German based supplier of in-container tunnel pasteurisers and coolers, Niko, has been busy placing machines for pre-cooked and cooled potato products across Scandinavia and Western Europe.
Products include both whole and cut potatoes as well as potato dishes such as gratin. Cooked in pouches, with sizes ranging from 350 to 4000g, the products are targeted to both individual users and commercial kitchens.
The thermal process for cooking potatoes is dependent on the pouch size, with the pouch size determined by the filling machine. Heat is achieved either by hot water or by steam, which can be added directly, or by either plate or tubular heat exchangers. Temperature control can be maintained by a separate control cabinet or by integration into the complete line. Once cooked, the potatoes are then cooled to approximately 4 degrees Celsius. This can be achieved in two ways: pre-cooling by cooling tower water and final cooling with ice water to 1 – 2 degrees Celsius. Additionally, a blowing-off station can be installed at the end of the line.
The cooking and cooling zones are linked via a wire mesh conveyor, from which the pouches are transferred. To maintain temperature, the pouches pass through a foot bath and heat transfer from below; both zones are insulated to reduce energy loss. Belt widths are usually 3000mm and 4000mm and 45m long, although longer is possible.
The feeding of the pouches and their removal is either manual or mechanical, deending on the machine output. NIKO offers different transfer and take-off systems, including loading or unloading by robots.
Is the potential peaking your curiosity? Well, come see us at PPMA Total to find out more about what’s new for Niko! We’ll be on Stand C30 from 1 – 3 October and look forward to discussing your next project then.