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International FoodTec Award: current winners

DLG presented the International FoodTec Award 2015 in a formal ceremony at the Anuga FoodTec, recognising 18 products from the international food and supplier industry with gold and silver medals. Nine innovations received a gold award and nine were honoured with a silver award. The winners included companies from Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands, Austria and Germany.

High Moisture Extrusion

German Institute of Food Technologies (DIL, Deutsches Institut für Lebensmitteltechnik)


The German Institute of Food Technologies has developed an equipment concept for the production of meat analogues. The concept is based on a combination of metering, extrusion, cooling nozzle and cutting units. Thus, it basically matches the High Moisture Extrusion approach. This is a highly sensitive process where equipment configuration and process parameters must be precisely adjusted to the raw materials being used and the desired end products. The challenge lay in developing a concept that was suitable for such configuration and for the production of different textures that resemble beef, pork, poultry or fish. The apparatus should also make it possible to process other raw materials (soya, pea and lupin protein). Production equipment that is currently available is limited in this respect and can only be used for a single product.

Multitwist twisting machine

Fritsch GmbH

Markt Einersheim/Germany

Twisting braided breads into shape is one of the most labour- and time-intensive activities in baking, but also one of the most sophisticated. Until recently, the bread has had to be twisted by hand or pressed into shape out of a piece of dough, significantly detracting from the look and character of the end product. But now, the Multitwist dough processing system by Fritsch enables decorative baked goods to be prepared in a fully automated process, including braided braids that the master baker would be proud of. The machine covers all five processes – from the cutting and the twisting to the arrangement on the proofing trays. Its various tools are monitored using RFID modules and can be replaced in less than three minutes, offering enormous flexibility. The capacity of the Multitwist can be extended by the addition of up to eight modules that can work in parallel. As well as braided breads, it can be used to made pretzels, rings, twists or flat baked products such as pizza strips and crumble bases.

GEA MultiDrum

GEA Food Solutions 

Bakel, Netherlands

“Homestyle” or “southern-style” breaded products, with their
coarse, crispy coating, were once mainly enjoyed in fastfood
restaurants, but are now gaining popularity as consumer
products sold in supermarkets. Until recently, however, the
appearance, bite and mouthfeel of these products have been
below par. This is because the industrial production process
has always required a compromise between authenticity and
efficiency. To overcome these obstacles, GEA has developed
an innovative homestyle breader that splits the product
stream and feeds the products evenly into multiple drums.
The products leave the drums spread evenly across the belt,
reducing labour costs by up to 80 per cent. The GEA MultiDrum delivers consistent coating quality with the authentic homestyle look, taste and bite. With a much shorter overall line, it has a far smaller footprint than single-drum breading lines with their accompanying spreading belts. The machine is easy to clean, and thanks to the GEA OptiAir technology, the amount of dust in the work environment is greatly reduced.

SHERLOCK Food analyser

Insort GmbH

Kirchberg, Austria

Production processes in the food industry are often extremely
complex and pose significant technical challenges. Infrared
spectroscopy is an ideal method for continuously capturing
data about the chemical structure of food in a high-speed
“in-line” production process in a way that is contactless and
does not damage the product. This invaluable information can
be used to classify products and control product flows and
processes. Developed by Insort, the Sherlock food analyser
uses infrared spectroscopy to continuously analyse product
flows in real time in accordance with defined parameters
and to make corrections to the process as necessary, thereby
improving product quality. Food is a particularly challenging
product to monitor because the factors that influence it are
very complex. The distribution of ingredients can be highly
heterogeneous, for example, and there are different varieties
to consider as well as changes that take place during the
storage and production process. This meant that the Sherlock
process diagnostics system had to be developed for use with
a variety of foodstuffs and to provide reliable, robust and
high-precision analysis, within defined fluctuation ranges,
even when faced with highly variable parameters.

Deaeration of fruit juices

Krones AG 

Neutraubling, Germany

Fruit juices need to be degasified prior to bottling for three main reasons: to avoid problems when bottling; to minimise oxidative reactions; and to stop fruit particles from floating around in the bottle. In the deaeration process, it is important to keep the surface area as large and turbulent as possible and to keep the layers as thin as possible. This keeps the Diffusion paths for the gas bubbles short. To limit the formation of foam, however, the juices should be subjected to a minimum of mechanical stress. Krones has developed a “swirl infeed” that avoids the drawbacks presented by the annular, spray and tangential nozzles that are most commonly used at the moment. This is designed to gently apply the product to the wall of the deaeration tank, starting at the specially constructed container lid. Because of the speed at which it is introduced and the adhesive force, a thin film of juice attaches itself to the walls. Using the surface of the container, including the lid, enables the volume of the container to be reduced by more than a third. This saves not only space but energy too: the vacuum pumps can be smaller because there is less volume to evacuate. The turbulent product film allows a high rate of gas exchange that achieves low residual oxygen levels even at higher viscosities. Flavour loss can be minimised by adjusting the intensity of deaeration to the particular product.

Respiration control system

Perfo Tec BV

Mijdrecht, Netherlands

Fresh fruit and vegetables continue to breathe in their packaging, a process that uses up oxygen and produces CO2 and water vapour. The intensity with which they breathe is influenced by variety-specific characteristics as well as various external factors, particularly temperature. If the product is packaged in sealed, impermeable film, the concentration of oxygen falls to such a low level over time that anaerobic breathing sets in, which can lead to the formation of undesirable odours and flavours and to further degradation of product quality. To prevent detrimental changes, a limited exchange between the internal and external atmosphere would be desirable to allow the delivery of a certain amount of oxygen. In searching for an optimum solution, PerfoTec has developed a respiration control system that encompasses four steps: 1. Measurement of breathing activity; 2. Calculation of film permeability using the AMAP software; 3. Laser perforation of the packaging film; 4. Quality control via an integrated camera that monitors the perforation. This greatly increases the shelf life of the product and significantly reduces spoilage.

Easy Lid

Sealpac GmbH 

Oldenburg, Germany

Fully automated packaging of food presents a number of challenges. Not only does the finished product have to be attractively presented and easy to handle, but it also has to have a long shelf life and be as safe as possible. To meet these needs, SEALPAC develops innovative solutions that set new standards and guarantee the highest level of efficiency. One of these solutions is EasyLid®, a method that delivers quantifiable savings in material and time (EasyLid® is a joint development by Sealpac GmbH and Naber Plastics B.V.). This new packaging system combines lidding and sealing in one single step, ensuring a more efficient packaging process because there is no separate snap-on lid. The revolutionary EasyLid® pack is suitable for both hot and cold filling, as well as for modified atmosphere packaging. It is an ideal solution for a whole range of products – from antipasti, meatballs and deli foods to salads, snacks and confectionery. Transport and storage costs are greatly reduced because of the savings in packing material and weight, while the elimination of the lidding process cuts labour and equipment costs.

Transformation of thermal energy systems

Stadtwerke Murau

Murau municipal utility company, Austria

Consuming a little over 25 kWh of thermal energy per hectolitre of unblended beer production, the Murau eGen brewery was already at the lower range of average energy consumption by European breweries before it set itself the target of driving down this figure even further. By connecting itself to the district heating network (provided by the Murau municipal utility company) and by using an efficient energy-saving system developed by Krones, it has become one of the most energy-efficient breweries anywhere in the world. Significant energy savings for steam production were achieved by lowering the heat medium’s temperature from 160° C to a maximum of 115° C for hot water production in a special system with radiation and loss reduction features. This has also made it possible to recover extensive amounts of heat energy – without having any impact on the quality of the product or the efficiency of production. A key step in the transition to renewable district heating was the development of a new stratified energy storage tank, which is connected to all consumers of thermal energy in the brewery. A special cascading system of this central energy storage makes it possible to integrate various consumers in a temperature and energy optimized manner which is central for the high efficiency of this new plant. All these extensive measures mean that the brewery now consumes less than 19 kWh of thermal energy for every hectolitre of unblended beer it produces, a saving of around 30 per Cent.

Meatball loader AML273

VEMAG Maschinenbau GmbH 

Verden, Germany

The AML273 Automatic Meatball Loader is a new universal attachment for VEMAG vacuum fillers. It makes round or elongated convenience products fully automatically in a low-pressure process and loads these into trays. This new addition to VEMAG‘s flexible fresh-meat line can be used to make perfectly shaped meatballs, vegetable balls, skinless sausages, croquettes and many other products at high speed. But it‘s not just flexibility that it offers. The AML273 Automatic Meatball Loader is also able to load the products fully automatically into trays – an unrivalled new feature. Up to now, these kinds of formed and ground products could only be packaged by hand as there was no viable automated solution. The line comprises different components depending on the product and the desired packaging. A complete tray-loading system consists of a belt that supplies the trays and a long transport belt on which the finished products are carefully deposited.

ALPMA RO HighTS membrane system

ALPMA Alpenland Maschinenbau GmbH

Rott am Inn, Germany

Membrane filtration is a process that is widely used by dairies to concentrate milk, whey and UF permeates using reverse osmosis (RO). Previously, the most common and economical way to do this has been to concentrate these products to a total solids (TS) level of 18-20 per cent. But now, thanks to the new ALPMA RO HighTS process, much higher levels of dry weight can be achieved in the RO concentrate. Whey, for example, can be concentrated from 6 per cent to 28-30 per cent TS in a single step. This is possible because the first two stages of the threestage RO HighTS system concentrate the whey to a dry weight of around 18-20 per cent. To further increase the already high osmotic pressure, the third stage is conducted using reverse osmosis but with special membranes. Because the permeate from this third stage has a very high chemical oxygen demand, it is returned to the system together with the polisher concentrate. This prevents the loss of dry weight and reduces the contamination level of the waste water. The use of membrane technology to concentrate whey consumes significantly less energy than the conventional evaporation method. Furthermore, the water obtained from the membrane filtration process can be used at various points to reduce mains water consumption.

MPA/LSM analysis system

Bruker Optik GmbH 

Ettlingen, Germany

Spectroscopic methods have long been used in the labs of the dairy industry, where FT-IR and NIR systems have become indispensable tools in quality and process control. Bruker Optik‘s new system is an all-in-one package comprising the MPA (Multi Purpose FT-NIR Analyzer) and innovative LSM (Liquid Sampling Module). Not only does this present a more cost-effective solution, but it also allows samples to be analysed that could not previously be handled using FT-IR or, in this form, with other NIR devices. The LSM is the main innovation. It contains a homogeniser for optimum, reproducible analysis of raw milk and whey, and a peristaltic pump that can handle any conceivable liquid milk product or derivative and can be used separately. The MPA is designed to analyse all other solid and semi-solid dairy products, using mainly reflection, transflection or diffuse transmission.

3D Derinding of pork loin

Danish Meat Research Institute

Taastrup, Denmark

The derinding of pork loin is a widely established practice in the meat industry. Ideally the fat should be trimmed off in one piece, leaving behind a uniform layer on the loin. The meat industry is highly focused on costs and yield. The latter has been dramatically improved thanks to the new robot developed by the Danish Meat Research Institute. It‘s important to remember that meat is not a homogeneous product. In fact it varies greatly in terms of size, composition and fat content. To accommodate this variability, the new robot produces a precise 3D picture of each individual loin and calculates where the fat meets the meat. A patented cutting system consisting of eight knives then automatically trims the meat. The process is extremely quick: the robot takes just four seconds to do the trimming. The result is a pork loin with a uniform layer of fat, regardless of the meat profile, and a high-quality piece of fat. This greatly increases yields in comparison with existing methods and eliminates the costs involved with trimming by hand.

Universal Ultrasonic Cutter

Döinghaus cutting and more GmbH & Co. KG 

Salzkotten, Germany

One way to overcome the challenges involved in cutting
cheese cleanly and precisely is to use ultrasound in the form
of sonotrode cutting tools. Because of the high frequency
at which they vibrate, the cutting sonotrodes apply far less
contact pressure than conventional knives and so ensure the
product is not deformed or damaged. Another advantage: the
continuous vibration means that virtually no product residue
is able to stick to the blades. This has an impact not only on
the quality of the cuts but also on the longevity of the knives
and the amount of cleaning that is needed. In addition to
the traditional ”spade“ cutters, ultrasonic circular cutters are
now available for continuous in-line operation. They are used
in the stainless steel Ultrasonic Universal Schneider – USS
1000 Helios, which has been developed by Döinghaus to cut
cheese wheels in portions of any size. An optional module
can be added to the system for laterally cutting rectangular

DirectDrive System

Intralox LLC Europe

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Intralox has been recognised for its patented DirectDrive System. In conventional ‚overdrive‘ spiral conveyor systems, the central drum rotates at a slightly higher speed than the belt. The conveyor belt is driven by frictional force, which causes modules close to the drum to move and can lead to a misalignment of products on the belt. What‘s more, all fluctuations in friction, e.g. caused by fat, affect the operation of the spirals. In the DirectDrive System the belt is driven directly by the drum, which works like a central cog. This obviates the need for overdrive because the edge of the conveyor belt and the drum are directly connected. Slippage of any kind is eliminated because there is no longer any friction between the edge of the conveyor belt and the drum. This ensures a uniform alignment of products on the belt and reliable operation without any contaminations from the drum. This technological breakthrough was designed to minimise operational and maintenance downtimes and to reduce belt tensioning, labour and cleaning costs.

MW 200 mixer-grinder

K+G Wetter GmbH 

Biedenkopf-Breidenstein, Germany

Mixer grinders are used in the meat processing industry to first mix raw ingredients and then mince them. Having one machine perform both steps saves production time, investment costs and space while also improving product hygiene. Up to now, all mixer-grinders have had “dead space” in the mixing unit, often making the mixing result only partly reproducible and sometimes extremely uneven. The MW 200 mixer- grinder, developed by K+G Wetter, does things differently. Its mixing unit is totally free of dead space because it is separated from the grinder unit by a sliding cover. For the first time, the raw ingredients can be mixed until completely homogenised before they are minced in the grinding unit. And because the mixing area has smooth surfaces and no projecting edges or feeder worms, the raw ingredients are subjected to less mechanical stress. In the mixing unit, two mixing shafts are arranged in parallel but driven separately, ensuring an intensive yet gentle mixing process. A newly developed transverse feeder worm brings the two product flows together centrally in the grinder unit, meaning the mixing funnel can be emptied quickly and without residues via two discharge outlets.

Deodorisation and heat recovery

Kuchenmeister GmbH

Soest, Germany

In industrial baking, the size of the oven, the baking temperature,the product being baked and the duration of the bake can produce very different oven atmospheres, which release odours and heat energy into the environment in the form of baking fumes. Waste heat recovery and fume purification using conventional heat exchangers and filter systems is inefficient because these quickly become unusable. The company Kuchenmeister, in conjunction with German Lebensmitteltechnologie GmbH, has developed an modular process that can recover heat and deodorise baking fumes in a single step. At the core is a condensation room with a porous ceramic cell system that exchanges heat and substances from baking fumes and condensate through its surface. In the condensation room, the baking fumes are cooled and therefore condensed by their own condensate as they flow through from top to bottom. As they lose temperature, they transfer warmth and odour-producing substances to the condensate, before leaving the condensation room in a cooled, purified form. The condensate, by contrast, flows from the bottom of the condensation room to the top as it gains temperature. The excess condensate, which contains the odour-producing substances in dissolved form, is automatically removed from the system and disposed of together with conventional waste water.

CRYOLINE®SI – IQF immersion freezing

Linde AG 

Pullach, Germany

IQF foods are notable for the fact that each individual piece of food is frozen separately from all the others. This improves the sensory quality of the products and also makes them much easier to handle. Linde AG has developed a new generation of freezers for these products, called CRYOLINE®SI. Its modular combination of immersion bath and post-cooling tunnel is designed mainly for high-grade, loose-rolling food. In a controlled process, the product is fed directly into the immersion bath by a vibrating conveyor belt that reduces the risk of product clumping. The cold liquid nitrogen instantly crust-freezes and stabilises the product surface, thus locking in the moisture and maintaining product yield and quality, critical for value-added IQF products. The immersion bath is kept intentionally shallow so that as little nitrogen as possible is needed. The cold gas energy from the immersion bath stage is further utilised within the post-cooling tunnel, saving time and increasing efficiency.

Smart Skin Quantifeel© System

Smart Skin Technologies Europe GmbH

Gammelsdorf, Germany/Canada

Quantifeel©, from Smart Skin Technologies, is a world first – a system that can measure in real time all physical movement and orientation data of a bottle or other receptacle used in a filling and packaging line. Such data includes dynamic pressure, rotation, rotation speed, tilt and vibration. Excess dynamic pressure is one of the main causes of excess friction, damage to receptacles, system wear and tear, noise emissions and low equipment efficiency. The Skin Quantifeel© System wirelessly transmits real time movement data at specific positions in a packing line, providing a 3D breakdown of the pressure exerted on the surface of the receptacles that are being transported. It consists of a mobile sensor, a high-performance radio module and a laptop running the Quantifeel software. This mobile sensor is customised for each customer and each application to match the size and shape of the receptacle being used in the filling line. The system is easy to implement. It is ideal for permanent use as a quality control and maintenance tool, to quantify and check in real time issues with dynamic pressure and the movement of receptacles, and to determine any immediate corrective action that is required. Simple adjustments to the way in which receptacles are transported can greatly reduce the pressures they are subjected to. This can lead to various longterm positive effects in terms of material use, setup/changeover times and downtimes, noise emissions, efficiency and line and container utilisation, providing an attractive return on investment factoring in total cost of ownership.