Our customer is expanding their manufacturing capability to offer co-packing services for gluten-free sauces. A crucial element to packaging shelf-stable products is incorporating a kill-step or what is commonly called a pasteurizer or high-temperature short time (HTST) process. By applying HTST heat treatment to the liquid sauces, it significantly reduced the spoilage microorganism to make the product safer to consume and prolonged shelf stability.
Our customer has a plan on what utility and steam system to use. However, they hired Placer Process to design, build, fabricate, and install the liquid process pasteurization skid system. With the skid system, all the process components and heat exchanger were built at Placer Process fabrication shop and allowing the customer to operate at their existing facility without construction disruption. Only when the system is complete and the customer utility system is ready to be tied-in, then Placer Process crew came in and install the process system, process piping, and its required utility to operate this new pasteurization system. The process is rather quick because most of the pasteurizer components and internal piping has been completed within the skid.
Rather than processing the sauces in batches, our customer would like to operate where it can maximize their run time and production output within the available footprint. The customer has acquired their steam boiler for the process and the filler with their designated location. The placement of the equipment within the existing facility is important to minimize installation cost and maximize product recovery.
Another factor is while designing Placer Process pasteurizer system, we consider the customers’ existing process, the upstream and downstream equipment, target temperature and time requirement, process flow rate, available utility, available footprint, cost, automation, functionality, serviceability, and other factors that are important to our customers.
As we considered the options for heat treatment process, we concluded that a continuous pasteurization process would be beneficial in producing the liquid product which then being transferred to the filling line in a consistent manner. With this continuous heat treatment process, the filler can run more consistently. The operator intervention and product handling can also be minimized since the system is designed to operate at similar speed so as soon as the heat treatment is completed, the product can directly be transferred to the filling line and packaged for shipment.
In addition, the pasteurization system is also equipped with automatic valves for automatic operation of the forward flow when the process criteria have been met or divert flow when the process criteria are not met. Temperature sensors are essential to confirm the hold tube temperature. Flow meter is also incorporated to confirm the flow of the process throughout the pasteurization process. Pressure sensors are also incorporated to alarm the system when the pressure differential of the system is out of specification. The pressure differential is a safety feature that monitors the pressure of the process and the utility. When the product pressure is higher than the utility pressure, in the chance of unforeseen equipment failure, the utility is not contaminating the product. All the automatic equipment within the HTST process is controlled from the process control panel with programmable logic controller (PLC) and the automation features are accessible from the touch screen for operator use.
We also looked at the production site and worked with our customer to narrow down potential ideal location for the new pasteurization system. We worked with the given process parameters for temperature, time, and the desired operation process flow rate to give our customer the heat treatment system that meets the sanitary criteria for food and beverage production. As part of the food safety regulation and customer’s desire to maintain high quality control of the product, the pasteurization system is also equipped with electronic chart recorder that allows confirmation of the flow rate and temperature.
Our fabricated pasteurizer skid has the following features:
- Stainless steel frame with support feet.
- Sanitary stainless steel tubing for process fluid transfer.
- Balance tank for consistent supply to the pasteurizer.
- Sanitary pumps to allow transfer of fluid at the specified flow rate and overcome system pressure loss.
- Hot water set to produce hot water utility as the heating source of the pasteurizer. Some products are sensitive to burn-on that an intermediary hot water would help mitigate that risk.
- Utility control system to utilize the existing steam to produce intermediary hot water.
- Sensors throughout the process and utility line to control and monitor the temperature, flow, and differential pressure of the system.
- Self-cleaning capability of the pasteurizer system so the system can be cleaned-in-place (CIP’d).
Our customer has been very happy with the system performance and capability. Our goal is to build the system that meet your needs. Placer Process has decades of experience in designing and building process and utility systems from manual, semi-automatic, to automatic systems. We integrate your existing systems and build new process systems while considering the potential for current and future process. If you have any process or utility system inquiries for your process expansion, modernization, upgrades, and/or retrofits, do not hesitate to contact Placer Process and see how our team can help you meet your next process project goal from engineering, sanitary system fabrication, installation, and start-up services.