High yield and capacity, together with proficient and fast cutting equipment are some of the main criteria frozen food processors take into consideration, when choosing this type of machines. Today’s market for cutting equipment is highly competitive and there are many options to choose from.
By Dan Orehov
Cutting machines are the core of every processing line. They transform the product in the final cut size and shape. While the customer mainly notices the cut quality and consistency, cutting equipment manufacturers help frozen vegetable processors by optimizing their production time and minimizing the amount of wear parts in order to reduce the risk of downtime of the machine. In a sector where, because of the use of seasonal products, the yearly revenues all depend on a limited amount of production time, companies depend on the reliability and quality that our cutting machines offer without making any compromises in capacity and yield.
Reliability setting the industry standards
When it comes to choosing from the wide array of cutting machines, a lot of variables are in play. Cut quality, reliability day after day, durability, cost of ownership and availability of spare parts and service are obviously paramount. But manufacturers also believe that companies are looking to choose a good, reliable partner. And by that, they mean someone who knows their concerns and struggles, someone who regularly makes innovations available worldwide to address the key needs in the market. A supplier has to truly understand the product, the variables and the best way to cut it and also how important it is to offer high quality precision cutting machines. But operator safety and choice of the right blades, can also not be ignored.
“Cutting equipment for frozen foodstuffs is a very important part of our business. We would consider fresh cut vegetables as our largest sector. Those fresh cut products then can go into a can, be frozen, or stay as fresh products in the produce aisles of a grocery store. Cutting French fries that go to McDonalds, and other restaurants, or the frozen aisle of a grocery store is large for Urschel, as well diced or strip cut meats for ‘ready meals’ and soups, etc.,” explains Mike Jacko, VP of Applications & New Product Innovation.
Urschel makes food size reduction equipment for processors across the food industry. Their slicers and dicers do not typically cut products directly in their frozen state but the fresh vegetables, potatoes for French fries, fresh or cooked and/or tempered meats, soups, ready meals, and other products that get frozen after size reduction are commonly cut on Urschel equipment. Precision cutting at high capacities plays a key role in a processing line. Cut consistency affects other factors down the line, such as keeping flash-freezing times constant.
“Urschel does not make true custom equipment. We have had machines to cut most existing products for years. The actual cutting principles are developed by Urschel, and new methods are constantly evolving through our talented Engineering Department. We work with customers in relation to different feeding methods, product exiting methods, and similar variables to meet specific needs within various food processing lines. This may require what we call a ‘certified print process’ whereby our engineers begin with a drawing and Urschel manufactures additional components which is pretty amazing in itself – to be able to make a drawing and manufacture additional parts under one roof. This process is quoted on an individual basis and can become quite costly, but many processors value this service and find it offers efficiencies within their production lines,” adds Mike Jacko.
You can find the full article on this topic in the September-October print issue of Frozen Food Europe.