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FoodTech Report

Volume 8 Issue 1

Energy management benefits the bottom line and the environment

Ceramic Cover a more effective insulation method
Reducing heat loss is one way to increase energy efficiency in food processing facilities. When it comes to equipment like continuous rotary sterilizers, retorts and storage tanks, the traditional insulation method involves wrapping equipment in calcium silicate blocks or fiberglass wool, followed by a layer of external cladding material.

The time-consuming insulation process is no longer necessary with JBT FoodTech Ceramic Cover, a spray-on, latex-based ceramic coating that contains heat by acting as a reflective barrier against ultraviolet rays, visible light and infrared rays. Ceramic Cover has low thermal conductivity, much like traditional fiberglass wool, and can withstand surface temperatures of up to 350°F (177°C).

A typical energy savings calculation is derived from the process cook temperature and the number of layers of ceramic coating. One customer processing fruit at 223°F (106.1°C) 295 days per year saved 144,000 BTUs per hour by applying five, 2.5-millimeter coats of ceramic coating to the outer shell of the sterilizer. Energy savings were estimated at $11,200 USD per year, resulting in a 17-month return on the investment.

Read more about the application benefits of Ceramic Cover in Vol. 6 Issue 2 of FoodTech Report.

Like many companies, food processors have an interest in increasing their facilities’ energy efficiency. Maximized energy efficiency helps reduce utility costs, makes a facility more environmentally sustainable and can be leveraged by processors to gain a marketplace advantage. But true energy efficiency is achieved through a carefully executed energy management program.

Implementing processing equipment and aftermarket products that feature energy-utilization innovations can increase the equipment’s capacity and improve production yield, while it also can conserve natural resources and decrease the amount of space a processing line takes up on the plant floor. Those innovations, available through JBT FoodTech equipment, contribute to improving environmental performance — and the bottom line.

Increasing energy efficiency through effective use of steam, heating

Steam is an effective energy source for a cooking process, and the use of steam is mostly beneficial early in a process. That’s when the product surface temperature is below the dew point of the surrounding oven environment. Rapid energy transfer to the product makes the overall process more efficient to reduce the energy usage.

Steam is less beneficial when the product surface temperature is above the dew point temperature of the surrounding oven environment. During this stage, steam is used as needed to deliver the desired product attributes. With JBT FoodTech MultiPhase™ cooking, the appropriate amount of steam is delivered throughout all stages of the process, reducing the total amount of steam used and lowering utility costs.

The amount of steam used can be reduced ranging from 20 percent to 50 percent, depending on the oven type, system configuration, substrate, desired product attributes and operating conditions. For example, an oven system that currently requires 2,000 pounds per hour of steam can achieve annual savings ranging from $16,000 USD to $40,000 USD.

LOG-TEC screen
 Stein™ TFF-IV THERMoFIN® fryer

Energy savings also can be accrued through gentle fryer heating. The low heat flux of the JBT FoodTech Stein™ TFF-IV THERMoFIN® fryer heat exchanger, used in conjunction with the MX-Series MicroMax™ hot oil filtration system, improves the thermal performance of trans-fat-free cooking oils to extend the oil’s life cycle. Another enhancement to reduce energy usage includes the use of dual exhausts with lower volumes at the ends of the fryer hood. This helps to reduce cooking oil oxidation (which is one of the causes of oil degradation) by creating a steam blanket over the oil. Energy savings as a result of gentle fryer heating can range from $6,000 to $10,000 USD annually.

Thermal process modeling achieves precise cooking

When it comes to sterilization of shelf-stable foods, food processors utilize software-based thermal process modeling for precise cooking that sterilizes without compromising product quality. This optimized sterilization process translates to savings for the processor via increased energy efficiency, along with operating efficiency through maximized throughput and less product degradation.

JBT FoodTech NumeriCAL® thermal process modeling software, available for the Steam Water Spray (SWS™) SuperAgi™ Agitating Batch Retort, scientifically models heat transfer rates for individual product formulations. By scientifically determining heat transfer rates based on food product heating and cooling specifications, processors can achieve more precise commercial sterility, with no need for overcooking to ensure food safety.

LOG-TEC screen

After a line operator enters the type of product being sterilized, NumeriCAL works with the LOG-TEC Momentum™ process management system to determine the process time required for food safety. NumeriCAL manages retort temperatures by maintaining precise heating and cooling on the SuperAgi. Temperature control prevents processors from using large amounts of steam when it’s not necessary, resulting in maximized heating and cooling efficiencies.

Utilizing NumeriCAL instead of the Ball formula method of thermal process calculation — an industry standard — cook time can be reduced by up to 33 percent for a 15-ounce can (300 x 407 can size).

Innovation reduces steam through heat recovery

Rotary Pressure Sterilizer

JBT FoodTech specialists work side by side with processors to develop customized solutions that improve production and efficiency. One example is the heat recovery system for the Rotary Pressure Sterilizer that was originally developed to reduce steam usage by recovering heat from hot discharge water, which is produced when sterilizing milk products.

In milk processing, products must be heated gradually, or they will burn and caramelize. The Rotary Pressure Sterilizer has four zones in its preheating vessel that gradually raise water temperature before the cans are placed in the hot cooker. Afterward, the cans enter a cold-water vessel.

The common practice is to dispose of the water that is heated by the cans during the cooling process. But JBT FoodTech engineered a solution that pipes this heated water back to the first two zones of the preheating vessel. As a result, steam usage is decreased or no longer needed to heat the water in those zones, but is still available to heat the water to a certain temperature, if necessary. For one processor utilizing the heat recovery system, the steam requirement was reduced from 1,600 pounds per hour to 400 pounds per hour.

Making energy management top priority

Energy management is increasingly important to food processing operations as energy prices rise along with production demands. Maximizing benefits in this key area requires attention to current energy usage, process optimization and finding solutions that provide benefits all down the line.

To learn more about JBT FoodTech’s energy efficient systems, visit the JBT FoodTech Web site.


NumeriCAL®, THERMoFIN®, MultiPhase™, MicroMax™, LOG-TEC Momentum™, Stein™, SWS™ and SuperAgi™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of JBT FoodTech.

©2010 JBT Corporation. All rights reserved.

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