Controlling free fatty acids became a big issue with snack-food maker Backer’s Chips in Fulton, Mo., which had two fry lines cooking potato chips. 

Controlling free fatty acids became a big issue with snack-food maker Backer’s Chips in Fulton, Mo., which had two fry lines cooking potato chips. Solids would build up in the tubes and clog one fryer’s shell-and-tube heat exchanger, which would stop the flow of oil and melt the tubes. Oil would spray out of the heat exchanger and catch fire.

To rid itself of the dangerous situation, Backer’s asked Lakos Separators and Filtration Systems in Fresno, Calif., to find a solution that would safely and easily remove solids from the hot cooling oil.

Lakos installed a stainless Fry-Safe System full stream to remove crumbs and chip pieces before they reach the heat exchanger. As the separator removes the solids from the cooking oil, they are purged to one of the two basket strainers, where they can be isolated and allowed to cool before the solids-filled strainers are removed and cleaned. To minimize liquid loss, oil flowing from the purge of the separator through the basket strainers is returned to the expansion box (where the fresh oil is added to the system) after it runs through the baskets.

“The system is working great,” says Mike Reeves, Backer’s operations manager. Installed since 2005, “it is virtually maintenance-free. Just dump and clean the baskets, and the unit continues working the whole time. It made us realize how bad the old system we had was,” he says.

According to Reeves, the Lakos system eliminated a serious hazard, increased the length of time the oil can be used, maintains better control of the free fatty acids and provides an overall better quality product.

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