With topics such as food safety and reduced wastage high on the industry agenda for 2018, food manufacturers need to be acting responsibly in the key areas of sustainability, product quality and cost saving.
One company looking to support the market is Cerulean, which manufactures and supplies the Celsius range of non-invasive thermometry systems to measure the average temperature of items such as frozen and chilled food-stuff, without any of the wastage factories have come to expect using traditional analogue methods.
Maintaining an optimum temperature range has always been critical for food manufacturers as the reproduction of harmful micro-organisms or the formation of toxins can occur in either cold or warm ambience. In pre-packed ready meals for example, the various blends of meats, vegetables, fish and dairy products means that any lapse in temperature control could have a major impact on product quality, freshness and fitness for purpose. If ignored, the reputational and financial implications of interruptions at the producer level could be catastrophic.
All food naturally emits tiny amounts of electromagnetic radiation, so using the Faraday cage principle, Celsius detects the radio energy from samples and converts these readings into temperature values. The process only takes a few seconds and any item can be measured between -30°C to +30°C.
The equipment has an easy to follow GUI and the operation process is quick and simple. The unit is simply set up and calibrated, sample product/packs are placed into the equipment, just like food into a microwave, and the temperature check set in motion. Results are available and delivered on a visual display panel in moments. The availability of this technology means that manufacturers can sample, test and sign off pre-packaged food without interruption to the production process and without specialist operator training. Those further along the logistics chain have a similar option open to them.
By measuring the equilibrium temperature rather than the surface or core, Celsius represents a reliable alternative to traditional probe solutions. Analogue measurements are susceptible to misinformation at probe point, for example, if a probe point sits on the meat in a sandwich it may not factor in the varying temperatures of the other ingredients. Celsius produces fast, consistent and accurate readings because the temperature measurement is all encompassing and is not reliant on the repeated application of a temperature probe.
Furthermore, the non-destructive nature of Celsius eliminates the need to remove packaging, the use of replacement probes, and has a considerable cost saving element. Sacrificial products may only make up a small percentage of a single production run but over a continuous process annually, the numbers become larger in scale and the cost savings more significant. It can only be beneficial for companies to show they are taking steps to reduce wastage too, especially considering the statistics from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) released in January 2018, showing food waste in the UK has increased by 4.4 per cent.
Factories which can optimise the chilling process will find this an efficiency which results in savings of power and therefore cost.
In addition, the Celsius Data Analysis System provides electronic traceability to product data, operator identification and production times. Utilising automation and eliminating potential issues caused though human error, readings are automatically sent to a SQL database for analysis, with no physical data trail required. This information can be displayed as a table or graph and can be exported into a range of formats and reports. The ‘C-DASS’ solution includes complete hardware and software platforms thus removing the need to install any host software components.
The latest range of Celsius instruments, Midi and Maxi, have evolved to offer larger and more responsive screens, upgraded operated platforms and improved shielding/measurement activity. Consequently, food manufacturers can rest assured they now have the capability to achieve the optimal, accurate insight needed to produce the results the market expects.