Slicing, Dicing, and Shredding Equipment Add Up to Yield Improvements

Size reduction machinery may appear unchanged, but advancements under the hood result in process improvements.

By Kevin T. Higgins, Managing Editor

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The re-engineered slicer makes up to 2,000 cuts a minute, a 33 percent boost in throughput, he adds. Just as importantly, yield has improved 3-5 percent from the 200-plus machines commissioned in the past five years.

A more recent advancement is the SX380 (a reference to the slicing throat’s 380mm width, approximately 15 inches). Sandberg calls it “the lunch meat version of the Cashin Edge.” Kunzler & Co., a Lancaster, Pa., deli meat processor, is an early adopter of the machine. Facility director Rodney Shultz pegs yield improvement at 1.5-2 percent and says blade changeover time is reduced compared to the prior generation slicer.

The clamping system for deli logs accounts for most of the yield gain. Only a small butt end needs to be clamped, allowing more of the log to enter the slicing zone, according to Sandberg. A 14-step steel hardening process and product-specific serration patterns extend blade life between honings.

Servo drives are an upgrade option on the newest 2D dicer from Carruthers, with variable frequency driven belts powered by a drum motor the standard offering. Less product slippage is provided with a redesigned spiral knife, providing more precise cuts. The machine is manufactured by Marlen International Inc. (, Riverside, Mo.

Bourbon distilling is a booming segment, and that’s good news for milling equipment suppliers. The corn, rye and malted barley at the heart of the process is milled immediately before starch-to-sugar conversion, and even boutique distilleries mill on premises.

Aurora, Ind.-based Stedman Machine Co. ( makes a 316 stainless version of its cage mill, and the coarse grind it provides is perfect for distillers like Michter’s, a whiskey and bourbon maker that counts George Washington’s Valley Forge troops among its historical clientele. For those who want finer grist, Stedman engineers have introduced a hammer mill.

The hammer mill is air-fed, resulting in less dust than gravity-fed mills, notes Tyler Cianciolo, design engineer. Manufacturers can choose from screen meshes with openings ranging from 1/8th to ½ inch. Because the hammers are wear parts, they have carbide overlays and run in two directions to reduce the frequency of maintenance.

Whether materials are being sliced, diced or pulverized, size reduction is a fundamental process in food manufacturing. The machines that perform that function may appear unchanged, but their incremental improvements and steady evolution are helping food processors boost yields and meet higher safety and product-spec standards.

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