Coperion MEGAtex S7 Cooling Die
Coperion has developed the MEGAtex S7 cooling die for manufacturing plant-based HMMA (high moisture meat analogue) meat substitutes. Mounted at the discharge of the ZSK Food Extruder, this texturising unit gives the plant protein mass a dense, fibrous structure that is designed to closely resemble animal flesh.
With the cooling die, Coperion has developed a new discharge for HMMA production that allows for variable width and strength as well as various textures for meat substitutes. The device includes features that simplify handling and make both recipe and configuration changes possible with just a few quick adjustments.
HMMA is a plant-based intermediate product that is primarily used for ready-to-eat meals such as vegan chicken nuggets or ground meat. It contains 50–70% water and 30–50% plant proteins with less than 10% fat content. In the HMMA manufacturing process, protein-rich raw materials are first mixed with water and worked into a homogeneous mass in a ZSK Food Extruder. This mass is then pressed through the MEGAtex cooling die, where the meat-like texture is formed and a solid strand is discharged for further processing.
Characteristics of HMMA quality are the product’s texture and strength as well as the length and strength of the fibres. Coperion developed the new texturising unit in order to more precisely fulfil these quality requirements, and in particular to provide more flexibility to smaller companies, research organisations and startups.
The MEGAtex S7 achieves throughputs of 5 to 50 kg/h and can currently be combined with the ZSK Food Extruder sizes 18, 27 and 34. Additional sizes for higher throughputs will be available later.
Featuring a modular design, the cooling die consists of individual segments which can be combined as needed, depending on the requirements of the raw materials and the desired product structure.
It comes with interchangeable inlays that give the machine operator the flexibility to vary the strand width between 35 and 70 mm and the length between 10 and 15 mm. Just a few simple steps are all that is needed to open the cooling die and exchange the inlays.
Such easy handling is also an advantage when changing recipes or extracting product samples. With its innovative opening mechanism, the cooling die provides good access along its entire length. Moreover, product samples can be extracted at any time in any segment of the cooling die. It also features a hygienic design which reduces machine downtime for cleaning to a minimum, increasing the efficiency of the entire production line.
At the end of the die, there is a special cutter to facilitate quick sampling of HMMA at the discharge. The cooling die is mounted on rollers, making it mobile. These additional features make it flexible when frequently changing products, and suitable for development environments.
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