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Conserve and Control: Part 1 — Consume less, produce more

This two-part series on conservation will discuss the ways that food processors can reduce the consumption of natural resources, ingredients and maintenance products while reducing operating costs. Part 1 addresses how processors can conserve utility consumption, contributing to a sustainable atmosphere in and around plant locations.

Part 2, which will be published in the next issue of FoodTech Report, will discuss opportunities to maximize the usefulness and reduce waste in food ingredients and maintenance products, such as lubrication. JBT FoodTech can help companies address these issues with innovative food processing solutions that have been developed in response to worldwide natural resource consumption concerns and increasingly unmanageable operating costs.

A company can gain the reputation as a responsible food processor for a variety of reasons. Promoting a culture of worker safety can make a company a responsible employer. Following guidelines and fulfilling sanitation compliance standards can make a company responsible to its consumers. Abiding by regulations for clean air and wastewater disposal can make a company a responsible member of the community.

Processors can become responsible corporate citizens, and lower operating costs, by practicing accountability for energy consumption. Today’s innovative features for processing equipment lines advance performance capabilities while improving cost-effectiveness and energy efficiency. But in some cases, simple steps such as performing regular hose and nozzle checks and using large amounts of steam only during crucial times in the production process can aid food processors in decreasing utility consumption while improving product quality.

Thermal delivery and air usage controls

Conserve and Control
The Process Technologies Laboratory is one research center within FMC FoodTech that studies new ways to conserve energy and increase efficiency using thermal technology — for example, utilizing steam when it is needed most helps conserve water and natural gas.
Steam is an excellent source of energy to a cooking process for improving product yields, throughput and desired product attributes. By using MultiPhase™ cooking, the process advocated by JBT FoodTech, food processors can eliminate the misuse of steam, reduce the quantity of steam required in a cooking process, and lower the annual cost of natural gas and water.

"MultiPhase cooking simply means to deliver the right heat transfer mechanism at the right time in the cooking process to meet a given product outcome,” says Ramesh Gunawardena, technology and process development manager at the JBT FoodTech Food Processing Technology and Training Center in Sandusky, Ohio, U.S.A. “Using greater amounts of steam only makes sense early on in any cooking process — when the product surface temperature is below the dew point of the surrounding oven environment — when rapid energy transfer to the product through condensation is in effect.”

Beyond the early stage of the cooking process, steam has lesser or no benefit.

Water conservation by design

The JBT FoodTech SuperAgi automated batch retort reduces the cost per product to process because of its compact size with standard capacity. It produces more while using less water and electricity.
JBT FoodTech engineers developed a utilities-saving system with its SuperAgi™ automated agitated batch retort, which offers the same holding capacity as previous retorts offered by JBT FoodTech but in a more compact design. By using the space available more effectively inside the retort, such as installing sprayers inside the rotating drum, food processors overall use less water, steam, air, electricity and heat per unit produced, says Bart Mertens, sales and marketing manager for JBT FoodTech.

In addition to cooking uses, water is used in sanitation and maintenance processing on the plant floor. Saving water can start with the purchase of equipment designed for optimal sanitation, such as the GYRoCOMPACT® M10 spiral freezer. All hollow pipes and tubes were eliminated on structural components in this design, and horizontal surfaces are sloped, making the M10 accessible and easy to clean. Selecting water-efficient cleaning systems available in aftermarket kits can decrease downtime and water usage on new and existing equipment.

Optimal energy consumption

Opportunities for electricity savings lie in innovations that fulfill the needs of cost savings and increased production.

“The JBT FoodTech FRIGoDRIVE® M drive system available on larger-size GYRoCOMPACT spiral freezers, chillers and proofers reduces maintenance by one-third, enables a 30 percent increase in stack weight and 30 percent greater belt speeds, and has the driving power now at 25 percent of that of a low-tension system,” says Ingmar Pahlsson, freezer product line manager for JBT FoodTech.

As production costs increase and food safety standards are more stringent while consumers demand lower prices, suppliers, manufacturers and processors are looking to an energy-conscious future for answers. Part 2 of the “Conserve and Control” article series, running in the next issue of FoodTech Report, will discuss opportunities for waste reduction and materials savings.

™MultiPhase and SuperAgi are trademarks and ®FRIGoDRIVE, GYRoCOMPACT and THERMoFIN are registered trademarks of JBT FoodTech.
©2008 JBT FoodTech. All rights reserved.

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