Drying pasta requires signiﬁcant energy. Not only is Bühler’s Ecothermatik™ long-cut pasta dryer supremely energy-efﬁcient, it also sustains product quality and production reliability.
Making pasta involves a process of mixing ﬂour or semolina with water, working it into dough and then pressing it through a mold – creating the moist pasta which, once upon a time, might have been hung outside to dry in the wind. Today, however, we have a revolutionary machine to do this work. Launched in 2012, the Ecothermatik™ long-cut pasta dryer was the result of Bühler’s work to develop a pioneering new drying solution that would not only use signiﬁcantly less energy, but act on product quality at the same time. Now, the company is providing this innovative system in a version that can accommodate capacities between 3,500 and 5,500 kilograms per hour.
EXCELLENT ENERGY EFFICIENCY LOWER OPERATING COSTS
The machine’s key feature is its reduced energy consumption, made possible due to functions such as in-process heat recovery. The hot, humid exhaust air from inside the dryer is fed into a heat exchanger, which condenses the water and conveys the energy from the exhaust air back into the heater. This reduces thermal energy requirements by 40 percent. Not only that, but the system also needs 20 percent less cooling energy thanks to optimized air ﬂow and intelligent heat management. To top it all off, fans featuring a special blade shape more efﬁciently generate the necessary air circulation, yielding an additional 10 percent in electrical energy savings. As a result, drying a metric ton of pasta consumes just 150 kWh instead of 250 kWh – a saving that translates directly into a higher margin for manufacturers, as well as improving environmental performance.
IMPROVED QUALITY WITH MORE HUMID DRYING AIR
The equipment’s special drying process also helps product quality. Drying conditions in conventional systems bring the moisture content down rapidly, but also can create stress or tiny cracks that can lead to breakages during cooking or even packaging, particularly in the case of long-cut pasta such as spaghetti. The result is that a longer stabilization phase is required for conventional dryers in order to relieve this stress. The Ecothermatik™ uses more humid air, which means that the pasta retains its rubbery state during the entire drying process. This creates less stress, cutting down the stabilization phase by approximately 30% and preventing breakage. In addition, it’s an ideal method for cross-linking the proteins in pasta, which is key for cooking stability and bite.
NEW TRANSPORT SYSTEM FOR BETTER PRODUCTION RELIABILITY
Bühler is now offering its system in a version that can accommodate capacities between 3,500 and 5,500 kilograms per hour, a range of output critical for market success. Despite this ability to process higher volumes, its design leverages the shorter stabilization time and requires less space in the factory. Production reliability has also been improved thanks to a new chain transport system which, in vertical passageways, simultaneously conveys two sticks containing pasta to a higher or lower level. As a result, the chain speed is reduced by 50 percent, increasing accuracy and thus enhancing production reliability.