Equipment/Technology, Processing, fries, chips, Retail, Trends

Lamb Weston invested in four FAM cutting machines for its wavy fries

It all started in 1950 for the potato processor Lamb Weston when F. Gilbert Lamb set up a company in Weston in the USA. Thanks to a consistent focus on innovation Lamb Weston has meanwhile become a key player in the potato market. In the Netherlands Cees Meijer was enjoying parallel success with his business, expanding into Meijer Frozen Food. In 1984 the two firms teamed up in a joint venture that has successfully conquered the American and European market. The approach of the company also tells a story: ‘When most businesses look at a potato, they see just a potato. But not us. We see possibilities.’ The same maxim applies to the machine manufacturer FAM, which specialises in industrial cutting machines for the food processing industry. FAM, which was founded in 1946, is also characterised by innovation and during the last two years has launched no less than 8 new machines. 

One of them was the FAM Tridis 240P, which was designed with the frozen fries sector in mind. The Tridis 240P has been tested and approved in cooperation with leading Flemish frozen foods companies, as well as by Lamb Weston / Meijer, which ordered four machines for their production plant at Bergen op Zoom.

The machines are tasked with processing tons of potatoes to produce crinkle-cut chips, both regular and deep crinkle-cut fries. This product is better known to the consumer as ‘Ziggy Fries’: a very crispy chip with a well-structured outside and a smooth texture on the inside. This special cutting shape calls for a machine that cuts the potato perfectly from beginning to end to ensure uniformity along all four sides.

Every year the plant at Bergen op Zoom processes up to 500,000 tonnes of potatoes. These machines therefore handle gigantic quantities of potatoes to produce diced potato, chips and other cut shapes.

For Lamb Weston / Meijer one of the key performance indicators was machine maintenance. The frozen food industry needs robust and reliable machinery that guarantees minimum downtimes. The FAM Tridis 240 stands out with its movable electrical cabinet that ensures easy access to the drive compartment as well as the cartridge system for the removal of shafts and bearings. Besides cutting quality, machine maintenance has to be flawless.

Lastly, cutting output also comes in for special attention. When processing high volumes, it is particularly needed for cutting to be performed with minimum levels of waste and starch losses. If the cell structure of the potato is badly damaged during cutting, the potato will then lose starch and moisture. This quickly adds up on large-scale processing lines.

The FAM Tridis 240P combines optimal product throughput with a fast transit speed and minimum travel path to offer excellent cutting quality and minimum loss levels.

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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