Flexibility, accuracy and hygiene were the three priorities for the design of the all-new GEA MultiJector 700 launched at Process Expo 2013 by GEA Food Solutions. It is a true multi-purpose brine injector that delivers the accuracy and performance of an application-specific machine. To be made available in three widths (500 and 950 mm version will be launched later), the new injector can be performance-matched to complete processing lines and is suitable for injecting a wide range of bone-in, boneless and delicate products.
Flexible, multi-purpose injector
Maximum operational flexibility is assured thanks to the cassettes (comprising a manifold with application specific needles) that can be exchanged without tools. Because process parameters are part of the recipe and specifications are stored in an intuitive control panel, it is very simple and easy to change applications. Switching between products and applications can be done without mechanical adjustments to the equipment, making the GEA MultiJector a true multi-purpose and application-specific machine without any compromises on accuracy and performance.
Accurate brine injection
Using an innovative technology that ensures the injection needles move down and up at a constant linear speed, the GEA MultiJector delivers a constant flow of brine throughout the product. The sinusoidal needle movement of a typical injector discharges more brine at the end of the stroke, whereas GEA’s new machine produces a much more consistent ‘3D’ injection rate.
Another advanced feature of this new injector is its weightless stripper plate, which prevents excessive force being exerted on of sensitive products. This feature first used on the GEA YieldJector ‘memorizes’ the height of the product that has just been injected, and is therefore ready to discharge brine at precisely the right moment on the next stroke. However, if a slightly higher product follows on the belt, the stripper plate senses this and is able to remain ‘weightless’. This keeps the needle patterns intact and therefore improves the standard deviation.
Other features include automatic brine feed stop when an individual needle hits an obstruction (such as a bone) and fully adjustable injection depth. It can also be programed using the standard needle depth adjustment for partial injection to avoid injecting brine into the outer fat layer of a meat product.
Startling hygienic design
Much attention has been focused on the hygienic design of the GEA MultiJector to ensure it is easy to inspect and clean. Thanks to the new frame design, it can be inspected without special tools, and all hoses, cylinders and pneumatic systems have been kept clear of the food zone. Another major contribution to hygiene is the unique process that GEA has developed for removing, cleaning and returning the conveyor belt. This uses a special trolley for removing just the belt rather than taking out the whole belt assembly with a trolley as is the case with conventional injectors. This way it is not necessary to move up- or downstream equipment in the production line. This process has been welcomed by belt suppliers and is considered to be a solution for the future. The needle heads are also fitted as complete cassette units instead of individual needles. The cassettes are easily removed for cleaning and the machine can continue to operate with a new cassette while others are being cleaned.
The new machine uses GEA’s OptiFlex needles in 2, 3 and 4 mm diameters with unmatched bending resistance. No tools are required to exchange individual needles and needle guides. GEA’s brine hose couplings are dairy types to enable more cost-effective flexible hoses to be used. The GEA MultiJector is on display at GEA’s stand on IFFA (D06 in Hall 8).