The new involute blades, with saw-tooth edge, improve slicing quality without the need for crust freezing. (Photo: GEA)
The new involute blades, with saw-tooth edge, improve slicing quality without the need for crust freezing. (Photo: GEA)

With its high-performance slicers that can be integrated into fully automated slicing and packaging lines, GEA is setting benchmarks for the global food processing industry. GEA engineers have now developed a special saw-tooth edge for involute blades that guarantees high-quality slicing without the need to first crust freeze products, such as cooked sausage and ham. By saving energy costs from the very first cut, this machine upgrade delivers a direct and sustainable improvement to the process’s energy footprint.

When it comes to sliced foods, manufacturers have clear expectations. To ensure high product yield, slice quality and output must be on target. Various factors impact slicing results. The two primary causes for variation in slicing results are technical aspects and the product itself. From a technical perspective, it’s the blade, the setup parameters and machine configuration that impact slicing results. Product-related factors include the food’s consistency, the calibration and the temperature during slicing. The consistency of the food determines how the slicer is prepared for the slicing process. In addition to this setup, which includes, for instance, the pressure on the product and the log length, it is vital the product is at the optimum temperature.

Saw-tooth edge reduces cutting force

Even without crust freezing the product surface, cooked ham is sliced precisely with GEA’s new involute blades. (Photo: GEA/Rainer Retzlaff)
Even without crust freezing the product surface, cooked ham is sliced precisely with GEA’s new involute blades. (Photo: GEA/Rainer Retzlaff)

Thanks not only to advances in GEA slicing technology but also GEA’s purpose-designed blade, it is possible to slice without crust freezing. Slicing with a saw-tooth edge reduces the cutting force exerted on the product. The upshot is a “clean cut” given significantly less pressure is applied to the product in the slicing process. That means little or no crust freezing is required to form a crust on the product which prevents it from deforming during slicing. This results in savings in time and energy. At the same time, GEA’s new involute blades with saw-tooth edge reduce wastage and ensure a high proportion of on-weight portions.

Involute blade technology for high-speed slicing

The Teflon coating on GEA SlicingBlades helps prevent proteins from adhering to the blade. (Photos: GEA)
The Teflon coating on GEA SlicingBlades helps prevent proteins from adhering to the blade. (Photos: GEA)

Another benefit is that no retrofitting is required to take advantage of this slicing technology. All that is needed is to exchange the blade. GEA offers a range of involute blades in various sizes. They facilitate high slicing speeds of up to 1,500 revolutions per minute and support GEA’s idle-cut technology, which eliminates sliver slices. An involute blade is ideal for larger products because it slices through a larger log cross-section.

“From a business perspective, the advantages are clear: The new blades eliminate the need to form a hard crust on the product using an expensive and energy consuming nitrogen crust freezing process. Likewise, they slice soft, fragile products accurately and precisely. Preparation time is shortened and the slicing process itself is simplified when crust freezing the product surface is taken out of the equation,” says Norbert Brunnquell, Senior Product Manager Slicing & Loading at GEA.

GEA’s saw-tooth blade is particularly suited for use with cooked sausage and hams which are optimally sliced at temperatures ranging from -1 to +2 degrees Celsius without crust freezing. Some of the technology group’s customers are already successfully using the new saw-tooth technology and benefiting from this sustainable process optimization.

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