Nowadays, the majority of the food we consume is processed. Food processing has become a multi-billion industry that has a large share in the world economy. Different countries around the globe are generating huge amounts of revenue by exporting their food products. Every year food processing plants produce tons of food for the consumption of the world’s population.
Various factors affect the production of a food processing plant, and equipment is an important one. Efficient equipment can streamline the manufacturing mechanism and enhance the productivity of the processing plant. There are various types of machines and apparatus used in different types of food processing plants. This blog will cater to the most widely used equipment in this industry.
Equipment Used in Food Processing Plants
Tanks are amongst the equipment useful in all types of food processing plants. The main usage of the tank in food processing is storage. There are several types of tanks used in a variety of applications. For example, the silo is a type of tank that is used for storage of bulk food. In addition to that, tanks are also used for drying, cooling, heating, and melting food.
Grinders are heavy-duty machines that are used for grinding large chunks of food into smaller pieces. Most grinders have a metallic rod that rotates to break down food. They are mostly used in meat and fruit industry.
As the name suggests, crushers are used for crushing food items. In food processing plants, crushers convert the large solid food items into smaller chunks and powder. The usage of crushers is predominant in the dry fruit industry.
Different types of mixers are used extensively in food processing. Their purpose is to mix two or more items. The design and working mechanism of different mixers vary from one another. For example, agitator has a central blade and used for mixing solid food whereas emulsifier has a metallic rod and mixes liquids. Large numbers of mixers are used for processing of different bakery items.
Screens are used in the food processing plant for various purposes like transport, separation, drying, filtration. Although the design of screens used in different food processing plants varies, all of them have perforated sheets. When the screen starts vibrating, the impurities from the food gets filtered through the perforated sheets.
The screen is integral equipment for ensuring the hygiene of the processed food. That is why a large number of screens are used in meat, fruit, vegetables, beverage processing plants.
The primary purpose of a conveyor is transportation. In food processing plants, it is used for carrying a large quantity of food. Mainly two types of conveyors are used in food processing plants; mechanical and pneumatic. The mechanical conveyors rely on the mechanical power for carrying food while pneumatic conveyors use air pressure. For carrying heavy food material, mechanical conveyors are ideal, but the outer covering makes pneumatic conveyors safe.
Valves are one of the most excessively used equipment in all types of industries. They also find several applications in food processing plants. The transferring of food material is done through valves which are connected to pipes. They help regulate the flow of the material to facilitate processing. Different types of valves are used in food processing plants, including globe valves, gate valves, ball valves, solenoid valves.
The importance of valves increases in the beverage industry as controlling the pressure holds the key in the manufacturing process. A high-quality valve like an SIO high-pressure ball valve can help regulate air pressure effectively. Moreover, butterfly valves also have dual compatibility due to which they can be operated both manually and electronically.
The importance of burners in food processing is undeniable. All the food processing plants that involve cooking of food use burners. Usually, the burners used in the food processing plants consist of a furnace, actuator, and knobs. In addition to that, burners also have a gauge that gives the reading of heat and pressure. The burner can be operated both manually and electronically.
The working mechanism of burners varies depending on the type of food. For example, burners produce large flames for cooking solid food. On the contrary for melting food, burners are usually set at low flames.
Although ovens are used in different types of food processing plants, they find numerous applications in baking items. There are two types of ovens mainly used in food processing plants; direct heating ovens and indirect heating ovens. Most ovens use hot air for heating food items, but some food processing plants deploy ovens that use water vapors.
The main function of a dryer in food processing is dehydration. Dryers are enclosed machines that provide a favorable temperature for removing water from food. The process of drying is done to reduce the weight of food and enhance its shelf life. There are different types of dryers based on the scope of the usage, including vacuum dryers, convective dryers, freeze dryers.
Regardless of the type of food, packaging equipment is used in all kinds of food processing plants. The packaging is the last step in the food processing machinery. It is done for the preservation of the food material and to prepare it for distribution.
Various types of packaging machinery are deployed in food processing plants. Bagging machines are used to put food material in bags and cans. These machines are mostly used for biscuits and tin food. Other types of packaging machines include food vacuum packaging machines, accumulation machines, bundling machines. Capping machines are mostly used for liquid food items and beverages.
There are several types of equipment used in food processing plants for performing different functions. By identifying several of them, you’ll have a clear picture of what happens during the operation of food processing.