaled be the worker above. But this issue is solved entirely with the use of dust collection intakes added by MPE engineers.
  • The green coffee transport is done using a Chain-Vey tubular drag conveyor to a green bean cleaner.
  • The green bean cleaner removes any broken beans, dust, or foreign material.
  • Another Chain-Vey transport the coffee to any of the six storage bins.
  • Each storage bin is holding a maximum capacity of 15,000 pounds (6800 kilograms). Each bin sits on four load cells and has two level sensors, for accurate green bean inventory. A slide gate under the bins dispense coffee within plus/minus one per cent to recipe specifications (typically within one pound or half a kilogram).
  • A final Chain-Vey with intakes for each storage bin transports coffee to two different roasters.
  • The Chain-Veys used throughout the system use carbon steel chains with quiet split discs.
Philz Coffee conveying plant.

Post-Roast Coffee Packaging
The post-roast, grinding, mixing, and packaging system comprises:

  • For vibratory feeder stations, where 600-pound (270-kilogram) capacity totes are wheeled onto floor scales for emptying.
  • Floor scales measure the loss in weight as roasted coffee empty from the totes, dosed out by vibratory feeders.
  • A Chain-Vey transports coffee to a paddle blender which mixes up to 500-pound (225-kilogram) batches.
  • The paddle blender empties into a post-mix surge bin yielding less than one persent breakage.
  • A Chain-Vey carries the mixed roasted coffee recipe to a MPE 600FX coffee grinder or, if intended for whole bean sale, onward to a packaging surge bin, followed by a packaging machine.
  • The Chain-Veys used throughout the system use carbon steel chains with quiet split discs.

Results
Philz’ system has been running smoothly for nearly five years now. Plant managers can easily blend together their recipes, while affording flexibility as to how the coffee is processed.

Its grandeur has even caught the focus of other the San Francisco ABC affiliate station.

For more information, call 773-839-4337 to speak to MPE Systems Engineers Scott Will or Andrew Huynh, or email solution@mpechicago.com

Lead image credit: Ramind Lee and Philz Coffee

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