Portion cutting is based on scanning technology. Products are placed on an infeed belt through a laser line, which follows a product’s contour. A high-speed camera takes 150 images per second of the changing laser line. Software then transforms the item to a 3D object with volume. Information, in combination with density, allows the machine to cut exactly for required weight.
After scanning, product moves towards a cutting station over a well-defined distance at a very high speed. For the machine to know the density of products, it is enough to scan and weigh three different pieces. It calculates density and keeps this in its memory. When a specific product needs to be portioned , density is taken from the memory programme and large volume production can start. Where density varies between products, an infeed weighing unit can be connected.
To portion different types of product, different knives are used. For softer types of meat, thin knives of 1.5mm are used. Two millimetre heavy duty knives are used for harder or thicker products. Changing between products, programmes or knives takes only seconds.
TRUSTED END-TO-END PROCESS SOLUTIONS
Marlen International, a global manufacturer of highly engineered food processing equipment and systems has acquired Unitherm Food Systems. The acquisition adds a new set of thermal processing technologies to Marlen’s existing offering and maximises food product quality, production efficiency and safety. Customised continuous thermal and chilling food processing equipment further strengthens solutions in the meat and protein sector.
Unitherm has been serving a wide range of food processors since 1985. It is known for its innovative approach to developing thermal food processing equipment, which assists processors to maximise yield while enhancing product safety and profitability. The company designs and manufactures advanced hygienic cooking, chilling, pasteurising and freezing equipment. Its water cook systems, spiral chillers and freezers, complete frying lines and pre- and post-package pasteurisation compliments existing thermal solutions. The latter includes batch ovens, chillers, industrial smokehouses, dehydrators, individual breading and frying machines. In terms of continuous solutions, it offers four separate machines for pre-dusting, battering, breading and frying. Units can be used as standalone systems or in a fully automatic line. Each machine comes in four different belt widths to cater to capacity requirements.
Unitherm’s pre-duster is an automated solution. It applies a thin coating of dust or flour to a product to enhance batter adhesion and improve yield. The Batter Enrober takes the hassle out of marinating and battering a variety of products, from meats and seafood to ethnic products and produce. It is available in waterfall and dip styles for maximum flexibility. It also switches easily between batters.
The Unitherm Breader can handle numerous types of crumb with ease – ideal for a wide variety of breading applications. It is easy to adjust the thickness of the crumb bed and curtain for tight control over product quality.
With four sizes and eight belt configurations, Unitherm’s Fryer provides a versatile, cost-effective frying solution for processors of all sizes. Want to flash fry spring rolls and falafel of fully cook fish sticks and chicken nuggets? The fryer uses digitally controlled heating and a continuous conveyor system to guarantee every product achieves a consistently high standard.
Marlen International builds innovative solutions in vacuum stuffing and pumping, portioning, size reduction, thermal processing and food handling. Sold under the brand names of Marlen, Carruthers and Unitherm, products have long set the standard for quality and performance. Marlen’s Carruthers brand is an industry leader in size reduction equipment. This includes slicers, meat dicers, shredders and jet knives.
State-of-the-art, continuous flow, fresh or cooked product machines allow customers to take control of processing with less handling, improved hygiene and reduced labour costs.
June 2018, SA Food Review
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