Mass-Producing the Perfect Roast Potatoes
Date Published: August 22, 2012
6-Channel Oven Temperature Data Logger
CAS DataLoggers recently supplied the oven datalogging solution for a food supplier conducting a process monitoring and testing exercise to assist in the development of a quality assurance procedure to produce crisp roast potatoes. The supplier had already sourced the perfect potatoes from a company specializing in producing top-quality products that were traditionally cut, fully cooked and then quick-frozen. The customer now had to process these potatoes so that they were consistent in both presentation and cooking time, but this first required a significant amount of research to establish exactly what was happening inside the factory’s industrial ovens. To accomplish this, supervisors undertook a series of oven temperature profiling exercises in order to measure oven performance and see if the potatoes had reached the correct core temperatures during the process while also checking the ambient air temperatures around the oven. Also, due to the way the ovens were loaded, there was a complex movement of the hot air inside resulting in both high and low spots. To undertake this quantitative analysis of their process, a cost-effective solution was required for a more detailed analysis.
CAS DataLoggers supplied the factory’s project with the Grant OMK610 Oven Temperature Profile Datalogger. This compact device was then placed into an enhanced stainless steel thermal barrier protecting the datalogger against temperatures up to 250°C (482°F) for as long as 50 minutes so that it could go into the oven along with the potatoes. In this way, users could monitor the temperature from up to 6 different points from any combination of air, tray or potato temperatures using the kit’s optional fast-response and high-accuracy probes with models capable of taking the necessary surface and air temperature measurements.
Storing up to 250,000 temperature readings, the compact battery-operated data logger connected with many different types of Type-K thermocouples, supporting sample rates of up to 8 samples/second and including a USB communication cable to communicate with a PC for setup and download of stored data.
Additionally, the Grant oven datalogger kit included FREE user-friendly software, a spreadsheet-style package allowing easy setup and automatic data download. The software also gave users graphic analysis of historical and online data along with advanced reporting. Users could easily view and control the datalogger status from a single screen and save all settings for reuse, while a security function protected all data and setup configurations. Users also built a database containing data exported into Excel™ or as a CSV file for customizable data analysis.
Following installation of the Grant Oven Data Logger Kit, the factory’s production team was able to collect and analyze the temperature data at high accuracy. Users were now able to experiment with different strategically placed baffles that redirected the airflow and to try out different layout and loading of the potatoes on the trays, helping to improve product quality. After each change the temperature was logged and the data downloaded onto a PC for detailed analysis using the included software. Once the process had been optimized by configuring oven temperature vs. air flow vs. potato location, production of the perfect roast potatoes went into full swing. To maintain the right consistency, users carried out periodic checks with the oven datalogger to ensure that the quality control and batch to batch productivity were maintained.
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