Less Waste, More Results
The QX system, offered by Townsend, takes sausage processing to a new level of food safety and quality.
With an ever-increasing need to produce product safer and faster, Townsend’s QX system can provide several benefits to a sausage processor. Once the system is installed, cook cycle times and waste decrease, while the quality and safety of the product are enhanced.
Using the QX system, a processor can produce several types of sausage, including link and ring sausage, hot dogs, dry sausage and breakfast and fresh sausages. It is available in four base configurations: QX Link Sausage, QX Ring Sausage, QX Fresh Sausage and QX Dry Sausage. A variety of cooking, drying and hanging configurations are available with each system, and multiple types of sausage can be produced on each of the systems.
The QX system is a continuous process, with material flowing simultaneously through two pumps — one for the meat dough, the other for the collagen gel. Producing the casing simultaneously has demonstrated substantial savings in labor, production, materials and casing costs, Townsend reports. Waste can be reduced up to 75 percent as well.
The casings produced by the QX process are edible, so there is no need to peel or dispose of casing material. Furthermore, the operator can customize the casing bite by varying casing thickness and by adjusting the cooking cycle. The bite can be made softer to resemble a cellulose product, or with a “snap” that imitates a natural casing. It is not economically possible to do that with a pre-fabricated casing.
Savings can also be achieved elsewhere in the production process. While production times may vary, QX operators have typically enjoyed a 30 to 42 percent shorter cook/smoke cycle time, reducing energy costs. Because the entire process is automated, production costs are also lower, and there is less rework to be done. Creating a continuous strand of sausage from start to finish ensures that the first sausage is the exact weight of the last sausage off the line.
Consumer appeal is a key issue for sausage processors, and the QX system helps in that area as well. Because the entire QX sausage expands and contracts during the heating process, it resists splitting or bursting when grilling, frying or microwaving. QX sausages also resist charring when used on a roller grill.
Along with producing a sausage with a superior look and taste, the QX system improves the food safety and sanitation. There is less handling of the product by employees because of all the automation in the system. The automated process also reduces casing breakage, which means the plant floor remains clean and dry.
Townsend’s “Cook-in-Pack®” technology also eliminates the exposure to pathogens after cooking. The sausage remains sealed inside its membrane casing from the time of production to customer consumption. Because of the level of safety that the QX system provides, the Listeria Rule for ready-to-eat meat products does not apply.