Key redesigns dryer for fresh-cut processors

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Salad

A dryer that removes moisture from fresh-cut produce has been redesigned to increase throughput, improve reliability and simplify operation, claims Key Technology.

The company said that the Auto Dryer has an increased drum with a 980-mm (38.6 inch) diameter, and is available in one-, two-, and four-drum configurations. The dryer is suitable for fresh produce processors producing products such as shredded and chopped lettuce, leafy salad mix, cabbage, cut vegetables and herbs.

Key claims that the Auto Dryer is fully automated, and has uninterrupted drum loading and unloading, unlike ‘traditional’ batch dryers. Moreover, the doubling in throughput is achieved in half the floor space, said the company.

“At Key, the fresh-cut produce industry is a very important strategic market. We are reengineering existing products in our fresh-cut line to be sure they deliver the greatest value to our customers,”​ said Teri Johnson, fresh-cut industry manager at Key Technology.

“The redesigned Auto Dryer is one in a series of developments designed to maximize the quality and safety of fresh-cut products and increase automation for fresh-cut processors worldwide.”

Vital statistics

The dryer can handle between 544 and 1,088 kg per hour per drum for lightweight products, and this capacity can increase to 1,818 kg for heavier products like iceberg lettuce, said the company. Doing the sums, the four-drum model can reportedly handle up to 7,273 kg per hour.

The one-drum Auto Dryer measures 1.59 m wide by 2.24 m long. The two-drum version measures 2.17 m by 3.31 m, while the four-drum model is 2.84 m by 3.17 m. The company added that none of the models was higher than three metres.

The company spin

The dryer employs a patented spiral layering method, claimed to reduce product damage by eliminating the loading of a large mass of wet product. This spiral layering reportedly creates a consistent centrifugal pressure on the entire contents of the drum load, which results in more even drying.

Changing between fresh-cut products is simplified by the machine’s PLC that can store the parameters for each product, including spin speed, cycle time, and fill level.

The electronics have also been redesigned, said the company, with a 178 mm colour touchscreen, and Ethernet connectivity. The dryer can also be programmed to control the entire production line, claims the company, making decisions for the upstream wash system and/or downstream packaging.

Spare parts and aftermarket support are available worldwide, added the company.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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