27 June 2023
Growing Indian company celebrates first year of success since launching new brand and machinery investment.
SOON after setting up the business in 2005, ATOP Foods became India's first potato chip and nankeen producer to achieve ISO 2000:2005 certification for food safety management systems.
Following years of success in western India, in 2018, this business founded a new company, Bizz Corporation which focuses on French fries and specialty products sold under the ChillFill brand name, with ambitions to move into export markets.
At its four-hectare site in Morbi city, in the state of Gujarat, this plant processes approximately 120 tons of potatoes and produces 60 tons of French fries daily.
Bizz Corporation’s production lines have been getting busier by the year as product demand increased. The plant in Morbi has witnessed a three-fold increase in demand in just a few years – and expects demand to keep rising in the next few years.
Bizz Corp’s CEO, J M Patel, said: “With the launch of ChillFill, we set ourselves the dual targets of increasing production volumes and product variety, as well as achieving consistently high product quality. This meant we had to upgrade our potato peeling and sorting machines. We needed machines with high performance, high efficiency, and high consistency, and we wanted to reduce food waste. We also needed to be confident that our purchased machines would have good technical support.”
While Bizz Corp has strengthened its presence in India, so too has TOMRA Food, manufacturer of grading, sorting, and peeling technologies. Since first arriving in India nine years ago, TOMRA has installed more than 150 units in the country, and in 2019 the company opened a new 4,000-square-foot customer service centre in Bengaluru.
This facility features a testing and demonstration area, where customers can view a simulation of how products would be sorted and defects identified in their own production environment. This enables customers to be sure they are choosing the best solutions available.
An Orbit Steam Peeler and TOMRA 5B sorter were both installed at the premises in 2022 when the ChillFill brand was launched, and are now running 24/7.
Assessing objects on the processing line according to their colour and shape, the belt-sorter detects up to 99% of foreign material and can see French fries from up to six angles. Latest sensor technology combines 360-degree inspection, an off-belt NIR (near-infrared) laser, advanced shape algorithms, and artificial intelligence. The result is the removal of unwanted objects with great accuracy for high-quality targets and high yields.
Bizz Corp particularly likes the sorter’s ability to sort to each individual customer’s specification on length and defects. This is achieved through one of the machine’s programmable control features, Sort to Spec. This feature makes it easy to sort batches into different qualities – for example, AAA-grade and B-grade fries, reduce food waste and increase yields.
Efficiency when producing French fries also improves with the Smart Ejection feature. By using de-clustering algorithms, this improves good-in-bad performance by anything from 25% to 100% (depending on cut size, incoming defect levels, and capacity); improves accept-stream quality by making even more accurate decisions on defect types and clusters; and reduces false detection, especially of ‘shorts’ in clusters, to minimize product waste and increase yield.
A health check feature is also appreciated by Bizz Corp’s line operators. This automatically checks the machine’s cleanliness before sorting and identifies which surfaces, if any, need cleaning, reducing downtime and optimizing machine performance.
J M said: “With 15-20% input defect levels, we are achieving efficiency greater than 95%. The rejection rate with French fries is also very good - just one-in-eight on 10x10 cut sizes, with a capacity of more than 6.5 tons per hour.”
Potato peelers vary hugely in efficiency. Food losses can be as high as 30% during mechanical peeling and 20% with low-tech steam peelers. But the company has managed to reduce food losses to as little as 7.5%.
J M said: “With the cost of raw materials, processing efficiency plays a critical role in our profitability. With every little improvement we gain from processing machinery, our investment gives a better return on investment – and we are achieving this.”