The process, developed by UK-based Zinetec, rapidly shakes tinned products during sterilization produces fresher, better tasting food at lower cost, the company claims. The alternative autoclaving technology dramatically lowers sterilization times for many canned, flexible packed and bottled food products to about ten minutes, down from about 45 minutes, Zinetec claims.
Satori Stocktec produced the pilot machine under licence from Zinetec. While FoodProductionDaily.com has reported about Zinetec's "Shaka" technology in the past, Satori's description of the machine provides a further insight into the method.
The German manufacturer of batch type retorts believes the method has the "potential to revolutionize the thermal processing of low to medium viscous products like soups, sauces and some ready meals".
The method can be used with other types of containers, including glass jars.
According to Satori the system rapidly shakes containers along their longitudinal axis, causing a turbulence and strong stirring effects.
The shaking motion brings the entirevolume of the filler material into contact with the inside walls of the container in rapidsuccession. This intense agitation of product and container accelerates heat transfer duringboth heating and cooling and prevents the contents from scorching on the inside of thecontainer.
As a result, higher process temperatures can be achieved, and process times can bereduced.
"Extensive series of tests have led to the insight that a lift distance of 150 mm and a liftfrequency of 120 to 180 cycles per minute reduce the process time of the thermal treatmentby 90 to 95 per cent compared with a static process and by about 70 per cent compared witha rotation process," the company stated. "Moreover, an identical sterilization effect is achieved in this case. Thismeans that a given product volume can be treated in considerably fewer, and smaller, autoclaves. This entails substantial economic advantages."
The company expects that theindustrial use of the new process will result in foods that have long shelf lives without beingchilled and that largely retain their nutritional value and vitamin content.
The pilot machine has a capacity of 448 cans, each with a diameter of 73 mm and a length of 105 mm. The pilot system is designed for steam, steam and overspray and full-water immersion processes. This allow manufacturers to reproduce the entire range of the sterilisation processes currently available on the market as a means of comparison.
"Combinations of these processes can also be realised, which makes direct comparisons among them possible," the company stated in a press release. "The pilot system is the first step toward building autoclaves on a production scale sometime in the near future."
Zinetec has also licenced its "Shaka" process to French producer Steriflow, which is also producing a pilot-scale machine.