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Ultrasonic Food Processing and Cutting

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ultrasonic food processing?

Dukane Ultrasonics food processing uses high-frequency sound vibrations to process food products faster and eliminate most of the downtime caused by the continual cleaning of conventional cutting blades. Ultrasonic food cutting and processing equipment provides a new way to cut, slice, divert, align or transfer a variety of food products that streamlines production, minimizes product waste and lowers maintenance costs.

How does ultrasonic food processing and cutting work?

Ultrasonic knives vibrating up and down 20,000 times per second slice the product as it comes out of an oven or down a conveyor, or slit the product into bar-shaped portions.

This high-frequency vibration creates a nearly friction-free surface between the tool (e.g., knife, diverter fence or transfer bar) and the product, so problems with sticking and pinching simply disappear. With the greatly reduced friction, there is virtually no knife abrasion. Tools stay sharper longer, reducing annual maintenance costs.

What can ultrasonic food processing do for me?

Users have increased productivity using ultrasonic food processing by minimizing the production time that was previously lost cleaning the machinery. Others have discovered they can totally eliminate procedures necessary with conventional cutting, such as pre-cooling or heating the product before the cutting operations, or realigning the product after cutting prior to the packaging operation.

Can it be installed on my present lines?

Yes, ultrasonic cutting and processing equipment can be installed easily. Retrofitting Dukane equipment can be as simple as removing the conventional knife and replacing it with a plate to which the ultrasonic knives are attached. Another option is replacing the existing cutting/slitting station with a gantry system that straddles the conveyor you now have.

What are some ultrasonic food processing applications?

  • Bakery and snack foods
  • Candy and confectionery
  • Cheese
  • Fish
  • Prepared meats
  • Vegetable
  • Health bars

Slitting and cutting snack cakes, granola bars, sheet cakes, cheese wheels and blocks, candy bar ropes, breakfast bars, frozen fish, dough scoring and cutting, chewing gum cutting and krispy bar cutting. The list keeps growing.

Is the equipment reliable?

Dukane Ultrasonics technology has been continuously improved over our 30 years in the business. All equipment and tooling designs undergo many months of reliability testing before being approved for food grade applications.

How often do ultrasonic knives have to be sharpened or replaced?

To date, we have only had one instance where continuously run slitting blades showed any signs of wear. The product being slit used sugar crystals as a topping. The ultrasonic knives had been run approximately 3,000 hours and could have been used another 2,000 estimated hours with no ill effects. Since Dukane knives have two blade surfaces available, the knives were just turned 180 degrees to use the opposite surface. Slitting knives cutting through abrasive products like cake, cheese or candy (with or without nuts) are still running after three or four years with no signs of wear.

Ultrasonic knife sharpness is not as critical as conventional knife sharpness; the high-frequency vibrations are critical. Note: wrenches, screwdrivers or various other metal objects left on the conveyor belt during operation may necessitate knife rework or replacement!

What are the ultrasonic knives and other tools made of?

Dukane ultrasonic knives are made of titanium, a completely inert material approved by the food industry. Titanium has good fatigue strength, surface hardness and excellent acoustic properties.

Other tools such as diverter fences and transfer bars are made of aluminum with Teflon(R) coating. Aluminum has excellent acoustic properties and is easily machined. Teflon makes tool surfaces more slippery and is approved for use in the food industry.