The Stein PRoGRILL offers efficient heat transfer for full cooking or simply browning up to three times faster than conventional cooking, said the firm.
It features an automatic tracking system to maintain optimum belt position and minimise belt wear, while hygienic design provides easy cleaning and efficient processing.
Bobby White, project manager for JBT FoodTech, told FoodProductionDaily.com that they had hoped to develop the machine for a few years but were able to dedicate a team to it at the end of last year to give it some focus.
“It’s a very versatile piece of equipment because it can handle not only your protein based products such as burgers and chicken pieces but also things like vegetables, bread, pancakes and can even do some egg-based products as well.”
The contact cooker is versatile that can be adapted in the field quickly, he explained.
“For example, we have two belts here, the top belt is adjustable so we can change the gap between the two belts, so you can go down as thin as bacon or you can go up to 200mm deep.
“That can all be driven from a recipe on the PLC or it can be a manual configuration that you can punch into the program and it will set the gap as you dictate.”
Capacity and design
The machine on show, which was the second smallest, could do about 350kg an hour of fully cooked hamburgers but factors including product type, the module content, the finish and desired effect on the product will dictate the size needed.
It is designed so that if a customer buys a particular model and then decides they want additional capacity, they can unbolt a section and add a module to increase the length and capacity.
“The belt which is heated up by, in this particular model, with electrical elements, that heat is directly into the Teflon belt which is then in contact with product.
“So you are basically cooking the product from both sides and because you have that conductive effect it is very efficient, that heat goes straight into the product,” said White.
“If you compare that to a gas-fired oven a lot of the energy is lost energy through your exhaust stack, we don’t have that here so most of the energy goes into the product which makes it very much cost effective from a running point of view.”
The Teflon belts are consumable, lasting a week to 2-3 months, but the upside is less energy losses through the efficiency of the machine.
White added that one of the machines key features that they have concentrated on is a stainless steel heating pad.
“We spent quite a bit of time and effort to design something that is user-friendly, that is very hygienic and to meet the standards that Europe dictates as far as health and safety are concerned and clean ability we spent a lot of effort to design those features into the machine.
“It is a very open frame so you can get access to all the surfaces and clean it down, you’ll struggle to find any flat surfaces on the machine so nothing lies on it or sticks on it, it’s all slippery surfaces which helps to remove any crumbs or debris that lie on those surfaces.”
He added that they also have an inbuilt washing system for the Teflon belts and the bottom belt has heating tanks so they can generate hot water to help aid the cleaning process.
This means the belt is cleaned while the machine is running so it is clean by the time it comes back around to the in-feed side of the machine, white explained.