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Industrial Food Processing Machinery
Nowadays, a large variety of food products are processed and prepared. This increases their shelf life and reduces the time needed to prepare dishes. In order to still ensure long shelf lives and the best possible preparation of food, these products need to be produced with great care. Therefore, the highest priority for food processing is
hygiene! Irrespective of which food processing technology or machine is being used, all machines in the food industry need to be rust and emissions-free, can be easily disassembled and are fully sterilised. Machines in this industry are most commonly made out of rust-free stainless steel. This material does not corrode, it has the required stability and it does not need to be additionally coated. Stainless steel is most suited for very high temperatures, it can be cleaned with very hard or sharp cleaning utensils, and it can be recycled again and again. This means that these types of machines for the food industry are the most expensive on the market.
The Steps of Food Processing Equipment
The first step in food processing equipment is cleaning the input product. Whether it is apples, carrots, fish or other crops, cleaning the foodstuffs is always the first stage. There are a large variety of cleaning machines available on the market. Simple machines consist of a conveyor belt, upon which the food products are led through the process. High pressure nozzles are used to ensure that all dirt particles are removed. High-end machines are constructed to suit each individual pre-product. After cleaning, the pre-product is then further prepared. Fruits are cored, peels are removed and undesired components of meat products are removed. Unlike industrially produced products, fruit, nuts and vegetables are not standardised, which makes the demand for manual labour very high when working with these products. The tools used also count as part of the machines for the food industry. After the pre-products are cleaned and the undesired parts have been removed, they are portioned. This work can be undertaken by a wide range of fully automatic cutting machines. This includes, among others, machines used to cut the pre-products into strips or cubes, and grinders used to make spreads and creams. After the products are cut into portions, they are sent to be mixed. Mixing machines can be used to prepare a large number of foodstuffs ranging from pizza toppings to stews. Depending on the type of food, the mixing machine is either equipped with a baking, cooking or sterilisation machine.
The combination stage follows the mixing and cooking steps of the finished food products. This is where the various foodstuffs are put together, that cannot be prepared at the same time. For example, pizza toppings are first baked before they can be placed onto the base. These machines are made out of a number of conveyor belts and positioning systems which put the various components together into a finished product. The structure of the machine can vary greatly, depending on the product. There are a lot of possibilities for the combination step of finished products, from a fully automatic process to solely manual processing. One or more work steps always comes after this step, to prepare the final product. After the combination and finishing stages, the final product is packaged. Disposable packaging is most commonly used for this purpose, with exception of some beverages. Disposable packaging is always sterilised. The demand of cleaning reusable products is not proportional to the production costs for disposable packaging.
Reusable packaging is very robust, to ensure that it can be reused. In order to ensure sustainable consumption of materials, a piece of plastic packaging that is used 20 times cannot weigh 20 times that of foil packaging. However, this type of packaging also requires 20 times higher transportation costs, which cancels out the savings. Therefore, disposable packaging will remain an industry standard for a long time. Deep freeze products are frozen after they are packaged. There are several advantages to freezing products, including that less preservatives are required. Depending on the product, some chemical preservatives can be completely avoided. For frozen ready meals, the greatest level of preparation has already been undertaken in the factory. Customers just need to heat the food up and then it is ready for consumption. The ideal
preservation method for fresh crops is deep freezing. Rapid freezing ensures that pees, beans, strawberries and cabbage retain their vitamins. This means that the vegetables are as digestible and as rich as if they were freshly bought at the weekly market.
The industry has a large variety of machines ranging from
wash systems, stirrers, sterilisation units, baking and cooking stations, minimising machines, portioners, packaging machines and deep freezers. There is a very wide selection of suitable machines.
Buying Used Food Processing Equipment
The biggest enemy of industrial food production is dirt. This does not only include waste material from the production process, but also paint particles, metal debris, lubricants, cleaning products and other undesired dirt. If the dirt is only first discovered by the customer, this can have dramatic consequences. Food production factories are regularly monitored and often have unannounced visits from the authorities. Unauthorised dirt can quickly lead to the whole factory being shut down. The demanding task of monitoring all potential sources of dirt is thereby the highest priority of machine operators in the food industry. Due to this, second-hand machines are usually in excellent condition. However, they should be thoroughly examined before bought. There are companies that are specialized in repairing machines used for food processing products. These companies are able to repair almost any machine. However, it is very important to see a machine’s legal documents before buying it. Many processes that were used in the past are no longer used today. The health authorities will be able to issue valid information about this topic.
Working With Food Processing Machines
What ever is important for the food processing technology is also important for the employees. Hygiene is of the highest priority when handling food products. In addition to basic briefing and training, wearing the right work clothes is particularly important for workers.
Hair nets, mouth guards, gloves and aprons are standard items of clothing required when working with food products. Even the mechanic needs to be properly trained for their reparation and maintenance work, to ensure that no work materials end up in the production process.
Suppliers of machines for the food industry
DORNOW and HERBORT provide a wide range of interesting machines for cleaning and preparing crops. AK NORD, GLASS and RUEHLE-HIGHTECH are recommended suppliers of machines for cutting and portioning. Preparation and sterilisation machines are available from WALDNER, BERIEF and GeBa Maschinenbau.