The type and viscosity of food product, thermal processing technology, desired
texture, and cooking/processing cycle times are considered when specifying the agitator
solution. Primary consideration for mixing or blending agitator solution begins with the
ability for the food product to self-level. Agitator configurations also include scrapers
with indirect cooking applications.
In some applications, the agitator itself may not significantly affect throughput
improvement, but the overall solution does. The driving forces for throughput in batch
processing is cycle times, loading, and discharging.
However, the wrong agitator solution will not mix or blend the product well. Solids
need to be homogeneous and remain intact during processing operations. Further, the product
must remain in a mixed state throughout the process and discharge operations.
During project discussions, Mepaco’s application team defines mixing as adding
ingredients for the correct mix and consistency, while blending provides a change of the
food product’s properties.
The thermal processing solution is customized to the specific application. The PLC
is programmed to include agitator speeds, pauses, and direction changes for the desired
results. Further, the Mixer or Blender equipment will be sized for the batch volume required
along with options (vacuum, cooling, searing, caramelizing) to meet the batch cycle times,
quality and throughput goals for the processing solution.