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Ready meal technology offers processors range flexibility, says developer

By Staff Reporter , 28-Jul-2008
Last updated on 30-Jul-2008 at 18:50 GMT

A ready-meal tray sealer packs a wide variety of products using a modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) technology that eliminates the need for vacuum, said packaging equipment manufacturer Hefestus.

Hefestus sales and marketing vice president, Ron Golan told FoodProductionDaily.com that it has adapted its existing Hera conveyor technology to enable it to offer ready meal processors flexibility in tray and product configuration.

Golan said the technology employs the company's patented method of sealing trays with modified atmosphere, the Shelf Life Booster (SLB).

Modified atmosphere in the package helps prevent the growth of microbiological organisms and bio-chemical reactions and the consequent spoilage of goods and as such can offer processors a reliable and cost effective alternative to refrigeration or preservatives.

Conventional MAP technology replaces the normal atmosphere in the pack by a specified gas mix, the main components of which are oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen.

However, Golan claims that, unlike all other MAP sealers, the SLB technology creates a modified atmosphere without drawing vacuum at any stage, thus ensuring no harm to the texture and appearance of products.

The SLB also allows easy maintenance as it seals with one fully automatic mechanical vacuum free head, which can quickly be removed by the line operator, said the Israel-based manufactuer.

Golan said that simplified screw technology enables operator-friendly parameter control on filler and stop stations, while allowing processors create and change their product composition to suit marketplace demands.

"We have made the changeover tooling less complicated to enable quick set-up time between alternate product and tray configurations," said Golan.

He said that the equipment can be tailored to suit the particular requirements of a food processor and it is capable of sealing up to six trays at a time to optimize production rates.

Golan added that the company is focusing its efforts on the European ready meals production market initially but intends to expand into North America.

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