(Bicutan, Taguig City. October 31, 2013). About to be taken out and applied for actual food production and processing in various regions in the country are five equipment that were developed through the DOST’s HITS (Department of Science and Technology – High Impact Technology Solutions) project – Design and Development of Process Equipment for Food Processing Firms. These are the water retort, vacuum fryer, vacuum packaging machine, spray dryer, and freeze dryer.
The five equipment prototypes will be launched in six identified regions to promote and demonstrate their functionality leading to commercialization. This shall take place in the Food Innovation Centers (FIC) that will be established by the DOST Regional Offices No. 2, 5, 6, 8, 10, and 11 in their respective area. Intended nationwide, this is only the first leg of the project. Once in place, this will help a lot in improving the productivity of food processors in the regions and the quality of their products.
Working together to realize this goal are the DOST implementing agencies namely: the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) as lead implementer, in collaboration with the Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC),Project Management and Engineering Design Service Office of DOST (DOST PMEDSO), and the DOST Regional Offices No. 2, 5, 6, 8, 10, and 11.
This undertaking is an offshoot of an earlier project of DOST that was implemented in 2011, the HITS project – Design and Development of Process Equipment for Food Processing Firms.Lead agency (ITDI) Director Almanzor said “this project aimed to locally design and fabricate food processing equipment and make our own technology work for our local industry needs”. “We also hope to do away with imports, which are always expensive, especially for the small and medium food processors, and those starting to put up their own businesses”, she added.
Seven equipment (water retort, vacuum fryer, vacuum packaging machine, spray dryer, freeze dryer, immersion freezer, and vacuum evaporator) were designed, fabricated, and performance-tested. Field testing with target cooperators was also conducted to monitor the actual operating performance of the equipment, and innovate or repair if needed, to improve their efficiency or performance.
To facilitate the launching of the equipment, FICs or food innovation centers will be established in the identified regions. While the roll out is intended nationwide, this initial launching or first leg, will take place in these FICs: DOST Region 2 - Cagayan State University (SUC), DOST 5 - Bicol University (SUC), DOST 6 - DOST VI office, Iloilo City, DOST 8 - Eastern Visayas State University (SUC), DOST 10 - Mindanao University of S&T (SUC), and DOST 11- Philippine Women's College (private).The equipment will be introduced to food processors, SUCs (State University or Colleges), and other interested parties.
The FICs are being established in support of the local food processing industry which contributes more than 40 per cent of the country’s total manufacturing output. It is envisioned that these FICs can enhance access to scientific and technical services of MSMEs in the regions. In these FICs, concepts can be turned or transformed into products, and technical experts can innovate and diversify to maximize adding value to our local and diverse agricultural and fishery resources. Spearheaded by DOST Region 8, it is a collaborative undertaking among concerned agencies such as the DOST regional offices, SUCs, and the private sector.
Among other activities and services, these FICs shall house the DOST-HITS equipment and serve as venue to promote and demonstrate to prospective clients, their use or application, and operational or performance efficiency. Designated operators in the regions will also be trained.
These equipment were designed and fabricated at a competitive cost and were intended as substitute to imported equipment. The water retort was fabricated at a cost of P135, 000 and can be used for retorting products packed in pouches, e.g., sumansalihiya, ready - to-eat-meals; vacuum packaging machine at P 110,000, for sealing of foods in flexible packages under vacuum condition, e.g., rice, monggo, corn, fish (dried), crispy pata; vacuum fryer at P650,000, for vacuum frying of fruits, vegetables, root crops, shellfish and other marine products; spray dryer at P 850,000, for drying of food and herb extracts, fruit juices, dairy products into powder form, e.g., maltodextrin, milk (Carabao); and freeze dryer at P 600,000, for freeze drying high value food products and pharmaceutical products, e.g., carrots, potato, langka (jackfruit), and durian.
Meanwhile, the other two equipment, immersion freezer and vacuum evaporator will be launched at a later date.