The new ImmersaFlow technology from Stock Systems, a ProMach company, focuses on the efficient management of processed water during the retort process. The system pushes this water through a specially designed silo, which grants operators the ability to control the water flow meticulously. This control optimizes the BTU transfer during both the heating and cooling phases. No more waiting for gravity to work, or the need for increased process utilities to achieve homogenous temperature profiles. This innovative technology utilizes a closed loop column of process water, channeled through a plenum and closed wall baskets. In essence, ImmersaFlow creates an immersion process within the basket.
The system uses its solid side-wall baskets to direct the channeling of water. As the process unfolds, the bottom of the system is filled with processed water. This water is then heated to a predetermined set point. Once this temperature is achieved, a pump activates, ensuring the processed water is hydraulically ported through the load. Notably, this method avoids filling either side of the machine, instead opting to port the water directly through the load. The result is an efficient heat transfer process for both heating and cooling, as the system cools and heats directly.
Outside of the basket, the retort shell is primarily empty, minimizing water usage and reducing the amount of heat required for the process.
The efficiency of the ImmersaFlow is evident in its performance metrics. In many instances, the system achieves eight-minute come-up times (CUT), and in some cases, even manages to reduce this to a range of 4 to 6 minutes with as little as a 2°F spread between the geometric center and perimeter of the load. Faster, tighter CUT to process temperature allows for more throughput, a more consistent product heating profile, and an overall reduction in energy consumption.
This efficiency is not limited to heating alone. The cooling phase employs a similar methodology, where water is directly ported through a plate and frame heat exchanger into the center of the load. This approach ensures optimal cooling conditions. The direct porting of cool water, facilitated by the plate and frame heat exchanger, results in cooling curves that are consistent and efficient. In comparison to conventional cascade retorts, the ImmersiaFlow can cool in roughly one-third of the time.
“It’s a pretty straightforward process at the end of the day,” says Rick Eleew, VP, of Business Development at Stock. “I get a lot of questions [asking]‘why hasn’t this been invented yet? It looks too simple.’ While it is a simple process, it’s different than anything that’s out there.” PW