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FoodTech Report

Volume 6 Issue 2

Research Report: Tech Center Upgrades

Food preparation and packaging continues to evolve as consumer demands change and technology advances. Ready meals have progressed from requiring a 25-minute cook time in the oven in the 1950s to a few minutes in the microwave today. In that time, the variety of ready meals advanced from the original “TV dinner” of turkey and vegetables to a food variety filling multiple aisles in the freezer section of a supermarket.

The JBT FoodTech Food Processing and Technology Centers offer JBT FoodTech engineers and food processing partners a place to test new methods, products and equipment.

Food processors continually evaluate equipment, materials and ingredients to ensure that regardless of changing consumer needs — whether it’s trans-fat-free foods or single-portion packaging — their product is a market leader. For more than 30 years, JBT FoodTech has worked side by side with food processors to test product quality, sustainability, cost, throughput and yield, while maintaining commercial viability. As quickly as food processors make changes within their markets, JBT FoodTech food processing and technology centers are ready to accommodate new testing needs.

Recent upgrades to JBT FoodTech technology centers include the availability of a SuperAgi™ Multi-Purpose Laboratory Pressure Sterilizer at the Process Technologies Laboratory in Madera, Calif., U.S.A., and the installation of the second-generation GYRoCOMPACT® Spiral Oven (GCO-II) in the Food Processing Technology & Training Center (FPTC) in Sandusky, Ohio, U.S.A.

First availability in the United States

The Multi-Purpose Laboratory Pressure Sterilizer, or lab retort, was first introduced in 2002 as a small lab unit for research applications. Prior to its installation in the Madera Process Technologies Laboratory, the lab retort was only available for testing at the process lab in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, but has been available for purchase worldwide. An article in Vol. 5, Issue 3, of FoodTech Report discusses how a lab retort has helped NASA test and package food for astronauts.

Food processors with internal research groups can utilize the lab retort to study thermal processes, the affects of time and temperature variables, and different sterilization methods to reduce water consumption and improve operating costs. Food processors test new sterilization processes and new products with the lab retort.

The Process Technologies Laboratory has capabilities to simulate multiple commercial machines and sterilization processes. The lab retort is a one-basket simulator of multiple commercial machines and sterilization processes, including the Continuous Rotary Pressure Sterilizer, the continuous Hydrostatic Sterilizer, the continuous Rotary Atmospheric Sterilizer, the Steam Water Spray™(SWS) Automated Batch Retort, and the SuperAgi Automated Batch Retort in both SWS and full or partial water immersion modes.

“The lab retort enables food processors traditionally utilizing a water emersion process, for example, to test that process prior to purchasing a new full-size retort. The system also provides food processors with the flexibility to migrate to the next generation of products or to future processes, such as the energy-efficient SWS process,” says Terry Heyliger , thermal processing manager for FPTC.

Return of the GCO-II 1000

In the Sandusky technology center, the new installation of the GCO-II allows processors to test out the equipment before determining whether it is an investment they are ready to make. The GCO-II 1000 utilizes a 1,000 mm belt for increased capacity. The model available for testing also features top and bottom impingement technology for even cooking and browning. The impingement step is an optional feature for the GCO-II.

The GCO-II GYRoCOMPACT 1000 spiral oven is installed at the Food Processing and Technology Center (FPTC) in Sandusky, Ohio, U.S.A
The GCO-II GYRoCOMPACT 1000 spiral oven is installed at the Food Processing and Technology Center (FPTC) in Sandusky, Ohio, U.S.A

“Food processors are increasingly finding value in testing product on the GCO-II as they consider a system upgrade or a migration from a linear system to the spiral technology,” says Dave Bertsch, manager for the FPTC .

Because product quality can change with a new piece of equipment or cooking method, food processors are always looking for viable ways to improve operations while maintaining the quality of their products, including texture, taste, color and size.

“JBT FoodTech invested more than $2 million in research, development and testing for the second-generation spiral oven,” Bertsch says. “This investment is benefiting food processors that can now take advantage of its availability for testing in the technology center.”

Continuous upgrades and investments in the tech centers enable processors and JBT FoodTech experts to work side by side in the research and development of new technologies, processing methods and food products alike.

For more information about JBT FoodTech’s Food Processing and Technology Centers, visit the JBT FoodTech Web site.

GYRoCOMPACT® is a registered trademark and Steam Water Spray™ and SuperAgi™ are trademarks of JBT FoodTech.
©2008 JBT FoodTech. All rights reserved.

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