Applications for ims cylindrical heating Systems (CHS)

Processors are constantly looking for technologies that allow them to introduce new or improved products while providing a cost benefit advantage over their competitors. Although an IMS CHS can be used for many product and process applications, including heating, cooking/gelation, pasteurization and sterilization, its specific benefits and economic advantages are best achieved when applied to heat or shear sensitive, high viscosity and multi-phase fluids as shown in the following examples:

  • An IMS CHS combines cool tube wall surfaces, fast product heating and short residence times to minimize fouling deposits, product degradation and production downtimeA global petrochemical company replaced a steam heated shell-and-tube exchanger with an IMS unit and was able to reduce production downtime due to frequent blockage of heater tubes.  This resulted from the product experiencing long residence times and high tube wall temperatures requiring excessive downtime to drill the tubes and remove product build up.  The IMS CHS also reduced the company’s product formulation cost as the high viscosity polymeric resin required less catalyst than previously required.
  • Superior product quality with minimal color change and better nutrient retention and organoleptic properties have been achieved by a CHS installed in a vegetable processing facility.  The overall quality of test product from the IMS CHS compared far more favorably to test products obtained from other conventional heating technologies, which determined the decision to use continuous microwave  heating.
    yamco installation
  • Product shelf-life of over two years with reduced storage and distribution costs are currently achieved by this food processor with all its shelf-stable pumpable vegetable products. This is possible with the IMS CHS technology as it is an excellent method for the thermal treatment of high and low acid food products, particularly when rapid deactivation of enzymes is important.
  • The center of particulate products may achieve higher temperature than the surrounding carrier fluid, due to volumetric heating enhancing the thermal process. This is particularly important to regulatory authorities when validating either pasteurization or sterilization processes for these products.
  • An IMS heater requires minimal formulation changes to achieve an even temperature distribution during heating. This is rarely the case with other electro-heating technologies, such as ohmic and radio frequency, that do not benefit from the advantages of volumetric heating. As this occurs from the center towards the tube wall, the result is an improvement in overall product quality and consistency of the formulation. This has been recognized by the Quality Assurance Department of a leading US processor of surimi and surimi seafood products who replaced the traditional water bath test for its shear sensitive products with an IMS heating system. The cooking and gelation characteristics of the IMS test products are far closer to those experienced in production than the water bath test.
  • IMS CHS technology can produce new products that conventional heaters cannot.  A New York based company is using an IMS heater for the Microwave Assisted Extraction (MAE) of plant protein cells to maximize yield and product quality of its biopharmaceutical products.  An Alabama based organization also uses MAE with ionic liquids to maximize the extraction of biochemicals from crustacean waste products.  As the pharmaceutical industry changes from batch production to continuous, IMS CHS technology is expected to play an increasing role in the rapid sterilization of high-value, heat sensitive intravenous and other fluids.
  • Combined with other thermal technologies, IMS CHS designs can optimize final heater retrofits or new production lines.  Optimum payback is obtained by utilizing a CHS in a process application that is difficult to control or clean when using traditional hot surface heat exchangers.
  • Operating and maintenance costs can be reduced as the IMS CHS has no moving parts.  The non-intrusive heating process is easy to control, clean-in-place and inspect when required.

IMS recognizes that its technological innovations and applications knowledge are its most valuable assets. The ability to generate a uniform distribution of microwave energy and eliminate the uneven heating patterns (or "hot spots") traditionally associated with microwaves makes Industrial Microwave Systems’ technology unique and patentable. To date, patents on the Company’s Cylindrical Heating technology include:

U.S. Patent #5,998,774 "Method and Apparatus for Providing Uniform Electromagnetic Exposure", issued on December 8th, 1999.
U.S. Patent #6,087,642 "Electromagnetic exposure chamber for improved heating", issued on July 11th, 2000.
U.S. Patent #6,265,702 "Electromagnetic exposure chamber with a focal region", issued on July 24th, 2001.
U.S. Patent #6,753,516 "Method and Apparatus for Controlling an Electric Field Intensity within a Waveguide", issued on June 22, 2004.
U.S. Patent #6,797,929 "A Cylindrical Reactor with and Extended Focal Region", issued on September 28, 2004.
U.S. Patent #7,270,842 "Thermal Gelation of Foodstuffs and Biomaterials Using Rapid Heating", issued on September 17, 2007.

IMS received the 2009 Food Technology Industrial Achievement Award following an extensive period of collaboration with USDA and Department of Food Science researchers based at North Carolina State UniversityThis is awarded annually by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), a nonprofit international society with 20,000 members working in food science, technology and related professions.  It honors a company or organization for an outstanding development representing a significant advancement in the application of food science and technology to food production.
IMS received this award for the following reasons:

  • The team was recognized for its development of a process for continuous flow microwave sterilization of low-acid foods and biomaterials using the IMS Cylindrical Heating System. This collaboration of university, government, and industry researchers resulted in an innovative processing technique to address the shortcomings of conventional methods of food preservation for low-acid, shelf-stable foods.
  • Through the use of continuous-flow microwave sterilization, processors are able to provide high throughput of aseptically processed shelf-stable low-acid foods. These foods have minimal loss in quality and nutritional value when compared to product processed by conventional thermal methods.
  • The first commercial process to adopt this innovative technology involved aseptic processing and packaging of sweet potato puree, and the process filing received a letter of no-objection from the FDA.  IMS is the first designer and manufacturer of continuous microwave processing equipment to meet FDA validation requirements for such products.
  • IFT recognized the accomplishment that the team made to advance the food science industry and to help ensure safe, affordable, and nutritious foods to the world. 
IFT Plaque

IMS also received the 2009 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Services Technology Transfer Award.  In addition to many of the above, IMS received this award for the following reasons:

  • Use of IMS equipment and technology allowed farmers in North Carolina to process and add value to a crop that had previously been ploughed back into the land or sold as animal food. 
  • As much as 45% of the annual harvest in the State of North Carolina would not meet the standard for retail sales of freshly harvested sweet potatoes and was effectively discarded.  The IMS CHS enabled farmers to virtually eliminate this wastage, and turn a cost into a profit.
USDA award