Food processing equipment is an umbrella term referring to the components, processing machines, and systems used to handle, prepare, cook, store, and package food and food products. Although this equipment is primarily aimed toward the transformation—i.e., increasing the palatability, consumability, and digestibility—or preservation—i.e., extending the shelf life—of food, some pieces of equipment are also employed to perform preliminary or auxiliary functions, such as handling, preparation, and packaging.
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Employed for food and food product applications ranging from bakery goods to beverages and dairy to produce, a wide range of food processing equipment is available to execute the various unit operations necessary during a complete production cycle, such as washing, separating, mixing, baking, freezing, and sealing. Depending on the demands of the operation (and the overarching food processing application), this equipment can be designed and constructed to handle solid, semi-solid, or liquid food products by batch or continuously. Some of the other design considerations include the food grade material used for construction, hygienic and governmental standards, sizing, cost, and integration of automation or analytical components. Each of these characteristics can influence the performance and efficiency of the equipment, but choosing the optimal design and construction is dependent on the specifications and requirements of the particular food processing application.
This article focuses on food processing equipment, exploring the types available, and providing examples of each. Additionally, it outlines some of the considerations for designing and choosing equipment for a food processing application.
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