Posts: 2
Joined: April 9th, 2018, 9:07 pm
Meat and poultry blending is seeing improvements like Coolants, CIP and automation. Over the last 15 Decades or so, mixing and blending Equipment for meat and poultry has shown as much variation as a string of sausages.

But today, a Couple of new elements are getting into the mix, So to talk.

Meat and poultry blending machines comprise various Forms of mixer/blenders, mixer/grinders, tumblers and massagers. They manage sausage combination, ground meat and poultry, ham and other treated or marinated whole-muscle goods, and formed products like hamburger patties and poultry nuggets. Mixing functions include including fat, spices or water to sausage combinations; functioning brine or marinade throughout whole-muscle tissue; extracting protein for coating or binding; and adding cryogens to cool floor meat and poultry to proper forming temperature.

Meat industry observers say major changes in blending Machines surfaced years ago. Maybe the last big innovation happened in the mid-'80s, when tumblers began to substitute blenders for heating ground poultry before formation into nuggets or patties. Tumblers deal with the mix more softly, allowing a coarser grind to go to the forming system, which leads to products with better feel.

Automation is perhaps the top overall industrial Trend in food processing, but meat and poultry blending has been immune. A number of the products involved don't lend themselves to continuous-throughput processing, and that's where automation really pays off. Sectioned and shaped hams, for instance, have to be processed in batches, Some sausage formulations demand for components to be inserted throughout emulsification; this is typically achieved in a bowl, which may function only in batches. (Blender/emulsifier systems come nearer to constant operation because only the blender is a batch operation.) In addition, tumblers and massagers are batch machines with their very nature.

But Bill Lynn, vice president of marketing and Sales for Mepaco, Beaver Dam, Wis., sees automation as a coming trend. Meat processors "appear to be increasingly more receptive to it, especially in regards to further-processed products," Lynn stated. "Many of our customers today have multiple products they would like to automatically procedure in exactly the exact same system, and every product may have specific process demands. We can automatically control thermal actions, merchandise residence, blend speeds along with other process variables with the push of a button. The point is, it's not merely the same old mixer/blender any more"

Blenders can use automation to monitor, control and Correct temperature, viscosity, weight, augur speed, mix cycles and other aspects. For instance, the Accu-Chill control system from BOC Gases, Murray Hill, N.J., measures how stiff the meat mixture is becoming in a blender by the power demand of the engine driving the paddles. That guides the automated inclusion of C[O.sub.2] "snow," resulting in more consistent chilling.

Let it snow?


Cryogenic chilling is involved in other mixing trends. Possibly the most powerful one is that the use of bottom distribution for C[O.sub.2] snow. Sprinkling it from the top of a blender or tumbler used to be the standard, but injecting it from the bottom improves the evenness and efficacy of the cooling process. The largest benefit of bottom feeding is less cold air dropped through the top vents. RMF, a leading producer of mixer/blenders, recommends underside injection whenever possible, said spokesperson Scott Robertson.

Another possible trend in cryogens is the use of liquid Nitrogen as an alternative to C[O.sub.2] snow. C[O.sub.2] is preferred by U.S. processors, but a few are beginning to look at nitrogen (see accompanying story).

Nitrogen has made considerable inroads as a blending Cryogen in Europe, but it has lagged badly in the United States, mostly since C[O.sub.2], on the average, is less expensive. Liquid nitrogen is produced from air separation by producer. C[O.sub.2], on the other hand, is an industrial byproduct of domestically common manufactured chemicals like petroleum products and ammonia-based fertilizers,visit website. This means C[O.sub.2] manufacturing expenses are limited to purification; distribution and handling represent the bulk of costs to customers.

But it also implies that C[O.sub.2] source businesses can Affect the supply of that cryogen. For example, an explosion in a large fertilizer plant at Iowa late last year disrupted C[O.sub.2] supplies to a large section of the Midwest, said Pascal Schvester, a marketing director with Air Liquide America Corp. "The price of C[O.sub.2] [in the USA] is pretty much the price of a commodity, whereas in Europe it is the cost of a specialized solution," Schvester explained.

Besides price, each cryogen has its own comparative advantages. Nitrogen generally has to be released from the top of a machine, so the extra efficiency of underside injection isn't available (although a few blenders are equipped for L[N.sub.2] bottom injection). Since L[N.sub.2] gasifies instantly at atmospheric pressure, its coldness dissipates - like C[O.sub.2] snow, a solid that impinges directly on the product. Additionally, C[O.sub.2] can respond with tissue to form traces of carbonic acid, which has a mild antibacterial effect.

On the other hand, some processors claim that carbonic Acid reduces the product's flavor. Additionally, the dissipation of nitrogen can, in some cases, provide more cooling system than C[O.sub.2] snow impingement.

Overuse of cryogens during blending is drawing some attention. Just 35 to 40 percent of beef tissue cells need to be suspended to generate the meat stiff enough to shape, but a lot of processors freeze near 100 percent of the cells, said Darrell Horn, president of Blentech Corp., Rohnert Park, Calif..

John Little, a machinery rep based in Hot Springs, Ark., Consented: "Everybody just turns [the tumbler] on and blasts the C[O.sub.2] till it sounds like stones in there, and that's how they know to shut it off." Blentech is working on a proprietary process to greatly improve efficiency and so reduce C[O.sub.2] costs, Horn explained.

Clean it up

Another trend that's beginning to take hold in mixing And blending equipment, observers say, is that the usage of clean-in-place. Much of the development in CIP has been in the dairy industry, where sanitation is especially vital. But meat and poultry processors are thinking harder about sanitation, especially in light of recent well-publicized instances of contamination.

"It is beginning to be a trend, and that I think it's Coming about partly because of listeria, E. coli and standard sanitation issues," said Mike Stapleton, a Mepaco sales scientist. "If you have Joe Average cleaning at $4 an hour, he's not going to have a whole lot of time until something comes around and you are written up or worse." Mepaco offers CIP balls as alternatives on its mixing and processing gear.

But by and large, CIP for blenders Isn't as complex in Meat and poultry plants as it is in dairies and other food industries. "You can place a spray ball at the blender and then fill it with water and soap, but it still comes down to taking it apart and doing a few hand-cleaning," Little said.

That's partly because of the nature of the product: Meat-blend residue is heavier and gummier compared to most other sorts of food remnants. But it largely has to do with the batch nature of many kinds of meat blending operations.

CIP will not take hold until meat and poultry Blending evolves more toward continuous-throughput surgeries, industry observers say. This is currently the standard in hamburger patties; shaped poultry is moving that way. Big poultry companies will push the limits of constant operation as it's the ideal way to improve their bottom lines with value-added.

"Tyson used to get pennies a pound for a whole chicken," Stapleton said. "Today they get bucks a pound for that same chicken in various products."

RELATED ARTICLE: Cargill says L[N.sub.2] is A-OK

When Joe Ray began helping produce formed chicken and Turkey products in the Cargill Poultry Products plant in Dawson, Ga., he noticed the benefits of nitrogen-cooled blending immediately.

"I was totally shocked, in a Fantastic way, in how Much better that the product was," said Ray, who's the plant manager.

Cargill procedures about 40,000 Pounds of formed poultry Per day shifts daily. The cooked nuggets and patties are packed for foodservice and industrial users, along with limited retail distribution under the Cargill tag.

The plant grinds the turkey or broiler meat in a Hobart grinder then marinates it in a Heller Technology vacuum tumbler. Then comes the cooling to get it down to forming temperature, which is approximately 27 F. Cargill began using liquid nitrogen rather than C[O.sub.2] snow, the industry standard, about three decades back.

"When you use C[O.sub.2], you've got these small Pockets from the item," Ray said. "When you use chlorine, the liquid batter considerably more evenly. We now have a more consistent texture." After chilling, the product is formed, then cooked in a Stein oven, then frozen in a Frigoscandia freezer and polybagged with a Hayssen bagger.

Nitrogen is perceived by many to be more costly than C[O.sub.2] snow. But in operational conditions, the net cost of the nitrogen Cargill Utilizes is about the same as C[O.sub.2], Ray explained.