RFHIC, a leader in designing and manufacturing GaN RF & MW components for telecom, defense, and RF energy sectors, assisted a major food research facility to thermally process better quality “ready-to-eat” meals using their GaN microwave technology. The customer developed a new and improved method of thermally processing the “ready-to-eat” meals using the RIU093K0-40TG microwave generator.
RFHIC provided the RIU093K0-40TG microwave generator solution to the customer, which operates from 900 to 930 MHz with a max output power of 3kW. The RIU093K0-40TG is a remote type of microwave generator consisting of a separate SSPA head, a 380 VAC power supply unit, a control module, and RF cables. The remote type of architecture allows for greater system flexibility and simplified system integration.
To meet the customer’s needs, RFHIC designed a compact and portable microwave generator solution equipped with an internal waveguide allowing the customer to connect the generator to a horn antenna inside the chamber. This allowed the elimination of bulky and expensive waveguides from the entire system, saving cost and floor space. The generator was also able to cut processing time by over 50% compared to conventional processing and produce higher-quality foods in flavor, texture, color, and nutrients.
915 MHz was chosen due to its deeper penetration capabilities allowing it to cook the food more uniformly. Due to the delicate nature of the product and process, the customer required a single-mode cavity to produce a more stable heating pattern.
With the transition over to a microwave solution, clients could optimize the quality of their end products while significantly lowering costs.
- The solution was able to reduce processing times from 1-1.5 hours to 30-45 min.
- The solution provided a much stable and uniform heating pattern due to its controllable digital features, allowing customers the flexibility to control and monitor the real-time status of the generator system via Windows GUI.
- The solution’s longer lifetime was able to eliminate frequent downtime and maintenance, eliminating significant costs.
- The solution paved the way for a more automated processing line resulting in faster, cost effective, and consistent products.
Heating is known to be one of the most effective means of killing spoilage and pathogenic micro-organisms to extend the shelf life of foods. Today, “ready to eat” shelf-stable foods are generally packaged in an oxygen-free environment to eliminate chemical reactions from occurring, thus stopping, or prolonging the food’s shelf stability.
The traditional thermal process for packaged foods generally uses a retort system, which utilizes pressurized steam at high temperatures to eliminate spoilage and viral pathogens. However, this usually takes several hours and tends to overcook the product – resulting in loss of flavor, texture, color, and nutrients from the food.
Click here to learn more about the RIU093K0-40TG microwave generator.