Pursuit Dynamics builds fluid handling test centre

Related tags Energy conservation Pursuit dynamics

Pursuit Dynamics has built a new pilot kitchen in order to
demonstrate its steam-based PDX fluids handling system, which the
company claims can increase production efficiency and conserve

This facility, situated in Royston, UK, enables customer-specific recipes and protocols to be trialled allowing the PDX technology to be evaluated quickly.

The PDX technology can be used to mix, emulsify, cook, pump, and entrain additional materials. The company claims that the technology can reduce cooking time by up to 95 per cent and cut clean-down time by up to 80 per cent.

"The pilot kitchen enables us to demonstrate to customers the robustness of our technology and its impressive controllability, in addition to proving the substantial savings that are generated in a whole range of mixing, cooking, pumping and emulsifying duties that the PDX unit carries out simultaneously,"​ said John Heathcote, CEO of Pursuit Dynamics​.

The UK-based company believes that installing a modern fluid handling system can help processors achieve both flexibility and greater efficiency in production.

"You'll find that in most plants, fluid processing equipment is pretty old; tanks, homogenisers don't appear very technical,"​ said Natacha Wilson, head of marketing at Pursuit Dynamics.

"Many plants are also operating with a multiplicity of equipment, when they could be operating with just a single integrated system."

As a result, PDX fluid handling technology is specifically targeted at the prepared food sector. This technology, claims the company, is capable of addressing key processing concerns of food plant managers.

The technology is based on the power of ultrasonic shockwaves, which can be controlled and adjusted to meet specific processing needs. The system can pump, entrain, mix, homogenise, heat and cook fluids, powders and solids using a single system, and with no moving parts, the company claims that the new technology is reliable, safe and can be easily installed in both in-line and batch processes.

These capabilities can be now demonstrated in the pilot kitchen, which is equipped with a number of PDX units sized for flow rates of 1,000 to 63,000 litres/hour, with a turndown range of 85 per cent on each unit. Pursuit Dynamics claims that as well as the many process advantages of the system, product quality is enhanced due to reduced thermal shock and taste and texture remain uncompromised.

In addition to the highly controllable and quickly interchangeable PDX units, the pilot kitchen is equipped with a Mastersizer particle size analyser, 500kg feed hopper, control valves, pressure gauges and computerised data collection. Batch sizes from 50 to 500kg can be handled, and there are also entrainment hoppers for powders, liquids or hard to wet gums such as guar gum.

All of the equipment is food-grade so that food and beverage recipes can be processed and tasted, and the PDX technology inherently allows rapid clean down between batches. The facility has already been used to produce a wide range of products including stable soft drink emulsions, jams, ice creams, soups and both smooth and particulate sauces.

Along with increasing production efficiency, the technology can also help manufacturers reduce waste and conserve energy. This is an important consideration, given the forthcoming introduction of stringent environmental legislation.

The IPPC (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control) regulations for example have wide-ranging energy-efficiency implications for food plants. The food industry is one of the largest consumers of energy, and energy conservation is becoming a key concern of food manufacturers.

"The food industry has traditionally only been covered by water emissions regulations, packaging requirements and Duty of Care waste management regulations,"​ said Martin Brocklehurst, head of waste management at the UK's Environment Agency. "But this is all changing with the passage of EU-level Pollution Prevention control (PPC) legislation."

One of the things about the IPPC is that it obliges plants to monitor energy costs per batch, and assess the environmental impact of every specific product throughput. Everyone is concerned about efficiency, but it's not just about costs; now it's about legal requirements.

Wilson claims that Pursuit Dynamic's fluid handling technology can contribute to a plant's overall strategy to achieve energy efficiency. "With our product, a processor can cook and pasteurise products at a lower temperature - at 70 degrees rather than at 85 degrees,"​ she said. "The whole process can be carried out in five minutes rather than one hour. When you think that a sauce plant operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you can see that this adds up to substantial energy savings."

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