TEC Square (together with Artisan Industries) developed a new thermal process “Low Impact Thermal Concentration”, as an alternative to freeze concentration. This process delivers the same level of quality by comparison to freeze concentration. Moreover the process has significantly lower investment- and operational costs. This concept has been proven in the field and so far exceeds expectations for high value food products.
Low Impact Thermal Concentration
Low Impact Thermal Concentration is a newly developed concentration process with only advantages over competitive processes. Firstly the process uses a short-path Rototherm evaporator, keeping the product hold-up time very short, expressed in a couple of minutes. Secondly Low Impact Thermal Concentration uses aroma recovery and aroma separation to enhance the taste profile exactly to the customer’s requirements.
Even though the process is called a thermal process, it is hardly possible to measure the impact of temperature on the product. Foremost, the process has low operational temperatures, due to the applied vacuum. Furthermore, the technology of the evaporator design provides very quick processing conditions. As a result, the process has enormous advantages in start-up time, operational cost and flexibility. Together with a vastly reduced investment cost, this alternative to the traditional Freeze Concentration, proves to be a better or equal solution in all aspects.
Low Impact Thermal Concentration technology
The heart of the aroma recovery system is the Artisan Evaporator/Stripper™. A stripping medium (steam, nitrogen or other) removes the aromatic components from the product flowing down the stripping column in a counter-current operation. Most important in comparison to competitive designs, the stripping column is self-draining. Therefore no product accumulation, thus limited fouling, can take place inside the column. We design the size and configuration specifically for each application. The stripping operation normally takes place under atmospheric conditions, however it is possible to apply vacuum as well. This will consequently reduce the impact on quality and taste.
Next the aromatic components will be split into various fractions in a series of condensers. The design of the condensing system is very flexible. It is easy to adjust the split in aroma fractions to suit the required quality profile.
The stripped product continues to the Artisan Rototherm®-E Wiped Film Evaporator (WFE). The residence time in such an evaporator is very short (a couple of minutes). Furthermore the process is under vacuum, as such the set-point for evaporation temperature is low. This further reduces damage to the product. As a result it is possible to concentrate products with low dry matter contents, such as fruit juices and extracts, in a single pass to a very high end-concentrations. In reality end-concentrations of more than 60% are not uncommon. It is important to point out that this is possible with only minimal product losses.
In order to enhance the taste profile further, it is possible to use the recuperated aromas selectively. Consequently it is possible to discard unwanted aromas, before the final mix takes place.
For more information please refer to a dedicated section in our website on Low Impact Thermal Evaporation