Exciting times with pet food technology
Did you know that world pet markets are growing at a dramatic 4.4% rate annually, with many countries seeing higher than ever pet ownership and spending? (Source: American Pet Products Association).
This is one of many reasons that NOW is the perfect time for pet food companies to be at the forefront with their food processing technology.
When a pet food manufacturer came to us with a challenging expansion project, we knew we had the solution.
The RotaTherm® food processing equipment streamlines the production process, increases yield and improves product quality.
In this pet food case study, we tell you how we overcame challenges to install a RotaTherm® system that radically improved our customer’s business.
This particular customer already had semi-continuous pet food processing equipment onsite; a system whereby different ingredients were added in three different stages, each stage requiring extensive manual cleaning using water and chemicals, resulting in large amounts of effluent each week, not to mention a LOT of man-power. Why have three stages, when you can have just one that actually does a better job?
The aim was to increase productivity to manufacture 12,000 kg of pet food per hour, reduce processing time, and improve the quality and consistency of their products.
Due to the RotaTherm’s flexible and controllable processing conditions, all ingredients – including vegetables, rice and meat particles – could be added to the upfront blend and maintain their shape and texture to achieve a fresh look after cooking. This rapid and thorough heating process also creates great protein binding and requires less gum and binding agents, whilst the buffering includes agitation to keep the particles evenly distributed through the product when sent to the ‘chub’ fillers.
Trial pet food made on the RotaTherm® for the customer
All of the components - blending, cooking and filling - are integrated into one continuous system. Which is exactly what our customer needed.
12,000 kg/h production RotaTherm® continuous cooker & cooling skid
A matter of timing
We were right on track to meet the RotaTherm® delivery date based on the customer’s short installation window of time. FAT (factory acceptance testing) had cleared all hurdles, and so the equipment was transported up to the customer, located in Queensland – around 2,000 km from our location in Melbourne, Victoria.
Installation had begun, and everything was going smoothly… until COVID-19 hit. Borders were closing, all company travel came to a halt and flights were being cut back. The onsite staff were forced to return home. The complete installation was looking to be in jeopardy (not to mention the commissioning), as the customer couldn’t move the ‘window’. Time was of the essence…and it looked like we’d run into a solid wall.
An installation adventure
Back in Melbourne, our team was brainstorming ideas to find a way forward…and a road trip was born. We soon had a senior team willing to travel, permits were granted, and we knew it was the only way we could finish what we started. Now, road trips are in every Australian’s DNA, but for our Iranian and Mauritian engineers, not so much! However, they took to this adventure like a duck to water and a piece of our history was in the making.
Armed with facemasks, gloves and hand sanitiser, our intrepid team - Technical Manager, Shane Enayati and Project Engineer, Didier Henri - took to the highway. Two days (and way too many snacks) later, the guys crossed the patrolled border into Queensland, ready to report for work on our customer’s site.
Road trip map & Didier Henri with Coffs Harbour’s famous big banana (in background)
The time on site went without a hitch, and our customer’s expectations were met. The machine’s features and functionalities had been tested and was now producing their pet food. Success!
Shane Enayati with the first dog food roll ‘babies’ & ‘dressed’ in final packaging
There’s not much we won’t do to ensure that our customers are happy, even when it means taking a ~3,600 km round trip at a maximum of 110 km/h! (Our European friends are aghast at this low speed!)
Benefits of adding the RotaTherm® to their plant include –
- High standardised product quality due to the incredibly flexible processing system, with high control over processing conditions and shear levels - even for products with particulates, which delivers excellent control and quality of finished product characteristic
- Automated programs for easy use and CIP
- Significantly faster processing time, achieving the required increase to 12,000 kg/h capacity
Our very satisfied customer said:
“The RotaTherm continuous cooking process & technology has significantly shortened our processing time – improving our overall productivity exponentially – while producing consistently high quality products with good healthy chunks, just as we like it!”
Additional RotaTherm® system benefits - some unexpected to the customer
- Reduced downtime, minimised waste and streamlined cleaning. A fully automated cleaning process is performed once per week and requires minimal operator intervention, leading to a cleaner machine for each start up.
- Due to the efficient hydration process (even heating) of the RotaTherm®, special recipes can be manufactured using substantially less expensive active ingredients to create the same final product.
- At installation, the capacity was set to 13,500 kg/h (higher than prescribed) to match the unexpected higher filler speed. This increase utilised some of the ‘room to grow’ designed into the system.
- Programming changes can be performed remotely – fast and cost effective! (A further increase to 15,000 kg/h is already on the cards…)
Happy Australian dogs
But wait, there's more!
The RotaTherm® isn’t just for pet food!
RotaTherm® optimally produces a wide range of foods, including:
- Processed cheeses
- Sauces such as tomato / ketchup (with and without particles)
- Analogue, plant based and vegan
- Purees / baby / easy to swallow foods
- Meat products
- And much more…
The same opportunity is available for you
We can assure you, the RotaTherm® system will change your business for the better in a multitude of ways.
Designed and manufactured in Australia, and exported around the globe since 1988, RotaTherm® can solve your food processing issues and deliver benefits that, in turn, will help your business evolve.
We are proud to support the growing list of companies talking to us about their industrial cooking needs. Whether your company manufactures processed cheese, baby food, sauces, pet food, or any of the above-mentioned products, we’re here for you.