Ready Foods keep their cool thanks to viscous solution from HRS

June 18, 2019 Categories: Food - Opinion Piece

Ready Foods, a US manufacturer of soups and sauces, has cut the time it takes to chill one of its core products by a third, thanks to a turnkey cooling system from HRS Heat Exchangers that is ideal for viscous materials.

After receiving a large order for one of its meat marinades from a leading chain of quick-service Mexican restaurants, Denver-based Ready Foods needed to increase capacity. The existing process of kettle cooking and steaming the marinade, then chilling it in 5lb pouches in a water cooling system for three hours, would not meet the customer’s increased demand for 2,000lb totes. So, Marco Antonio Abarca, President and Owner of Ready Foods, and Greg Hefter, Plant Engineer, sought an alternative solution to decrease the length of time it took to cool the marinade from 200˚F to 38˚F and increase production levels.

Most of the equipment suppliers were accustomed to dealing with much larger firms than ours; their proposals were totally unsuitable for our size of operation,” admits Marco.

Some recommended systems which required a large footprint or a 20ft ceiling height; others could only supply one or two parts of the solution and expected us to source the rest and integrate it ourselves; while some showed us systems which were far too complex and sophisticated for our operatives to use,” adds Greg.

Only HRS Heat Exchangers was able to meet every one of Ready Foods’ requirements. But although the original purchase order was issued in July 2017, Ready Foods’ client then changed the brief, opting for a thicker product and altering the cooling medium. HRS quickly put together a revised design and the new PO was approved in September 2017.

HRS’ turnkey solution for Ready Foods comprises a transfer pump to move the product from the cook kettles into the balance tank; a balance tank to receive and mix both recycled and new incoming product; a BP-6 hydraulic pump to push product through the system; a pre-cooler, consisting of 10 AS Series triple-tubes as the pre-cooling exchanger; the final cooler, comprising two Unicus scraped surface heat exchangers; and finally, a three-way valve which sends product into the filler tank or back to the balance tank. HRS also supplied auxiliary equipment, including a cleaning-in-place (CIP) system and a steam-powered hot water set.

The cooling system was commissioned in September 2018 and has been operating successfully ever since. “It used to take us three hours to chill the marinade, but we are now able to cool it in just one hour. We’ve been able to keep up with our client’s new, increased demand, even at peak times. On a five-day-a-week basis, we can hit 200,000lbs,” says Marco.

I’m surprised by how smoothly this project has gone,” enthuses Marco. “The cooling system allows a medium-sized company such as ourselves to compete with larger firms. This is 21st century, advanced technology and is the standard we now expect for everything we do. The HRS cooling system has set the bar for us.”

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