Conventional depositors – which ‘squeeze’ out foods such as mashed potato or mayonnaise onto products as they travel down production lines – are typically based on a rotary valve and piston that pushes food down a chamber, said Pete Moores, head of sales and marketing at technology transfer consultancy Food Processing Faraday
As the mechanism comes into direct contact with the food, it has to be stripped down and cleaned at the end of each production run or shift, which is time consuming and does not enable rapid changes between products, said Moores, who was speaking to FoodManufacture.co.uk at the Food and Drink Innovation Network’s Open Innovation conference in Daventry last week.
The technology had “not really changed much in 50 years”, he added.
By contrast, a new hygienic quick-change depositor developed by Faraday and manufactured by Sapcote Engineering, was instead based on persistalsis, the mechanism by which the oesophagus pushes food down into the stomach through muscular contractions, he said.
“It’s just a flexible tube and hopper you can remove and replace with clean ones every time you want to do a changeover rather than doing a complete strip-down."
If the trials go well, Sapcote could manufacture it on a large scale, he said.