Redesign boosts poultry cooker output, manufacturer claims

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Temperature, Cooking, Microwave oven

A redesigned spiral poultry cooker produces a moister product,
higher yields, increased output,while reducing maintenance costs,
its manufacturer claims.

FMC FoodTec said its redesigned oven, the Stein GCO II Gyrocompact, was developed after threeyears of research and customer feedback. A redesigned drive can reduce routine maintenance costs by as much 33per cent, the company claimed.

"Better steam containment, an improved mesh belt design, enhanced vertical airflow and a high-performance supplementary impingement section give food manufacturers greater flexibility in cooking a broader range of products in higher volumes at a fasterpace,"​ the company stated in announcing the redeveloped machine at the InternationalPoultry Expo, which ends today in Atlanta, Georgia.

The GCO II uses the same three phase cooking principle as the previous model. The initial phaseuses steam and condensation to lock moisture into the poultry product. Heated air and superheated steamare then used to quickly cook the product. The supplementary impingement stage involves heated air at highvelocities to add additional surface colour.

"By providing the right mode of heat transfer at the right time in the cooking process, multiphase cooking delivers moist, tender products that are pleasing in taste andappearance,"​ FMC FoodTec claimed.

A vertical airflow minimises temperature variation across the width of the belt conveying products within theoven, the company claimed. Vertical airflow also prevents a "shadow effect" on the products,which can lead to variations in both colour and internal product temperature from the outside toward the inside edges of the belt - a common shortcoming of horizontal airflow designs.

A control system allows processors to vary the airflow up, down or in alternating directions - to cook product evenly on the top and bottom. By ensuring uniform cooking, thesystem boosts yields by preventing overcooking on one side of the product, the company claimed.

The system also increases the yield - a product's finished, cooked weight relative to its pre-cooked weight,the company claimed. Maintaining yield is a problem as products lose weight through product dehydration in the cooking process. Since food prices are driven largely by weight, food manufacturersare demanding ovens that can deliver higher yields.

The increased yield compared to the previous model is due to an improved steam containing design,particularly when high fan speeds are used. This helps retain product moisture and increases theoverall product yields, since less weight is being cooked out of the end product, the company stated.

A specially designed mesh belt carrying the food in a spiral pattern also contributes to productyield, because it doesn't bunch up and constrict air flow near the spiral's centre. The productis evenly cooked across the width of the belt, ensuring uniform cooked weight, and therefore yield,of the finished product, the company claimed.

"Depending on the product being cooked, testing has consistently shown that the GCO II can increase yields by up tofour per cent on whole muscle products or two per cent on bone-in chicken,"​ the companyclaimed. "Basically, that's an additional four per cent of profit based on product weight. For companies that cook tens of thousands of pounds of product daily, this potentially could reap hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual profits."

An impingement section attached at the end of the oven improves the product's surface colour without overcooking - which also leads to higheryield, the company added.

"Not only that, but the impingement section also drives heat to the core of the product in the shortest time with a high heat transfer rate involving air velocities exceeding 4,000 feet perminute, FMC FoodTec stated.

The GCO II also has a higher throughput - the volume of food cooked per hour, the companyclaimed.

"It's the only oven that can cook up to 20 tiers of product,"​ FMC stated. "The GCO II also can raise throughput levels by as much as 40per cent when the impingement section is used in conjunction with the main oven cabinet, as the impingement section's high temperatures can accelerate product finishing and browning."

A 15 per cent increase in the oven's maximum belt speed also helps cook more products faster. When the GCO II's impingement section is used,the time it takes to reach the last few degrees of temperature increase within a product isdecreased to a few seconds, due to the high velocity of heated air used in the process, the companyclaimed. Normally, the last few degrees of temperature increase within a product takes the longest time in any spiral oven cabinet.

Through independent controls, a temperature differential of up to 200° F can be achieved between the impingement section and the main ovencabinet, the company stating, adding that this design meets manufacturers' needs for greater flexibility in cooking and browning products requiring different temperatureranges.

A low-maintenance drive, developed in response to customer feedback, can result in up to 33 percent savings incosts over the current generation of GCOs, the company claimed. Because they're used almost continuously year-round, oven drives require costly routine rebuilds.FMC FoodTech claims each rebuild of the GCO II's drive system would only be needed every threeyears.

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