Only a fool would buy a new car without going for a test drive, and food processors now find themselves adopting a similar approach when it comes to purchasing equipment for their facilities. No longer content to simply sign off on the delivery of large ovens and chillers at their docks before trying to adapt the machinery to their particular processes, plant managers have sought a means to ensure, in advance, that such equipment is optimally suited for their operations.
You Might Also Like
Explore this issueOctober/November 2009
With equipment manufacturers now offering fully equipped kitchens that allow food producers to “kick the tires” on new equipment by visiting the manufacturers with their product in tow, better results in terms of yield and quality are now becoming the norm.
The most complete examples of these kitchens allow food processors to test various cooking and freezing options and to optimize both the equipment and the process before putting down a penny. Some manufacturers even go so far as to bring in design engineers to modify the equipment, further customizing it to improve the customer’s process.
In effect, this new direction allows processors to perfect their products—be they cooked or frozen, vegetable or meat—in the showroom so that no surprises pop up on the production floor.
From a Model T to a Lincoln
Henry Ford said, “You can have any color you want, as long as it’s black.” That’s not too much of a stretch from the old paradigm of purchasing food-processing machinery, when processors had to purchase off the shelf. In such instances, equipment capabilities often dictated the cooking and freezing processes, resulting in less than optimal taste and quality for the sake of the high volumes that only automated machinery can deliver.