Swiss firm Aston Foods has developed a vacuum cooling technology for large bakeries that can save time and money compared to conventional cooling towers, it claims.
Its Continua technology was previously only available to small to medium sized bakeries, but it will be commercially available to large-scale bakeries from 2013 following 18 months of R&D.
The technology can be used on a range of baked goods including, breads, rolls, biscuits and cakes.
Vacuum cooling uses the heat of evaporation to cool products in a process known as evaporation enthalpy. See the video below, to see how the machine operates.
The company said that Continua can be used in a fully-automated or batch system and could be fitted to any band or deck oven.
Done in 3 minutes
Ulrich Lauck, area sales manager for Aston Foods told BakeryandSnacks.com that industrial bakers normally use cooling towers to cool products, which takes around 90 minutes before reaching the core temperature of 30°C.
“Here, the microbiological load of the baked goods is very high and mold is the result. This does not apply to the vacuum technology.”
He said that vacuum cooling took just 3 minutes and required 20 sq m³ of factory space compared to the 250 sq m³ needed for cooling towers.
The technology costs around $1.5m, but Lauck said bakers would soon see the payback.
He said that the average cost with for vacuum cooling based on 32,000 rolls an hour was 3.2 cents per piece, which compares to 5.2 cents per piece for conventional cooling.
The capacity of the machine is up to 1500 kg of bread per hour, said Lauck.
The company said in a statement: “The Continua takes up only a fraction of the space compared to cooling carousels and lines. Vacuum chambers furthermore eliminate the risk of food contamination. Overall, the baked goods gain volume while shelf life and taste are also improved.”
Aston Foods was founded in 2008 by Patrick R. Duss, and was acquired by Zug-based Future Finance Corporation in June 2012.