FMC FoodTech claims its Stein GCO II GyroCompact spiral oven provides a more efficient alternative for bacon processors using conventional microwave ovens. "For both fully and partially cooked bacon products, the GCO II oven offers better steam containment and superior temperature control across the belt width to deliver a more consistent, better-quality product," the company claimed. The oven is capable of running faster and carrying more load, resulting in increased throughput of 30 percent to 40 percent, depending on the products, FMC claimed. The GCO II spiral oven also has a smaller footprint than a conventional microwave one, while still providing high production volume, FMC stated. "It has a lower overall energy and operating cost than a conventional microwave, with greater advantages at high volumes of production," the company stated. "The GCO II also offers the opportunity to add future capacity within the same footprint." For bacon processors average yield is the primary measurement - not temperature - of production efficiency, stated Ramesh Gunawardena, FMC's manager of technology and process development. "Therefore, though some product quality differences are apparent with conventional microwave processing across the belt width, the overall results are judged to be adequate," he stated. With the GCO II the cross-belt temperature control allows production at a lower standard deviation, producing more consistent and better overall product quality, he claimed. FMC re-engineered the drive system in the GCO II oven and claims it now has an expected lifetime of three years before requiring a rebuild. The redesign can result in a reduction of up to 30 per cent in annual maintenance savings, the company claimed. The GCO II oven is designed to provide two distinct cooking processes. The two-part processe provides a more uniform and consistent product quality across the belt width, the company claimed. The initial phase of the process uses steam condensation, followed by convection of a superheated steam-air mixture to quickly cook the bacon. "By providing the right mode of heat transfer at the right time in the cooking process, multi-phase cooking delivers moist, tender bacon products that are pleasing in taste and appearance," the company claimed.