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Tuning In To Get Chill Out

Media Release:
24 November 2003

Tuning In To Get Chill Out

Technology developed by an innovative small NZ company is helping manufacturers counter the big chill.

Auckland-based Keam Holdem is about to begin a pilot trial in the UK, following the successful completion of product development trials in Australia, which could solve the challenges of thawing large cartons of frozen food safely and economically.

It is also likely to be trialled in New Zealand early ’04.

The company’s latest development is a logical progression from its core microwave technology. The unit uses industrial radio frequencies capable of thawing frozen meat in quantities of one – two tonnes an hour.

According to Dr Rick Keam, the use of radio frequency ensures thawing right to the centre, unlike microwave technology which has minimal penetration and is inclined to ‘cook’ the extremities and leave the inside still frozen.

“It gives manufacturers and food processors a safe way to process their product more rapidly and cost effectively, unlike traditional methods such as water baths or simply leaving the food in an ambient temperature,” he says. “We’ve had some interesting challenges in developing the technology, including ensuring the reliability of radio waves at the high power levels needed for industrial throughput and ensuring uniformity of temperature during thawing.”

Rick Keam says the beta trialling in Australia showed promise in helping processors manage profitability, with the ability to minimise drip loss through controlled thawing Whilst RF technology is not new, Keam Holdem has developed the smart science that achieves an extremely uniform application of radio frequency energy in industrial applications. Its commercialisation over the past year places the company amongst a handful of only several world-wide who have this capability.

Eight year old Keam Holdem is one of the largest privately-owned industrial RF and microwave heating and moisture measurement equipment suppliers in Australasia. Rick Keam says the RF thawing technology is a significant growth area for the company anticipated to contribute around 50% of the company’s revenues over the next few years.


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