“Well, I didn’t win the Big Green Egg grill, and the tornado sirens only went off a couple of times, but none of that stopped IPPE 2013 from being one of my Top 5 favorite tradeshows I’ve ever attended in my 6-year tenure with BNP Media,” says Marina Mayer, editor-in-chief of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods, which is owned by BNP Media, Troy, Mich.

The International Poultry Expo celebrated 65 years of continuous exhibition services to the poultry industry by integrating International Feed Expo (IFE) and American Meat Institute’s (AMI) International Meat Expo (IME) into one show—the International Production & Processing Expo. At this year’s show—Jan. 29-31 in Atlanta—they exceeded their expo goals with more than 25,000 attendees and 1,189 exhibitors.

“We are extremely pleased with the number of exhibitors and attendees on the exhibit floor for IPPE,” says the three trade associations. “We have had a great turnout this year, and the energy and excitement on the floor has been apparent all week."

The central attraction was the large exhibit floor, where exhibitors presented the latest innovations in equipment, supplies and services utilized by industry firms in the production and processing of poultry, eggs, feed products and meat—from live production and processing to further processing and packaging.

An expanded education program complemented the exhibits by keeping industry management informed on the latest issues. This year’s educational lineup featured 15 programs, ranging from an antibiotic conference on current issues for the poultry and egg industry to an international feed education program to international regulatory topics for meat.

The College Student Career Program attracted more than 400 students from 26 universities throughout the United States, while the new International Student Career Program brought in 13 students from four countries. The graduating students interviewed for jobs and internships with 93 human resource representatives from 28 industry and allied firms. They were also able to visit the exhibit floor to see the most current technology used in today's meat and poultry industry.

Other featured events included a Tech XChange program, the International Poultry Scientific Forum, Meat Me in @LANTA activities, publisher-sponsored programs and the Pet Food Conference, all of which made the 2013 International Production & Processing Expo the premiere annual feed and protein event of the western hemisphere.

Here’s a rundown of some of the latest innovations in equipment, supplies and services introduced and showcased at IPPE 2013.

Diced Product Chilling System

Praxair Inc., Orangeburg, N.Y., introduced the ColdFront diced product chilling system, designed for integration with existing equipment to rapidly chill product prior to dicing or slicing, providing for a cleaner cut with less moisture loss and fewer fines. 

When processing hot, cooked food products, manufacturers often experience evaporative losses in excess of 10%. The ColdFront system reduces those evaporative losses by up to 50%, resulting in increased yield and improved product quality. In addition, the system can also be utilized to pre-chill other hot, steaming products, such as hot wings or pulled pork, prior to a mechanical freezer, resulting in improved efficiency of the freezer, reduced defrost time and reduced rework associated with soft product.

Additional benefits of the ColdFront diced product chilling system include minimal downtime requirements for installation, a small system footprint and a low capital investment as compared to traditional chilling methods.

Praxair, Inc.

Precision Magnetic Electronics 

Bunting Magnetics Co., Newton, Kan., introduced the Metal Detection 07 Electronics system, what is said to be the most advanced control system available to the food inspection industry. It includes a color touch screen and dual entry user access for additional security.

A USB interface permits simple data exchange of backup, updates and quality control logs, and automatic product learning permits storing as many as 1,000 unique products. The multiMODE feature permits operators to quickly expand a product range—from fresh to frozen, for example—and the autoTEST capability provides automatic self-testing at any time interval selected. Built-in networking provides remote monitoring and control via Ethernet, or integration into other processing equipment systems.

Bunting also displayed its complete line of metal detection and magnetic separation products designed for ensuring food safety in the food processing industries.

Bunting Magnetics Co.

High-Efficiency Tunnel Freezer

Air Products, Lehigh Valley, Pa., showcased its Freshline liquid nitrogen (LIN) tunnel freezers, which are designed to freeze and chill poultry and meat faster than mechanical freezers six times their size.

The Freshline DM tunnel freezer allows manufacturers to process both IQF (individually-quick frozen) and flat or trayed products in a single machine, while the Freshline QS tunnel freezer is an economical and easy-to-operate option for food processors who want to upgrade to continuous freezing, alleviate a bottleneck in their operation or grow and diversify their existing product line.

Air Products also unveiled its newly developed Freeze Time Calculator, where processors can enter their food type and desired start and end temperatures to see a comparison of the time required to cool or freeze using LIN vs. traditional mechanical systems. Poultry and meat processors can input the production rate and product parameters to see a similar comparison of tunnel length for a mechanical freezer vs. a cryogenic LIN freezer.

Air Products

Enhanced Order Fulfillment

PSI Engineering, Canada, announced a system designed to enhance order fulfillment throughput and optimize repeat orders profitably.

The MVP Packet Fulfillment system can induct a wide range of documents from ship labels, invoices, rebate offers and coupons, co-op marketing literature and pack slips to product samples ranging from DVDs, instruction manuals, WHMIS/MSDS to trial-sized creams and lotions into cohesive packets. Last-minute changes in customer orders or marketing collateral can be accommodated with ease as the documents or samples can be inserted into a cohesive packet and applied to the top or side of a closed case.

PSI Engineering’s systems offer uninterrupted feeding on the order fulfillment line to meet same-day shipping demands during peak order periods.

PSI Engineering

High-Velocity Freezer

York, Pa.-based GEA Refrigeration Technologies introduced the HVF-Freezer (high-velocity freezer), a new Impingement freezer that applies to freezing of hamburgers and other flat products, as well as for crust freezing or set freezing of various food products.

This new HVF freezer uses uniquely designed high-velocity air jets to quickly reduce the outer layer temperature of food by breaking the insulating boundary layer, allowing the surface to be frozen very quickly. This effect allows the product to freeze faster than in conventional freezers, thus minimizing dehydration losses.

Other benefits include higher quality food products as the result of less cellular damage, improved capacity with more than 10-15% than existing impingement freezers, higher yield, longer shelf life of food and faster freezing time.

GEA Refrigeration North America, Inc.

Cryogenic Freezing, Chilling Technology

Recent advances in cryogenic freezing/chilling technology from Linde North America, Murray Hill, N.J., make it possible to quickly add a long-term improvement to meat and poultry operations. That’s why Linde showcased state-of-the-art solutions that can boost yield and processing line throughput.

Cryoline CW Cryowave IQF freezer (pictured) is a patented rolling-wave action and high-efficiency design that provides significant cost savings vs. flighted freezers, eliminating CO2 snow carryover and improving cleanability. It is ideal for sliced and diced poultry and beef, pizza toppings, diced ham, pepperoni, hamburger or sausage crumble, tortellini and other pastas.

Cryoline XF Crossflow Spiral Freezer is a high-efficiency hygienic design that greatly improves the heat transfer rate of standard spiral freezers, thereby reducing freezing costs and typically boosting throughput by 10% or more. It offers capacity to 20,000 pounds per hour, and is ideal for freezing/crust freezing red meat, poultry, seafood, prepared meals and trayed or boxed products.

The Nitrogen impingement freezer is a versatile freezer that is said to offer the highest freezing capacity per square foot of floor space in the industry. It can reduce dehydration losses by two or three times vs. conventional cryogenic freezers, thus increasing yield. It is ideal for chicken fillets, beef patties and nearly all frozen products.

ACCU-CHILL Combo Chiller replaces the manual handling and spreading of meat and carbon dioxide pellets in combo bins with an automated chilling system. Patented technology precisely delivers CO2 for consistent chilling and rapid equilibration.

Plus, the Linde food team performs in-plant assessments and works with processors to develop optimal process solutions.

Linde North America Inc.

Tray Sealers, Spiral Ovens, Checkweighers, Metal Detectors, X-Ray Inspection Equipment

Heat and Control, Hayward, Calif., showcased a handful of new products.

For instance, high-speed hygienic sealing of almost any shape or size tray is now possible using Ishida's latest generation of QX-1100 tray sealers (pictured). Split dual-lane models take 50% less floor space than two single-lane machines and deliver up to 15 cycles per minute with modified atmosphere packaging. Each lane can operate independently with different trays and speeds. High-capacity single and twin lane tray sealers also require minimal space. Ishida’s Intelligent Machine Design cuts the time required for set-up, changeover and sanitation. Operators can easily change trays, film and sealing tools using automatic and quick-release features. Self-draining curved surfaces, the absence of exposed cables and motors and no-tools removal of belts and conveyors allow fast, comprehensive washdowns.

True two-zone uniform cooking in new Twin Drum Spiral Oven ensures balanced air flow around the entire spiral conveyor. This means, instead of housing both spiral drums in a single rectangular box, separate cylindrical enclosures are used for each drum. An air circulation fan is centered atop each enclosure and surrounded by heat transfer coils. Heated moist air flows uniformly in a 360 pattern across the conveyor, providing consistent temperature across the belt width and from top to bottom. Separate drum enclosures also provide truly independent two-zone cooking control.

Ishida IX-GA Series X-ray inspection systems can be used to check product integrity, package quality and weight accuracy, identify and reject packages with broken or missing product pieces and detect product caught in packaging seals. Even verify that your product’s weight and size meet specifications. Ishida X-ray system setup is automatic and requires no routine calibration. Machine warm-up takes only 90 seconds for quick production start-ups. Constructed of HACCP-certified stainless-steel, this waterproof conveyor is designed to IP66 and is easily removed without using tools.

To compensate for product effects without reducing detection sensitivity, CEIA MS21 metal detectors simultaneously use a broad spectrum of inspection frequencies to achieve what is said to be the industry’s highest sensitivity to all metal contaminants. Unlike 3-frequency detectors, which inspect using one frequency at a time, the MS21 uses patent-pending multi-spectrum technology to accurately identify the difference between a metal particle and a specific product effect. CEIA multi-spectrum detectors automatically learn and track product effect conditions. And, the CEIA’s Auto-Learn system selects, displays and stores the optimal sensitivity settings for up to 500 products. A single-button preview of detection settings, including the range of frequencies used, sensitivity level, metal type and particle size, also helps reduce detection errors. Standard features include an IP69K rating for superior high-pressure, high-temperature washdown protection, stainless-steel case and keyboard with conformal-coated circuit boards for superior moisture resistance and durability, Bluetooth connectivity for programming and data collection without physically accessing the detector’s interior, Ethernet connection capability, username/password access for up to 40 users and compliance with HACCP and FDA Title 21 CFR 11 for traceable inspection event recording and reporting.

Also new to the Heat and Control lineup are waterproof weighers. Adding ‘V’ for value, the new RV weighers feature automatic set-up, self-draining surfaces, ultra-fast electronics and wireless operation for net-weighing dry, fresh and frozen foods. The sloped main body and radial feeder cover are self-draining to improve sanitary operation and reduce cleaning time. The Auto Setup feature speeds changeovers, reduces operator error and automatically recommends the optimal operating settings based on only five key product and performance parameters. Wireless access is available for Android tablet computers and Smartphones. Plus, these weighers transmit data 300% faster, providing instant response to control inputs. Enhanced automatic filters and controls provide optimal product feeding and external vibration control for the most accurate weighing. RV weighers are built for a green future. Three energy-efficient power modes reduce hopper drive amperage by as much as 50%. Manufactured to comply with Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) guidelines, RV weighers use no mercury, cadnium, hexavalent chromium or other toxic substances, all circuit boards have a lead-free finish and all seals and gaskets are made with FDA-approved materials to promote food safety.

Lastly, refrigerated and frozen food processors can accurately mix multiple poultry, vegetable, meat, frozen food and other ingredients, apply seasonings and maintain the blend all the way to packaging using the FastBack Blending Conveyor. Load cells precisely measure the delivery of each ingredient to maintain a blend accuracy of better than 1.5% per constituent, depending on the product. Gentle FastBack horizontal motion conveying prevents separation of blended ingredients and reduces product breakage up to 60% compared to vibratory conveyors. It also reduces coating loss, buildups in the conveyor pan and unscheduled cleaning downtime. Menu-driven recipe selection facilitates fast changeovers and promotes consistent blend quality. Modular design permits easy expansion and flexibility.

Heat and Control, Inc.

Waterjet Portioning System

JBT FoodTech, Sandusky, Ohio, unveiled the DSI 800 Series Portioner, a new waterjet portioning system that offers versatility and ease of use, plus the highest yield and throughput in a compact space.

This new design represents the latest technology in scanning, computing and servo equipment, providing protein processors with more throughput in a 40% smaller footprint, which allows more room for efficient material handling upstream, improved options for pack-out downstream and more capacity in existing factory space.

Whether working with meat, poultry or fish, the DSI 800 offers flexibility and quick changeover to address the differing needs of a variety of products on any given day. The system’s modular and expandable design provides the ability to add or subtract cutters as product needs change. Each system is delivered with two, four, six or eight moving cutters, and optional stationary cutters.

One key benefit of the DSI 800 is its industry-leading DSI Q-LINK Portioning Software. The latest version optimizes placement and shape of your portions to achieve the highest yield with unmatched quality, random loading of input product to decrease labor requirements and smaller gaps between input products, thereby increasing throughput. Recent software advancements enable cutting strategies for poultry applications that now include portions plus nuggets, four portions per butterfly and a fat-free retail pack. The DSI Q-LINK Data Center provides desktop or Smartphone access to current and historical raw material and DSI production data, delivering real-time feedback and enhancing process improvement efforts.

The DSI 800 offers an ideal system for high-volume portions, high-accuracy intense cuts and effortless fat trimming—all in one. The DSI 800 also can be integrated with JBT FoodTech's patented DSI Adaptive 3D Portioning System to achieve double-digit yield improvement over competing alternatives by combining intelligent horizontal slicing with vertical or angled waterjet portioning.

JBT FoodTech

Reciprocating Condensing Unit

Emerson Climate Technologies, Inc., a Sidney, Ohio-based business of Emerson, introduced the Copeland Scroll condensing unit, FFAP Series, which delivers an improved energy efficiency rating of up to 15% when compared to standard reciprocating condensing units.

The FFAP Series utilizes the new Copeland Scroll ZSKA refrigeration compressor (1.5-5 hp) and is compatible with a variety of refrigerants, including R-404A, R-134a, R-407C and R-22. It also has a wide operating range (from -30°F to 45°F evaporator temperature), which allows it to be used with applications ranging from floral shops to convenience stores to other retail establishments and enables fewer SKUs to be stocked and serviced.

The FFAP series condensing unit also features Emerson’s Electronic Unit Controller, which simplifies commercial refrigeration system operation while increasing system accuracy, protection and capabilities. The Emerson Electronic Unit Controller improves condensing unit reliability, service and diagnostics by utilizing a more advanced and precise electronic control system instead of the traditional mechanical control.

Emerson Climate Technologies, Inc.

Tri-Gas Blender for Modified Atmosphere Packaging of Meat

Airgas, Inc., Radnor, Pa., and its food and beverage group created a solution for meat processing with Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP).

The Airgas Tri-Gas Blender blends three gases with reliability, high levels of repeatability and gas purity validation required by the meat industry. When coupled with a properly developed gas supply system, provides the right balance of meat preservation and an attractive appearance for maximum shelf life.

Airgas, Inc.

Foil Trays for Ready-to-Heat, Ready-to-Cook

Nicholl Food Packaging, Buffalo Grove, Ill., developed SKINFoil trays, which feature a special film that seals to all surfaces of the tray—rim, sidewalls and base—thereby tightly covering the entire contents. They can be used with Nicholl’s Smoothwall foil trays from 1.2-3.4 inches in depth, and are suitable for a wide variety of food products such as ready-to-cook meats, poultry, pork, seafood and sausage. Key benefits include pack minimization, reduced food wastage, no leaking, product protection and enhanced product presentation.

The SKINFoil trays offer a typical shelf life of up to 30 days for refrigerated fresh meat and poultry. Because there is no gas headspace required, shallower trays can be used, thus minimizing pack requirements. Smaller pack sizes also offer environmental benefits in terms of lower weight and reduced handling and transportation costs, while the extended shelf life minimizes product waste both in-store and in the home.

The all-surface coverage prevents leaking and ensures all food items, including garnishes, are held securely in place, maintaining an appealing presentation at all times, especially for convenience meals. Trays can also be displayed vertically if required to optimize shelf fill or product visibility. In addition, the fixed placement of the product helps to maximize product protection during transit and on-shelf, and the film can prevent freezer burn.

The flexibility of the SKINFoil film means it is able to accommodate variable product dimensions or quantities, with the skin packaging being adjusted for different product shapes. SKINfoil is also suitable for mini joints, which protrude slightly above the rim of the tray. The film offers complete cooking flexibility and does not soften in the oven or under the grill.

A top lidding film, sleeve or band can be added to enable the trays to be stacked effectively. Both the skin and top lidding film are easily peeled in one simple action. For extra versatility, a sachet of sauce or promotional card can be inserted into the space between the skinpack top lid film or paper sleeve. The sauce sachet need never come in contact with uncooked meat or food.

Nicholl Food Packaging

Stretcho-Shrink Films for Poultry

Sealed Air Corp., Elmwood Park, N.J., showcased its stretch-shrink films for poultry.

Sold under the Cryovac brand, these multi-layer films remain a market leader in stretch-shrink tray packaging for bone-in and boneless cut poultry products. Multi-layer SSD and SES films enable a tighter and more effective seal and a cleaner looking package and use 30% less film than previous bunch-and-fold solutions. Cryovac SES film also delivers the ability for processors to get more impressions per roll and allows printing on the bottom of the tray—now a popular location for nutritional information, recipes and cooking/serving suggestions. The films are available in Cryovac SSD films—which operate with tuck-and-fold sealing systems—and Cryovac SES films—which work with impulse seal and hotbar end-seal equipment. Each offers premium sealing performance and durability.

Sealed Air Corp.

HPP Solutions

At Avure Technologies’ booth, the Franklin, Tenn.-based provider of high-pressure processing (HPP) solutions attendees munched on burgers made on HPP equipment, accompanied by chips, fruit and drinks.

Meanwhile, Nick DePinto, business development manager, spoke of the different intricacies involving HPP equipment. For example, ground chicken made on HPP machinery delivers no drip loss and better texture.

“The goal is minimize the organaliptics,” says DePinto. “We’re taking steps to commercialize the product by looking at color, texture and odor.”

Avure Technologies