Liquid Nitrogen Achieves Perfect Mix for Dalco Food
Oss, Holland-headquartered Dalco Food, a producer of convenience meal protein components and vegetarian products, recently turned to industrial gas specialist Air Products to find a way to optimize efficiency and increase throughput by rapidly cooling vegetarian dough mixtures prior to the forming process.
A dough that is too hot is sloppy, fails to stay in shape and, as has been the case with Dalco, tended to stick to the forming plate, resulting in unnecessary waste. Without the luxury of time to store dough in a cold chamber prior to forming, and realizing that the addition of ice water was insufficient, a new solution was needed. It proved to be the Freshline® Liquid Nitrogen Injection (LIN-IS) system.
“We are processing more and more vegetarian products, and to form them properly we had to find another way of chilling them,” said Stefan van den Hanenberg, Dalco’s director of operations. “You can chill meat by mixing it with a frozen product, but you can’t do that with vegetarian items. They consist largely of dry ingredients such as soya, wheat and herbs, to which we add ice water, which gives a mixture with a temperature of about seven degrees. Mixing in nitrogen is a good way of quickly chilling mixtures to the ideal processing temperature of approximately minus two degrees.”
Freshline® LIN-IS is a reliable cooling method that injects liquid nitrogen through nozzles fitted in the bottom of any type of mixer, helping to control product temperature, prevent microbial growth, and increase throughput. Recommended by many leading blender manufacturers, it is widely used by processors of meat, fish, fruits and vegetables, dairy, ready meals and other prepared foods.
By fitting the liquid nitrogen injection solution to the mixers, Dalco can set its mixture to the ideal temperature and texture, quickly and easily. This accurate and repeatable temperature control of the dough ensures the forming step is successful – increasing the rate at which products can be made and reducing waste by two per cent.
Van den Hanenberg commented: “Products hold their shape better, so we waste less food. If the mixture is sloppy, more of it remains stuck to the forming plate. That’s now a thing of the past.”
Ann Callens, Air Products’ food manager, noted: “We’ve been working with Dalco for over 20 years so the team knows that it can trust the advice that our specialists offer, as well as rely on our products and distribution network.”
Active globally, Air Products employs more than 20,000 people in approximately 50 countries. In fiscal 2014 it generated $10.4 billion in sales and was ranked No. 276 on the Fortune 500 annual list of public companies.