Mixum: Making The Switch From Batch To Continuous Cooking And Cooling Of Pasta

Friday, July 27th, 2018 | 989 Views

Mixum, AB, the largest producer of cooked pasta in Sweden, provides pasta-based salads to almost 3,000 Picadeli locations throughout Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany and France. Its success is largely due to meticulous attention to product quality, food safety and streamlined manufacturing initiatives.

One of those systems installed into Mixum’s newly-built facility was a line of continuous-process blanching and cooling equipment for pasta, replacing a batch processing system used for over a decade.

“After reviewing many process options, we decided on a continuous-process Clean-Flow XT blancher and a continuous-process Easy-Flow cooler, both from Lyco Manufacturing,” says Franzen.

The Clean-Flow XT blancher addresses Mixum’s need for more consistent pasta quality, faster clean-up and changeovers.  The blancher utilizes a 40”-diameter auger with flights to move the pasta through water, fully submerged, from input to output.

Equipped with Hydro-Flow agitation—a Lyco development—it enables a more uniform cooking and cooling process.  Under- and over-cooking is eliminated, and losses from sticking and clumping are also eliminated.

What would normally take several hours for thorough sanitary cleaning, can now be done in 30 minutes—not only significantly reducing clean-up labour hours, it permits flexibility for more frequent changeovers to accommodate shorter production runs.

A clean-in-place system utilising spray manifolds cleans over 98 percent of the machine by itself.

Traditionally, pasta products take 12 minutes to cook, but to cool the pasta to 4.4°C takes 5-10 minutes. Mixum’s Easy-Flow cooler receives the 82°C–93°C pasta, and chills it to 4.4°C or less in under 30 seconds. It chills any of Mixum’s particulate pasta shapes.

Automatically controlling pasta cooking and cooling has completely out-performed the batch method used formerly by Mixum.

“Before, we were running about 650 pounds of pasta per hour. With Clean-Flow XT and Easy-Flow we are processing about 2,200 pounds per hour.  This is about 85 percent maximum capacity of the machines.” explains Franzen.