One development in coolers for food processors delivers benefit such as fast cooling speed. The system is able to chill many pastas, rice, vegetables and dry beans with fast temperature conversion times ― from 200°F (93°C) as the product exits the cooker to 70°F (21°C) within seven seconds. Furthermore, it can cool to 55°F (12.8°C) within 14 seconds and to the temperature range of 40 to 50°F (4 to 10°C) in 21 seconds for some products. (Longer times may be required for specific products). The chiller, developed by Lyco Manufacturing, maintains uniform product cooling with less than one percent product damage for many products, according to the company. Food products pass through the bacterial danger zone in seconds, reducing the possibility of contamination.
The system consists of either one, two of three cooling tanks connected in sequence. Products enter into the system through the top of the first tank, fed through a chute or conveyor from the cooker. They then run through the first cooling chamber, exiting through the bottom of the tank. The products are transported to the top of the tank via a pipe and onto a wedgewire-screened dewatering chute. At this point, they have been chilled from 200 to 70°F, and they can be exported to a conveyor for downstream processing or immediately continue into a second in-line chamber. Each cooling stage is its own section, and additional stages can be added if needed.
The chiller uses proprietary plenum technology to achieve its high-speed cooling without damaging the product. The pasta, rice, vegetables or dry beans are pulled through the cooling plenum at the bottom of each tank by venturi effect, which increases the velocity of the fluid without pump impeller contact. The venturi effect creates a pressure differential that pulls the water and product through at a high speed.
The plenum acts similar to a jet pump, with the ability to move 300 gal/min of water and product through it. A jet pump, however, typically has a high velocity jet stream running through the middle of the pipe (plenum), forcing the water and its product load to the sides of the pipe and out of the end, which would be very hard on food products. The chiller uses a custom-designed plenum configuration to direct the high-velocity flow along the interior perimeter of the plenum wall, so most products move through the middle of the plenum. More robust products such as macaroni have near-zero product damage. Other products like curly fries, ravioli and other pastas with filled shapes display a higher rate of product damage and may not be suitable for this system.
The plenum-driven fluid motion is achieved by modifying the shape of the periphery on the inside of the plenum wall itself, which precisely directs the flow of fluid and the food product.
For more information from Lyco Manufacturing Inc., Columbus, Wis., call (920) 623-4152 or visit www.lycomfg.com.
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