The type and viscosity of food product, thermal processing technology, desired texture, and cooking/processing cycle times are considerations for the applied cooking/blending solution. When selecting an agitator or changing an application, review the thermal processing and blending goals. The proper agitator selection, blending action and recipe controls provide the highest level of batch productivity and efficiently. Agitator Selection Mepaco has engineered several types of agitator configurations. Ribbon style blenders provide a lower level of shear. Single or double agitators with paddles provide a more aggressive blend. The desired system expectation is also a factor. Agitators can be designed to reduce product discharge waste; designs can also provide suspension to hold product until downstream equipment is ready. The type of thermal heat solutions and type of food product will drive the need for scrapers. Indirect heating applications typically require scrapers to prevent burn-on during the heating process. For more information about mixing and blending applications, check out our e-book on “ Comparing Agitator Solutions .” Intended Use The agitator and controls package for the cooker have been specifically engineered for a particular set of batch parameters. It is critical that operators understand the expected performance of the cooker and blending settings. After commissioning, when a change is made in the food product, temperature, or recipe alteration, it may affect agitator effectiveness and overall efficiency of the cooker . If any delays or inefficiencies are noticed, contact the factory to provide a system check, or provide system adjustments to the application changes. Maintenance Strategy It is vital to keep agitators well maintained. Flexed or stressed agitators do not perform efficiently, and in some cases, minor efficiencies turn into critical downtime scenarios when not maintained properly. If plant personnel make a repair to an agitator, it is important to schedule an after-event service call to make sure the repairs hold up to stainless welding fortifications and proper straightening to prevent future issues. Scraper systems may degrade over time. Check scraper assemblies during maintenance intervals, and replace scrapers that become ineffective. Worn scrapers are a liability to food safety and product quality that can cause a critical shut-down if scrapers crack or break up into the food product; or become ineffective due to excessive wear. Agitators are one part of the overall solution for cooking and blending. Visit our web page to learn more about thermal processing equipment.