Foodtech: Solutions for extending the shelf-life of fresh pasta
FOODTECH has been working for 15 years in the field of food processing machines, the experience of its staff – acquired developing and carrying Italian technology around the world – is longer.
The company specialty is the thermal treatment of pasta.
FOODTECH designs, manufactures and installs machines and lines for the production of fresh, stabilized, precooked pasta.
The technical expertise, created with the continuous collaboration of expert technologists and specialized suppliers, allows FOODTECH to offer reliable, customized solutions and comprehensive advice on production processes, also in relation to the extension of product shelf-life.
With reference to the production of fresh filled pasta, FOODTECH has focused on steam pasteurization to obtain fresh packaged pasta with a shelf-life of 40 days at 4°C, subjecting the product to moist heat treatment, without using preservatives to prolong its life. Using steam, a type of clean energy without pollution even if dispersed into the environment, FOODTECH machines have achieved excellent thermal performance and uniformity of heat distribution on the product with low consumption.
The treatment lines can be managed through a general electrical panel, with a PLC to program the production of dough (by setting the percentage of flour, eggs, water and other ingredients) and filling (through the identification code of each filling type), and to establish the parameters of pasteurization (i.e. the treatment temperature and time according to the type, weight and size of the product), pre-drying (through the regulation of treatment temperature, moisture content and time), and cooling (by setting treatment temperature, time and air speed).
From the PLC the operator can control the stocks in the flour silos and the cell temperature for the different raw materials. All data are transmitted to the terminal which tracks the various production batches recording ingredients, dough and filling recipes, all process parameters.
To grow in the pasta sector
FOODTECH has always worked both with big-size and small companies, in Italy and abroad. The experience in the pasta sector suggests that, in order to obtain the best technological performance for the whole product range, the first step is the collaboration between the pasta manufacturer and the equipment supplier. The initial training and the constant support to the manufacturer’s personnel are fundamental in order to make the most of the equipment. This is especially true for with companies in a growing phase, therefore in need of a change in the production processes to improve performance and control technological data.
In 2012 FOODTECH provided a thermal treatment line with 60-100 kg/h capacity, designed to meet the needs of a small pasta manufacturer who needed to process a wide range of products (long or nested, filled, short pasta and dumplings), position the machines in the small available space (the pasteurizer
was installed on the pre-dryer, but the two machines maintained full autonomy) and start applying an automatic management of the process. After three years, FOODTECH is proud to have delivered a new thermal treatment line for tripled production capacity to the same customer, who – thanks to the first small line – has already become familiar with industrial machines and their management with PLC. On the other hand, FOODTECH has always strived to
collaborate with the most demanding customers, with an innovating role, to anticipate the changing market demands. It was the exchange of data and expertise with the customers that led FOODTECH to develop customized flexible technical solutions, so that on thesame line different products can be treated. This way, FOODTECH has designed and built multi-purpose machines for pasteurizing, cooking in water or precooking with steam and water spray (in operation for some years now in the USA, for nests and filled pasta), and also thermal treatment lines for pre-cooked dumplings (a popular product in France, developed by a customer who has now decided to focus, always with FOODTECH, even on pre-cooked filled pasta).
The philosophy for FOODTECH is the same: in design and construction, priority is given to flexibility, traceability and easiness of use, cleaning and maintenance, features at the basis of rationalized investments
Treatment lines for fresh and pre-cooked gnocchi
Foodtech has installed various treatment lines for fresh and pre-cooked gnocchi, in Italy and Europe, with a production capacity up to 2000 kg/hour. fundamental in order to make the most of the equipment. This is especially true for with companies in a growing phase, therefore in need of a change in the production processes to improve performance and control technological data.
In the last years Foodtech has realized and commissioned industriai installations for the production of fresh gnocchi (up to 1000 kg/h capacity), pre-cooked gnocchi (2000 kg/h), short and stuffed pasta, precooked with steam and sprayed water (1500 kg/h capacity), precooked cous-cous (1500 kg/h), dry short pasta cooked immersed in water (1500 kg/h), rice cooked immersed in water (1500 kg/h), pasteurized fresh pasta (800 kg/h), all characterised by thè collection of process data and the traceability of thè production lots, in reai time and through easy to read diagrams.
The verification carried out on the construction aspects, ergo- nomics for operators and technological performances of thè installations by international bodies like APAVE have given positive results, achieved thanks to thè continuous research and careful application of new technologies in the design and construction of thè equipment. Foodtech thoroughly knows thè physical processes of each machine and is able to manage them, obtaining thè required technological performance with reduced energy consumption. Among thè installations that have contributed to establish thè brand Foodtech at na- tional and international level there are treatment lines for fresh or pre-cooked gnocchi.
Thanks to thè collaboration with industriai manufacturer of gnocchi and stuffed gnocchi, the mechanics and constructive geometry of the rabatto shaker has been simplified and improved, completely eliminating the zones where flour residues coud stop. The trabatto is the traditional machine that removes excess flour transporting with vibratory movement the fresh gnocchi coming out of the forming machine. In addition to thè vibrating tables, the shaker is provided with an intermediate tray and a lower tray for the collection of the excess flour, which is evacuated outside of the machine. Furthermore, the side panels are opened and the fans are mounted so to be easily removed at the time of washing.
A valuable and qualifying experience for Foodtech is the realization of equipment for pre-cooked gnocchi, a product that is popular particularly in France, easy to pre¬pare (just for a few minutes in a pan with the addition of sauce) and has aroused considerable interest among consumers.
In the last years Foodtech has built various treatment lines (pasteurisation and cooling), extending shelf lite to 60 days. In design and construction the focus was on Constant Performance, as the lines work on a 24-hour basis for three days, with a 4-hour pause for cleaning. Since the machines have to be sanitized very quickly, fiat surfaces have been eliminated to facilitate the detergents’ outflow. The treatment lines are operated by electric panel with PLC, prearranged for remote assistance and supervision.
Technological solutions for the pasteurization, pre-cooking and cooking of pasta
Reliable technological solutions for cooking, pre-cooking and pasteurization of
pasta, designed and constructed by Foodtech.
Foodtech (Camposampiero, Italy), which has always always strived to collaborate with demanding customers playing an innovating role in the continuously evolving market of fresh pasta and ready meals, is proud of having been trusted again in 2016 as a supplier by companies both already established and grow¬ing, in Italy and abroad. The constant evolution of Foodtech machinery over time has led to technical and material improvements and new technological solutions, for instance in the field of pre-cooking and cooking as illustrated below, with increasing attention to the organization and management of all data, as required by Industry 4.0.
Pre-cooking lines for fresh pasta (filled and nested)
In 2000 Foodtech has realized the first machines for pre-cooking ravioli, cappelletti and nested pasta in a wet steam saturated environment, with the addition of heated water sprayed on the product. The process lasts more than the simple steam pasteurization, it leads to 15-18% moisture absorption in filled pasta, and to a weight increase of up to 40% in nests. Thanks to this treatment the pasta is not deformed or broken, remaining “al dente”, and the final preparation time is reduced, making the product very appreciated in catering. The pre-cooker is completely PLC-managed, and it is therefore possible to program the process parameters for each type of product. The pre-cooker can be used both for pas¬teurizing and for pre-cooking.
Cooking lines for pasta, rice, etc. (rotary drum cooker)
The rotary drum cooker is a versatile machine that can be used to cook various products in continuous, from short dry pasta or filled fresh pasta, to vegetables, legumes and grains (parboiled rice, black rice, wild American rice, spelt, peas, lentils, quinoa , etc.), with production capacity of 100-200 or 1500-1800 kg/h.
The machine is built in AISI 316L stainless steel, complete with heat exchanger for heating the water in the cooking tank, control and programming of the cook¬ing time and PLC-management of the process parameters for each product, wa¬ter salinity probe, ergonomic opening for internal access, automatic CIP. The cooker is equipped with a starch washing zone, where nozzles spray water under and above the product, and combined with a belt cooler, where the product is immersed in cold water at 2-3°C, in order to be cooled before packaging or deep freezing: cold water is sprayed in the cooling tank to move the product and increase the thermal exchange. At the exit of the line, the product is drained. All parts of the machine can be opened, allowing access for the operators for cleaning and maintenance operations