The ability of the TIPPER TIE TTSealH to increase productivity and lower costs for companies sealing sausage meats and other products with high speed clippers will be the subject of a new JBTConnects Webinar on May 20, with customers able to find out how the system can make a noticeable difference to throughput across a range of industries.
A productivity accessory for the TIPPER TIE TT1815 or TT1512 double clippers, the TTSealH delivers key performance benefits to meat processors, as well as to chemical, confectionary, and dairy manufacturers. The precision-engineered state-of-the-art system for packaging pumpable product improves productivity and lowers packaging costs for processors seeking greater throughput beyond the capabilities of bench clippers or semi-automatic closure machines.
Key benefits “The TTSealH is a heat-seal machine which converts flat-stock film into a sealed casing, which can then be stuffed with any pumpable product,” explains TIPPER TIE’s Conrad Faust. “The big advantage here is that instead of using a more expensive pre-shirred casing which has to be changed every 90 seconds when you are running quickly, the flat-stock film heat-seal machine will eliminate those casing changes. Instead of having to change casings every 90 seconds, you only have to change a roll of film every three or four hours, or longer depending on the product.
“That gives you a lot more productivity and throughput during the course of the day, as well as reducing your cost because the flat-stock films can be cheaper than a pre-shirred casing and a lot less waste.”
Plant-based protein alternatives is an industry that has grown in significance hugely over recent years, and will likely continue to do so. Here, JBT’s Sales Director Sergio Rabadán Velazquez explains what is driving the trend and why all players in the industry need to pay close attention.
Ask what have been the key trends of the last 12 months and the answer for most people – with good reason – will be an obvious one. But away from the pandemic, another important trend has been making an impact and will continue to do so in the months and years ahead: the demand for plant-based meat substitutes across a wide swathe of products. At JBT, we have working closely with the processing industry to develop tailored solutions to fit individual product needs.
Of course the subject of plant-based foods at JBT is not a new one. We have been working for a number of years on applications that substitute animal protein for vegetable protein. But what has happened in more recent times? There has been a huge change with a focus on a reduction in the production and consumption of meat because of its impact on the environment and a growing interest in proteins generated by plants. There is also a perception among many consumers that vegetable protein is better for a healthy diet than animal protein.
How significant is this trend? Well according to a study carried out by Euromonitor International, global sales of meat and milk alternatives reached US$36 billion in 2019 and are continuing to grow. Sales of meat substitutes rose by 9% between 2019-2020 compared with 4% over 2018-2019.
As these figures indicate, one of the most important segments within plant-based foods has been the growth in products based on plant proteins that seek to imitate traditional, meat-based products. This has led to an enormous boom in hamburgers, sausages and bacon based on vegetable proteins.
To meet this demand, we at JBT have designed new processes for our customers who are formulating new products based on the raw materials. We help customers develop these products, adapting to each of the individual processes, the kind of product being developed, and the best means of processing it, at our Food Technology Centers, including at our facilities in Helsingborg, Sweden and Livingston, UK. We can assist customers in the development of the products, and following that we carry out practical testing in a factory setting.
Increased demand JBT’s considerable experience in delivering solutions for the plant-based foods industry has proven invaluable given the huge increase in demand at a consumer-level, and the need for processors to develop products that effectively mimic the taste and appearance of meat-based foods, often at speed.
An increased awareness of environmental concerns is fueling a desire on the part of many consumers worldwide to consume less meat. if you have a product that says it can effectively substitute meat in terms of taste, aroma, color to that which you have on your plate, and it comes not from animals, but from plants, people are willing to pay the same amount or more money for it. This has led to a demand especially for plant-based hamburgers, followed to a lesser extent by sausages and bacon substitutes.
However, substituting a meat-based product for a plant-based alternative that offers the same eating experience is far from easy. Taking plant proteins and developing a protein that imitates the text, color, taste and aroma of meats is very difficult to achieve. We at JBT have designed and developed processes and systems – from cooking to freezing – which do just that, but which furthermore are tailored to meet the needs of each individual processor, while also complying with stringent hygiene standards required when handling plant-based products.
It seems likely plant-based meat substitutes are here to stay, and we at JBT will make sure customers produce foods that deliver and optimum experience, from taste to texture, time and time again.
As food technologies and solutions have improved, so consumer buying habits have evolved, with an increasing emphasis on ready-to-eat (RTE) meals. However, handling such ready-made foods during freezing brings risks, including avoiding hazardous bacterial outbreaks. Protecting end consumer health and brand reputation has been key to the development of new freezing solutions from JBT, which are focused on eliminating possible bacterial growth.
Potentially deadly bacteria, such as listeria, that cause serious health emergencies can lead to factories being closed down – permanently. Even if this does not happen, the damage that can be caused to a brand’s carefully-honed reputation can be considerable, never mind that a food borne emergency can put consumers – adults and children alike – at risk.
JBT’s unique, hygienic solution combines disinfection with hot steam sanitation and innovative Fully Welded Enclosures (FWE), a hygienic design which removes the risk of bio film and microbiological growth in a freezer unit. “Steam sanitation works best with fully welded enclosures as normal caulked panels cannot endure the heat,” explains JBT’s R&D Manager Christopher Fogelqvist. “Cracks, worn parts, scratches—all defective points—are places where food can get caught and bacteria can grow. The one goal is to ensure no contamination that could harm the health of a consumer.”
Hygiene by design Offered across JBT’s entire Frigoscandia freezing equipment range, an indication of FWE’s success and trend towards the ready-to-eat market is the fact that quote requests for the technology doubled during 2020. “When it comes to designing freezer surfaces, we want to avoid having crevices because bacteria can get in there,” says Fogelqvist. “JBT’s freezing equipment range has been designed with open profiles, sloping and minimized overlapping surfaces, so that when you flush the freezer during cleaning, you don’t have any hidden surfaces with risk of bacteria growth.”
Fogelqvist says JBT achieves this by minimizing overlapping surfaces and fasteners, using welding to deliver freezers that are hygienic by design down to the smallest components of the machine. “The FWE is designed to ensure effective and efficient cleaning over the life of the equipment,” he adds.
The JBT Frigoscandia GC70 features a Fully-Welded Enclosure
Greater awareness The growth in the ready-to-eat category, he continues, has brought greater awareness across the food industry of the risk posed by bacteria. “Consumers are now eating more fresh frozen food directly from packages. This is a big change in behavior,” says Fogelqvist. “At minus 40C, bacteria growth slows down. The problem is that when the system is thawed out, the bacteria starts growing again, so to have a clean machine is crucial.”
Longer lifespan However, the FWE design does not just enable steam sanitation and ensure against bacteria growth. The design has a much longer lifespan than traditional enclosures, with far greater endurance against cleaning agents and temperature fluctuations. The JBT fully-welded design also guards against water penetration of joints or cracks which can cause freeze shattering. Replacing an enclosure is expensive, complex and takes time, leading to a loss of production hours, which every customer wants to avoid as much as possible.
“The Fully Welded Enclosure market is growing very quickly due to the increase of RTE foods and in combination with effective steam sanitation and good, hygienic design it is the best investment for protection of end consumer health and food producers’ plants,” adds Fogelqvist. “JBT’s design with a fully welded inside and outside, in combination with stress free joints, and a superior internal hygiene, will provide a long-lasting solution for the toughest food producers during the full equipment life cycle. JBT always strives for smartness in our design.”
JBT’s newly launched CleanFREEZETM spiral freezer marks a step-forward from the long-standing Northfield SuperTRAK Structure Supported Spiral Freezer, with a system that offers innovations in both hygiene and cleaning. A radical redesign of the freezer has been focused on making the machine easier and faster to clean and has significantly reduced the risk of bacterial growth across the structure.
By eliminating flat and overlapping surfaces, and reimagining the cleaning system, JBT engineers have been able to bring the overall sanitation time down to four hours from a previous five-six, while maintenance, servicing times and safety have also been improved by moving the fan motors to the exterior of the unit and providing stairs instead of ladders.
Innovative design According to John Bauer, JBT’s division product manager for freezers, the CleanFREEZE freezer takes the original design on which the SuperTRAK was based and adds new hygienic features, including innovations that differentiate the CleanFREEZE freezer from other spiral freezers and go beyond what is currently available on the wider market.
Among other design improvements, the previous tubular structure has been eliminated from the CleanFREEZE freezer, while overlapping joints have been kept to an absolute minimum and formerly flat, horizontal surfaces have been sloped. “We’ve eliminated thousands of feet of overlapping surfaces through our solid, capless belt support compared with the previous capped, stainless steel tracks, while we’ve made the drum drivebar more cleanable,” says Bauer.
Faster cleaning However, one of the most crucial changes, continues Bauer, has been a significant reduction in the overall cleaning system time – from defrosting to cleaning to pulldown – from up to six hours previously to an average of four hours. “This remains a foaming style, single pass system but with a significantly reduced cleaning time,” he says.
This has been partly achieved through a radically revised freezer design, which features the fan motors on the exterior of the freezer rather than inside the box, making it easier to service the motor as no defrost process is now required.
JBT’s goal, Bauer adds, was to create a more hygienic, structurally supported freezer that goes beyond what is currently available on the market and in that they would appear to have succeeded.
The launch of the Frigoscandia GYRoCOMPACT® 70 in the summer of 2020 marked the debut of a new solution that delivers advances in food safety, performance and space optimization. Here, Ena Salic (pictured), R&D Project Manager at JBT EMEA Protein, gives an insight into how the GYRoCOMPACT 70 came into being.
A few years back, during a JBT R&D meeting, the development of a new GYRoCOMPACT machine platform – the GYRoCOMPACT 70 – was discussed, with input gathered from customers in Europe and North America. Combined with new hygiene regulations and the latest technical insights, this created a challenging outline for the new GC70. It was the start of a remarkable journey.
To begin with, innovative concepts were visualized and presented to customers. In return, valuable feedback helped to guide and create new, strong solutions fulfilling their needs and expectations. The next step was the decision to build a full-scale prototype, a huge investment showing the company’s trust in the project. Failure was not an option. It was all about learning and adapting, and a very creative and stimulating process developed.
Challenging project Leading the project from early 2019 was Ena Salic, a young development engineer who joined JBT in 2017. Ena took on the role as GC70 Project manager with enthusiasm and it did not take long until she was in full control of the process.
“It was all new to me, having the leading role of a project of this size and keeping the team and project on track,” Ena recalls. “It was a challenging project. If you look at the predecessors of 700 mm freezers, which have been a huge success, JBT has sold over 1,700 of them. With all the information on the table, we wondered what we could do better here. From input to drawing board to simulations, testing and building the prototype was one big fascinating journey.”
Hygenic design Supported by two lead designers with decades of experience, and her manager, Ena and the team cleared all obstacles in their way. Highlighting the wins and pointing out the good things helped refocus from the inevitable setbacks, while progress was discussed and evaluated routinely. This worked out very well, says Ena, not only for the end result but to help understand the objective and reasons for what the team was doing.
“Over the years we developed a sense of ownership, it became our machine,” she continues. Bit by bit we improved the design, from the small to the big things. Optimizing the hygienic design has been a top priority throughout the whole process and is apparent in the smallest details of the design.”
Customer First At JBT we always put the customer front and center in everything we do, so when the development of the GC70 was started, it was made sure the customer was included from the very beginning. “It is not surprising that the people who know the most about the products you are developing are the ones who are using it every day,” Ena says. “Insights and requirements were gathered from customers worldwide. When combined with JBT’s deep technical know-how from 60+ years of building freezers you can arrive at some truly innovative solutions. These solutions can be seen in several patents pending for the GC70.”
Multifaceted project The development of the GC70 involved a long and multifaceted project, focusing on not just implementing effective food safety and performance innovations, but also on delivering a modular design that is easy to customize according to customer needs and demands. “During the process, the team kept in mind considerations about manufacturing, production maintenance and serviceability, the whole chain,” says Ena. “We created solutions for saving energy or water and consumables and one of the machine’s most important features: enhanced food safety design.” Initiated by JBT EVP and Protein President Paul Sternlieb, who has a background in R&D, patents have been applied for five innovations from the GC70 project.
Perfect Freezer Developing the GC70 wasn’t an easy and straight path to success, with many design considerations on the drawing table that never made it to the final product. Variables regarding performance, manufacturing, product maintenance, serviceability, energy and consumables all had to be weighed against each other. Constant iteration and optimization was the name of the game, culminating in the development of a full-sized prototype that was rigorously tested in JBT’s lab. “Every problem we find in the lab is a problem we didn’t have to discover at the customer’s site,” Ena explains.
But even though the goal was to deliver as perfect a solution as possible, the engineers were aware of the impossibility of achieving a one-size-fits-all for JBT’s wide range of customers, so the GC70 was built from the ground up with modularity in mind in order to achieve as close to perfection for each machine.
iOPS connection “We’re engineers, we always want to improve things, that’s our work, to optimize it and make it better,” says Ena. “As a separate project we also worked connecting the GC70 to iOPS: JBT´s Industrial Internet of Things technology, the next step for predictive maintenance and service. Looking at the whole process, connecting all bits and pieces as a tight team, solving problems, creating quality solutions that work, is fun, it’s exciting.”
“Having the responsibility is tough,” she admits. “But the support from the team and their energy made it a whole lot easier. We did this together, and when you see the end result, that everything is working, and even exceeding expectations, as well as everyone´s enthusiasm and excitement, that feels very rewarding.”
The GC70 represents a significant step forward for the GYRoCOMPACT-line and sets a new standard for competitors to be measured by. It will serve as the platform for spiral freezers for many years to come. “It is truly remarkable,” adds Ena. “Now we can actually continue our journey together with the customer that we first initiated when starting the development of the GC70 and make sure that we deliver on the promise made throughout the life of the machine.”