Oscar Mayer Teams Up with Heraeus Noblelight - Ready Meals are Pre-Browned

Oscar Mayer manufactures a range of potato-topped and crumb-topped ready meals for major supermarkets and it is important, in terms of final presentation, that the products are pre-browned. By installing an oven using carbon infrared heaters Oscar Mayer has been able to eliminate previous maintenance problems, improve energy efficiency and liberate valuable floor space, at its food manufacturing plant in Chard, England.

Surface browning must be carried out without any after-cooking of the product itself and this was previously done using long wave, metal-sheathed infrared heaters. However, this aging system was proving increasingly difficult to maintain and the production line often had to be stopped to replace broken heating elements. As a result, Oscar Mayer worked with Heraeus Noblelight to design and install a new oven incorporating the latest carbon infrared technology.

Carbon infrared is ideal for applications in the food industry, such as surface browning, as it delivers medium wave infrared radiation, which is perfectly suited to evaporating water from products, at a very high power density. This ensures that the surface of the food product rapidly achieves a sufficient temperature to drive away any local moisture and then cause browning without any possibility of after-cooking.

Following proving trials to establish the maximum production line speeds for both crumb and potato topping, the system installed at Oscar Mayer features two infrared cassettes in an oven.

Since installation, the new system has proved to be eminently reliable in operation, requiring little or no maintenance. Its compactness compared with the previous system has also allowed improvements to be made to the production line layout. Moreover, significant energy savings have been achieved due to the fact that the carbon infrared system switches on and off virtually instantaneously, eliminating the need for lengthy pre-heating of the system to the required operating temperature at the start of each shift. The fast response of the system also means that the heat can be removed very quickly if the line stops unexpectedly, so minimizing damage to product.


o quick browning of toppings without any after cooking

o fast response of heaters, minimizing damage in case of unexpected line stop

Technical Data

o two cassettes with medium wave Carbon infrared heaters

o first cassette with seven 7kW heaters

o second cassette has seven 7kW emitters and six 500W emitters to supplement the energy at the edges of the oven

o Control panel regulates the power and the conveyor speed

o heater failure detection

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