Turn-key integrated solution Case Study

Case Study: when one of the biggest European tuna can producers was losing cans to uneven heat distribution in processing, Fedegari developed a turn-key integrated solution that resulted in 0 rejected cans.

The challenge

Overcoming undesirable temperature fluctuations and overheating, guaranteeing homogeneous heat distribution throughout the load. · Developing a fully integrated solution for treating different tuna can formats, increasing productivity and, consequently, reducing operating costs.

The context

The nutritional quality of the products as well as microbiological and sensory quality are essential factors in the food industry. The thermal processing of canned food is the most important step in the canning procedure1 . Currently, a large quantity of canned goods is rejected during production and has to be destroyed or reprocessed due to inefficient performances of sterilization. This increases the energy consumption and other significant food processing costs. 1 Ibrahim M. Ismail, Alaa Fahmy, Ahmed Azab, Magdy Abadir, and Seif-Eddeen K. Fateen. “Optimizing the sterilization process of canned food using temperature distribution studies”IOSR Journal of Agriculture and Veterinary Science (IOSR-JAVS). For example, overcooking may cause a weight reduction of the product which obligates the manufacturer to complete the cans with additional product in order to comply with the weight indicated on the labelling. Such practices are costly. Sterilization plays a vital role in the food industry as the final product is intended for human consumption. It also represents a critical process since it may influence the quality and safety of the food. In this context, only optimal processing conditions through the proper application of the F-value approach in sterilization allows to optimize the balance between food safety and quality requirements. It assures an appropriate and homogeneous thermal treatment, thus avoiding over- or undercooking, and consequently maintaining the highest standards for uniformity of texture, flavor, and retention of nutrients.

The solution

Process knowledge applied in the development of a fully integrated solution for food preservation and throughput maximization. Fedegari superheated water sterilizers – FOW series (Fig.1) were chosen for improving process performance and throughput. The choice focused on the simplest, most robust and cost-effective solution for sterilizing at a wide range of temperatures with the shortest process time. Fedegari designed an unique, but completely integrated and accurate system. The key for an outstanding performance is the effective control of temperature and F-value which guarantees the highest uniformity to the sterilization process. Control efficiency eliminates errors and rejected loads while operating cost-effectively. The goal was to guarantee the microbiological target along with thermometric performance, through a new process design capable of offering competitive advantage over conventional alternatives. Besides, an additional concern was raised regarding the packaging quality.

The results

Fedegari has supported the customer, one of the biggest European tuna can producers, with in-depth knowledge in sterilization processes, developing a turn-key integrated solution focused on throughput maximization. The customer has increased its productivity at the end of every cycle and the number of rejected cans has been reduced to zero.

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