Thermal Processing Systems for the Food Industry: A Guide to Selecting Thermal Equipment and Technology

Food, Food Manufacturing & Supply Chain,
  • Thursday, May 25, 2017

Food safety and labeling are becoming increasingly important to producers based on the introduction of government regulations and enhanced consumer demands. In this presentation, we will focus on thermal technologies used for heat transfer in food processing systems. There are many different types and uses of thermal equipment. Applications range from drying to roasting, toasting, reacting and cooling. This technology allows producers to kill pathogens and de-activate enzymes without impacting food labeling. In some instances thermal systems can be used to achieve multiple unit operations such as: drying and grinding, or reacting and drying.

There are three different modes of heat transfer: conduction, convection, and radiant.

  • Conduction is the transfer of heat indirectly through a vessel wall with the heat transfer medium
  • Convection is the transfer of heat directly with the heat transfer medium
  • Radiant is the transfer of heat using electromagnetic waves with a separated energy source

One direct drying example of a heat sensitive food product involves water being removed. To minimize discoloration and preserve flavor this process uses evaporative cooling to prevent degradation. The heat transfer medium in this case is typically heated air. This ensures the mouth-feel and taste meet consumer expectations without adding anything to the final product label.

Indirect heat transfer is typically used in drying applications where the liquid is not water, such as an organic solvent that is flammable requiring an inert environment. Indirect heating minimizes the use of expensive inert gases. Indirect heat transfer can also be used to process materials under vacuum or pressure.

Radiant heat transfer can be a primitive form of drying where the food product is simply left out in the sun and moisture is allowed to evaporate or it can refer to infrared and ultraviolet treatment.

Direct Thermal Technology $ $$$
Indirect Thermal Technology $$


There is often more than one type of heat transfer technology that will fit your application. In equipment and system design there are additional costs associated with added ancillary equipment, instruments and controls. Working with a supplier that offers a range of direct and indirect equipment is beneficial when selecting the type of technology that best fits your application so the CAPEX and utility consumption can be minimized.Indirect thermal systems may have a lower total cost of ownership.

Throughout this webinar, the speakers will review the criteria we use to select the best thermal technology solutions for real-world applications. Bepex will provide examples of process systems designed in the Process Development Center at Bepex.


John Heapy, Application Engineer Thermal Products, Bepex International

John is an Application Engineer on the thermal technology team at Bepex International, located in Minneapolis, MN, USA. Bepex is an original equipment manufacturer for heat transfer equipment used in solids processing. John holds a BS in Chemical Engineering with a minor in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. After receiving his degree, he spent several years in product development in the medical industry and has spent the last five years at Bepex. John spent his early days at Bepex working in the Process Development Center and has significant experience with all aspects of thermal process system design. 

Today his duties include sample analysis, pilot testing, sizing and scaling, process flow diagram development with heat and material balances, aiding in P&ID development, and all aspects of quoting custom process systems. John has had the opportunity to participate in numerous process startups, in addition to research and development testing for Bepex patent applications.

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Scott Halvorsen, Director of Thermal Technology at Bepex International, LLC

Scott Halvorsen has over 35 years of experience with Bepex and other industrial process equipment suppliers.  For the last 20 years Scott has focused on various thermal equipment technologies and their applications in food, chemical, polymer, mineral and related industries.  He has authored, co-authored, and contributed to several technical papers, patents, and educational presentations world-wide.  Scott holds a BSChE from the University of Minnesota and has taken advanced engineering classes as well as teaching food technology classes at Texas A&M.  Scott is a member of AIChE and ACS.

Scott started in the Bepex Process Technology Center and worked on a range of process technologies including agglomeration and compaction, mixing, size reduction, in addition to thermal technologies, and a variety of industrial process auxiliaries.  His prior positions at Bepex include Lab Engineer, Application Engineer, Product Manager, and International Sales Director.


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Who Should Attend?

Professionals within the bulk solids processing industries including, food, feed additives, minerals and chemicals.

Relevant functions:

  • Plant Engineers, Plant Managers, Machine Operators, Maintenance Technicians
  • Process Development Engineers and Design Engineers
  • Quality Control, Quality Assurance Managers
  • Marketing and Business Development Managers responsible for finding new applications of existing solids

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Bepex International is a leader in process equipment manufacturing and custom system design. Integrity, commitment and innovation are at the forefront of our engineers’ and field technicians’ approach to helping customers realize their potential. Our customer’s markets are constantly evolving and for over 100 years we’ve developed tools to provide more than just a piece of process equipment. Whatever your material, we provide the process to take it from its raw form to a high value product. Our Process Development Center allows us to design, test, and evaluate process systems as they’re being configured.

We are proud of our ability to find the best technology for your application based on our range of industrial process equipment. We work closely with our customers to understand the demands of their process and we have a team available to assist every step of the way. We also offer industry leading aftermarket services that enable greater levels of efficiency and productivity.

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