||Technology in Australia 1788-1988
Table of Contents
I Technology Transported; 1788-1840
II Technology Established; 1840-1940
III The Coming Of Science
IV From Science To Technology: The Post-war Years
iii Food Engineering
V Products And Processes
Food Engineering (continued)Since 1973 much has been heard of energy conservation and many food companies have designated or appointed staff to take charge of energy conservation programmes. The National Energy Research Development and Demonstration Council (NERRDC) has fostered a number of energy conservation studies, some in the food industry. Three relevant reports are those for the dairy, baking industries and meat industries.
In general food processing is not an energy dense industry, though the manufacture of its packaging is, and more than one factory has reduced its energy bills by using solar energy to supplement its normal supply. One important Australian solar energy innovation finds application not in Australia at all but in the developing countries. Solar polythene tent fish driers were initiated in Sydney at a meeting of the Association for Science in Asia (ASCA) and developed at the University of Tasmania. They are now widely used in Asia and elsewhere, their major advantage being protection of the drying fish from fly strike. They are thus contributing to the reduction of post-harvest losses and an increase in returns to the fisherman.
Process control, especially by micro-processors, has become widespread in industry and has, of course, appeared in food technology. One fundamental handicap to the wider use of computerization in food technology has been, and remains, the difficulty in measuring crucial parameters fast enough to accomplish proper feed forward control. In cheesemaking, for example, starter activity, which may vary from time to time, and the moisture content of the cheese curd at 'whey-off' are important parameters. Measurement of neither on a continuous basis has been achieved. On the other hand, temperature and pH are even more important and both may be measured continuously throughout the making of each vat of cheese. These measurements are the basis of a new system of cheese factory control developed by P. M. Linklater at the University of New South Wales. Starter activity is measured at the beginning of each day and assumed to be constant; temperature and pH are measured by vat probes and fed to a dedicated minicomputer which gives the cheesemaker complete control over his factory's performance. This grip results in a relatively constant curd moisture, the measurement of which would also be fed to the computer if only it could be made quickly enough. This advance, illustrating both the value and difficulty of feed forward control in food technology, is an important Australian contribution to a difficult subject.
Organisations in Australian Science at Work - National Energy Research Development and Demonstration Council (N.E.R.D.D.C.); University of Tasmania
People in Bright Sparcs - Linklater, P. M.
© 1988 Print Edition pages 130 - 131, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher