The humble shrimp has been the mainstay of the Choice Canning Company for over 50 years. Already a leading supplier of shrimp in North America, the company expanded into the ready-to-cook meal market in 2006. It now produces twelve IQF skillet meals under the Tastee Choice® brand and distributes them to retail grocery stores throughout the eastern, midwestern and southwestern states and Canada.
Tastee Choice skillet/microwavable entrees are available in Asian, Mediterranean, and Italian blends of shrimp, chicken, vegetables, rice, noodles, and pasta with sauces such as Oriental, Marinara, and Roasted Garlic Alfredo.
Getting hungry? Tastee Choice customers sure have been. Sales have increased 80% in just the last year. "We consistently offer the consumer superior value, top quality fresh ingredients, and a satisfying eating experience," explains Junior Vice President of Operations, Nithin Poulose.
"Tastee Choice's growth has been fueled by expanding our meal kits to include chicken in addition to our shrimp meals. Some of our most popular products include Shrimp Scampi, Sesame Chicken, and Chicken Alfredo".
To meet increasing demand and to prepare for a new range of meal kits and IQF shrimp items, the company opened a new product blending and packaging plant inside a cold storage facility in Quakertown, PA.
Poulose wanted the new line to boost production capacity and overcome previous inefficiencies with individual component weights and product uniformity. So he contacted Heat and Control for solutions and a new product conveying, weigh blending, and inspection line.
"This system has considerably increased our productivity
and reduced excessive handling of the product"
- Nithin Poulose, Tastee Choice Foods
The heart of the new line is an Ishida CCW-R-224 waterproof blending weigher. Software divides the weigher's 24 heads into quadrants of six heads, for mixed vegetables, sauces, pastas/rice and protein. The four components are precisely weighed and deposited into a form-fill-seal bagmaker.
"Ishida's 24-head waterproof weigher was a natural for this project," smiles Sandy Pease, Heat and Control's regional sales manager. "It is specifically designed for very accurate four-part blending at speeds up to 60 wpm with near-zero giveaway. All product contact parts are easily removed without using tools, and its sanitary design is easy to clean." Pease notes that Heat and Control's packaging platform has built-in wash racks for the weigher's feeders and hoppers to simplify cleaning and prevent damage.
|Weigher parts wash rack simplifies cleaning
Product components are manually loaded at floor level into four FastBack 90E metering conveyors. 60° incline belt conveyors elevate product to the weigher platform and deposit it into separate 90E conveyors that feed each of the weigher's quadrants. FastBack's gentle horizontal motion protects product quality and assures consistent delivery to the weigher. The small 90E conveyors are mounted closely together and provide unrestricted access to the weigher.
After bagging, the meal kits are given a final quality control check with an Ishida DACS-G checkweigher and CEIA MS-21 metal detector. CEIA's unique Multi-SpectrumTM technology eliminates product effect false rejects common to non-homogeneous products like multicomponent meal kits, yet provides the highest detection sensitivity to all potential metal contaminants. Total throughput of the Heat and Control system is rated at 5,000 pounds/hour.
|CEIA metal detector prevents false rejects
"This system has considerably increased our productivity," says Poulose, adding that it has also reduced excessive handling of the product.
"Heat and Control had the equipment, quality, and reputation that we were looking for," says Poulose. "Their sales, project management, installation, and start-up was excellent and very professionally handled. The whole process was made very simple to understand and handled in a very efficient and thorough manner."
"We value and invest in technology to help us grow and deliver on our promise to our end user," smiles Poulose, "the customer at home, enjoying our Tastee Choice products."
Seal more trays per minute with Ishida's new QX series
Ishida now gives you three ways to hygienically seal almost any size and shape tray for meats, salads, pasta, sauces, and many other foods.
1. QX-300 Flex
Although small in size, the semi-automatic QX-300 seals up to six trays at a time. Changeovers take only five minutes. Connect pre-mixed gas or a gas mixer for modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) to seal a wide range of orders from your customers.
2. QX-775 Flex
Operating alone or in an automatic line, the QX-775 delivers high output from a small space. It can seal up to 15 cycles per minute with MAP. It handles
outside cut, inside cut, and shrink films. And it needs only 10 minutes for changeovers. More
3. QX-1100 Flex
This is the ultimate in automated tray sealing speed, flexibility, and sanitary operation. Available with one or two lanes, the QX-1100 also comes in a split dual-lane model that seals two entirely different trays at once at up to 15 cycles per minute! More
Ishida QX-775 and 1100 tray sealers feature self-draining surfaces, no-tools removal of conveyors and belts, and open framework for easy access and wash down. Individual tool heads can be turned off without stopping production if a sealing or cutting issue occurs. Ishida's unique Smart Belt software eliminates mechanical maintenance to deliver consistent tray spacing and detect wrong weight trays or debris on the belt.
And with Ishida, multi-tasking is standard: One QX-775 or 1100 can do MAP, high oxygen, skin pack, slice pack, and shrink film with quick changeovers to reduce the cost and space required by multiple dedicated machines. They can also seal up to 120 #3 trays per minute with MAP, so you can improve the seal
quality, appearance, and shelf life of products that would normally be
Batter coated french fry system
Over 35,000 finished pounds/hour of crispy batter coated french fries will be produced for fast-food lovers using our latest batter
applicator and multi-zone fryer system. The batter applicator slides aside for cleaning, or when uncoated product is run. Each of the fryer's two independent stages has three oil temperature zones for precise cooking control and rapid fines removal. The outside-return conveyor belt reduces oil volume in the fryer. Oil filters, pumps, the steam heat exchanger, and piping are pre-assembled on a compact Fryer Support Module to reduce installation and maintenance costs. The complete system and all batter-mixing, coating, cooking, and cleaning functions are controlled from one PLC touch screen.
Powerful conveyor is 40% smaller
New FastBack FDX™ Force Displacement drives are 40% smaller than comparable inertia drive horizontal motion conveyors and convey up to 2,500 pounds. This makes the FastBack FDX ideal for transfer runs up to 100 feet long, and product accumulation of up to 300 cubic feet. Like previous FastBacks, the patent-pending FDX inertia drive provides the same clean horizontal motion conveying that reduces product damage and transmitted vibration. FDX also makes economic good sense: it can be reused with different pans when line layouts change.
Common sense snack bagmaker
Why pay for bagmaking features you never use? Ishida Atlas 233 is specifically designed for potato chips and similar snacks that are packaged in the 80 to 120 bpm range. Its continuous motion single sealing jaw outperforms intermittent motion bagmakers and produces tight, wrinkle-free seals. Versatile Atlas 233 can make bag sizes from 3" to 13" wide and 5" to 28" long, and is available in stand-alone or direct-mount models with a single tube format or nested for
twin-tube applications. More
Sear and brand with one system
Enhance your food products with a just-grilled flavor and appearance. Our continuous Direct Flame Searer is available with a built-in Rotary Brander to apply custom finishes to one or both sides of your products. Burner and branding wheel positions are adjustable for precise control. And you can use the unit as a transfer conveyor when grill finishing is not needed. More
Heat recovery is a fuel-saving winner for Wyandot.
With four tortilla chip ovens operating for three shifts, five days a week, Wyandot, Inc. saw an opportunity to utilize a vast supply of energy that had been going out the exhaust stacks.
Using a partial funding grant from its state energy conservation program, the Marion, OH snack processor purchased a Heat and Control Energy Recovery Heat Exchanger for each pair of ovens. Exhaust energy now pre-heats cooking oil before it enters the heat exchangers serving Wyandot's chip fryers.
This reduces natural gas usage by about 20% - almost 20,000 MMBTUs per year - and will provide a return on investment in two years. "This system has made a significant impact on our sustainability program," notes plant manager, Jim Augur. In addition to fuel savings, CO2 emissions have been reduced by more than 2.2 million pounds per year, the equivalent of taking 208 cars off the road.
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