Q&A: In-House Lab Offers Machine Trials And Recipe Testing

Lyco Manufacturing, located in Columbus, Wis., has opened a food product development laboratory to assist clients with product recipe development and machinery trials. Food Manufacturing met with a Lyco representative to discuss what the new lab offers for food processors.

Q: Describe the new food laboratory.

A: The new facility is a 5,000 square-foot food laboratory designed for testing continuous-process blanching, cooking, pasteurizing and cooling processes of pastas, rice, vegetables and dry beans. The lab can test products with hot water or direct steam, and cool with chilled water to 33° F. It was designed to test with full-size production machines up to 72 inches or simulators.

Q: What led Lyco to develop the new lab?

A: The cooking and cooling of blanched foods has been an area of particular interest for
most food processors that incorporate pasta, rice, vegetables and dry beans into their food products. Uniformity in cooking and cooling is critical to achieve a refrigerated, frozen or canned meal that will have the desirable texture and taste when it is later reheated for consumption.

Recent developments in food industry lean-manufacturing with continuous cookers and coolers have significantly minimized cleaning changeovers on short runs, and speeded processing times on a totally automated mode without the need for manual labor. Lyco’s new lab was set up to enable clients to empirically test these new developments

Q: What services does the new product development lab offer food manufacturers?

A: The lab assists Lyco’s customers with product recipe development and machinery trials. Commercial food processors will now have access to the most advanced technology in commercial continuous-process cooking and cooling equipment to trial their recipes

Q: How much will the lab be able to assist processors with recipe development?

A: Lyco customers from Europe, Asia and North America have come to test and perfect their products, and arrive at recipes and machinery sizes for their specific applications. The test lab has proved to be immensely successful for them.

Q: What types of machinery trials are offered in the lab?

A: Trials involving continuous cookers and coolers for food processing of pastas, rice, vegetables and dry beans are offered in the lab. An example is Lyco’s Clean-Flow® blancher/cooker. This product allows for rapid changeovers and multiple production runs per day. 

Clean-Flow utilizes an accurate screw system, and provides water injection for agitation that keeps the product in uniform suspension while moving through the unit. The screw resides in a stationary wedge-wire screen that encapsulates the screw from the three to nine o’clock position. The tolerance between the screw and the screen is less than one-half a grain of rice. Thewater agitation injected through the screen keeps the product off the floor of the screen, where it is maintained in total suspension. Damage to fragile product is a fraction of one percent, even less than in a rotary drum.

Another system in Lyco’s new lab is it’s Easy-Flow®  cooler, which can provide temperature conversion times as fast as from 200° F as the product exits the cooker to 70° F within 7 seconds, to 55° F within 14 seconds, and to 40° - 50° F in 21 seconds. Longer times may be required for specific products. 

The new chiller maintains 100 percent uniform product cooling with less than one percent product damage for many products. But most critical is that food products pass through the bacterial danger zone (between 40° and 140° F) in seconds, greatly reducing the possibility of contamination.

Lyco Manufacturing, a world-leading manufacturer of commercial cooking and cooling equipment for food processors, is focused on improving its customer’s return on investment through innovative designs.  The company’s personnel have extensive experience and knowledge in the food processing industry.  Lyco’s passion is developing the best customer-aligned, innovative food processing machinery in the world.  World-class metal manufacturing lasers, precision press brakes, and robot welders enhance the quality and reduce the cost of products made in the food and fabrication divisions of the company.  Founded in 1980 by the owner and Chairman of the Board, David R. Zittel, Lyco Manufacturing is housed in a state of the art 80,000 square-foot facility located in Columbus, WI, 30 miles northeast of Madison, WI, USA. For more information contact Jon Cleveland, Marketing Manager, Lyco Manufacturing, Inc.; Phone 920-623-4152; jon.cleveland@lycomfg.com; 115 Commercial Drive, Columbus, Wisconsin 53925; www.lycomfg.com.

Interview by Lindsey Coblentz, Associate Editor