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Process system provides rapid production of chicken viscera

12 October 2015

Optimising the use of food ingredients is now an essential part of the food manufacturing industry.

In the meat processing sector new and innovative processes are being employed to recover every edible part of a carcass for animal consumption.  Material previously disposed of as waste is now entering the food chain and it is sophisticated production processes and refined technologies that are making this possible.

The poultry processing industry provides a good example with the production of chicken viscera destined for use in animal food products. Key to the process is the rapid turnaround from slaughter to chilled finished product, and under EU legislation this must be accomplished within 60 minutes. One company that is making this a commercial reality is AxFlow, which has developed a specialised processing unit comprising an emulsifier, positive displacement (PD) pumps, centrifugal pumps heat exchangers, compressed air delivery system, holding tanks, valves and pipework. 

The process commences with offal and parts from the processing area being screened to remove loose water and fed into an emulsifier reception hopper where it is reduced to a slurry paste with a particle size of approximately 6mm. From here it is moved via an intermediate vessel into an emulsifier discharge pump which transfers the slurry to the top of a holding tank. Once the level in the holding tank has reached a preset level, a second PD pump follows a control signal and feeds the paste through to scraped surface heat exchangers. This signal establishes a correct flow rate to a mean level of viscera in the tank of approximately 20%.   The pumps used for the emulsifier discharge and feed processes are Waukesha Universal I Series. 

This rotary piston pump employs an operating principle known as the external circumferential piston (ECP). In this design the arc-shaped rotary pistons, or rotor wings, travel in annular-shaped cylinders machined in the pump body. The resulting long sealing path reduces slippage and produces a smooth product flow without destructive pulses or pressure peaks, and without the need for valves or complex parts. Unlike progressing cavity and rotary lobe pumps, the Waukesha Universal pump is not adversely affected by varying or viscous products that may settle in the pump. Because the rotors produce a scooping action, they do not squeeze and compact the medium being pumped. 

The Waukesha Universal 1 pump combines a very gentle, pulse-free pumping action with the high suction capacity necessary for allowing the thick mix to be drawn into the pump without any separation of the ingredients. The pump uses double ‘0’ ring self-lubricating sealing system for all applications, which allows high vacuum to be developed on the inlet side.

Manufactured from stainless steel and suitable for CIP cleaning, the pump’s close clearances allow the pumping of water against back pressures, whilst its simple design enables operators to completely strip it down for inspection in situ without the need to remove connecting pipework. Maximum service life can be achieved even under severe operating conditions where fluids are non-lubricating or abrasive because there is no contact between the bearings and the pumped fluid, nor is there sliding or rolling contact and rotor-to-rotor contact. 

Cool performance
Rapid cooling of the temperature of the viscera paste is essential to compliance to EU legislation for chilled foods and the AxFlow system uses three scraped heat exchangers. The cooling system uses a 30% glycol/water concentration at -8°C which is circulated around the system by a centrifugal pump that is activated on start up of the system.

Once the system has been started up, and the viscera feed pump has been running for 50 seconds the first heat exchanger will start, followed the second and third units at timed intervals. The end of the production cycle is marked by the discharge of the chilled paste into a chilled bulk storage tank. The time taken from when the offal and parts leave the slaughterhouse to the finished product being discharged into the bulk storage is 10 minutes.

Product recovery and cleaning 
The complete system has been designed to ensure that at the end of the production cycle, product remaining in the system is transferred into the 1200 litre holding tank. Activation of the product recovery mode enables a program to allow pressurised clean water to push the product in the system through the heat exchangers and into the chilled bulk storage tank. Before further production can proceed, the automated wash-down CiP mode can be activated and this runs clean water through the entire system for a period of time after which it is either drained from the system or recovered in the Dolav.

With a system capability of 3,000lts/hr, the AxFlow chicken viscera processing unit offers the poultry processing industry an economical, hygienic and rapid method of recovering offal and waste products to create a stream of additional revenue. The production process is suitable for both automated and manual control and complies with existing EU hygiene regulations and the skid-mounted unit is constructed from components that are designed for CiP cleaning

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