The Linde Gas division of Germany's Linde Group introduced a number of new products at the InterCool show in Duesseldorf, Germany, this week. Among the products on display were the LIX-shooter and Droplet systems, designed to help cool foods quickly and efficiently without impacting their quality.
A cryogenic ground-level cooling system, the LIX-shooter uses liquid nitrogen or liquid carbon for use in mixing, kneading and cooking equipment. It is a valve-based system developed in line with the strict hygiene requirements of the EHEDG (European Hygiene Equipment Design Group).
Conventional cryogenic processes apply coolants to a product surface from above, which leads to unnecessary vaporisation and a drop in cooling efficiency, Linde said. Where the LIX-shooter system differs is that it injects directly into the product, achieving immediate heat transfer and reducing gas consumption.
Depending on the product and equipment in use, efficiency levels of up to 98 per cent can be achieved, the company claims.
The LIX-shooter is particularly well-suited for use with low-viscosity and combined-ingredient products. It can be used for accelerating the cooling process in mechanical liquid coolers, for freezing (including crystallisation) and for emergency cooling during potentially explosive procedures.
Thanks to direct injection, the LIX-shooter ensures careful treatment of a broad range of products, from simple ingredients (vegetables, poultry and other meats) to combined foods (soups, sauces, pasta and foodstuffs with puree consistency, such as baby food).
The system can be installed in new plants or retrofitted in existing equipment. All cooling valve parts are flush with the interior surface of the mixer. Residual matter cannot collect in the valve or pipes, thus reducing cleaning to a minimum.
The Droplet system, meanwhile, is used for cooling liquid foodstuffs to form pellets that flow in a thin stream. The process begins with an automatically monitored pump transporting the product to a dosing system, which is linked to the Cryoline CM immersion freezer.
The dosing equipment generates droplets, which fall directly into a liquid-nitrogen bath in the immersion freezer. The droplets solidify on contact with the nitrogen. The pellets have a diameter of 3 to 7 mm (depending on temperature, viscosity and shearing qualities of the liquid) and are moved on with the stream of nitrogen and subsequently transported via conveyor belt.
Each pellet is a separate entity, but they combine to form a trickling mass, provided the freezing point is not exceeded.
The Droplet system is suitable for materials such as sauces (not containing larger solids), creams, egg (liquid contents), dairy products and chocolate.
Key benefits include foodstuff preservation without resorting to chemical additives; the ability to package precise quantities, product combination flexibility and practical self-service for end consumers. The process complies with the strictest hygiene standards. This is due to the sterilising qualities of droplet solidification and the fact that the equipment can be cleaned quickly and reliably.