Thursday, 21 September 2017


The growing popularity of batch-fried chips have driven equipment producers to step up their game and provide processors with innovative solutions to accommodate this growing niche of premium products. 

By Dan Orehov

Batch fryers are used exclusively for hard bite, slow cooked potato chips due to their unique temperature profile. The high-moisture content of potatoes requires a specially designed batch fryer. The Heat and Control batch fryer capacities range from 35 to over 500 pounds, (15 to 225 kilograms) of finished potato chips per hour.

The BF Batch Fryer Model - using traditional low temperature cooking, the company’s standard models are rated for 180 and 360 finished lbs/hr of hard bite kettle style potato chips. With no heat transfer tubes immersed in the oil, the unique under-pan fired design allows cooking with as little as 4" of oil depth. Low oil volume produces rapid oil turnover for the freshest chips with a long shelf life. Automatic oil level control continuously compensates for oil carried out of the fryer with finished chips, while complete combustion system is piped and wired, ready for connection to a natural gas line. The equipment also benefits by full PLC control: for repeatable quality in each batch, a Programmable Logic Controller automatically controls potato feed, frying, stirring, finished chip unloading, and initiation of the next batch and easy cleaning, due to the flat bottom stainless steel pan, which has no heating elements to burn and trap product particles. Screw jack hoist raises the drain conveyor providing complete access for cleaning. For processors in need of high capacity thermal fluid heated batch fryers, the MasterTherm Kettle Fryer delivers a minimum of 500 finished lbs/hr (227 kg/hr) of hard bite kettle style potato chips. Chip-Stirr® system automatically agitates slices during cooking and directs the finished chips to the discharge/drain conveyor and prevents slice clusters, allowing one operator to monitor multiple fryers, and assuring consistent chip quality from batch to batch. For safety, energy efficiency, and improved oil quality, the cooking area and Chip-Stirr are covered by a hood. This reduces heat loss and allows steam to blanket the oil, purging oxygen to prolong cooking oil quality. The exhaust volume is about 70% less than fryers using area hoods, while an exhaust stack Oil Mist Eliminator removes oil droplets from exhaust emissions. 

Adapting and evolving

Sweden-based Rosenqvists Food Technologies develops and designs food processing equipment and complete lines for production of potato chips, snacks, French fries and potato specialties. The company was originally named Potato Processing Machinery (PPM) and founder in the early 1970s, when they were among the first on the market to introduce a defatter, that would result in an end-product with up to 25% less fat content, a revolutionary concept for that era. But progress did not stop there and over time, according to market demand, the company developed continuous chips fryers, but also batch fryers.

“Around 60% of our turnover comes from frying equipment and we have developed a lot of multi-zone chip fryers. Beginning more than 10 years ago, we have noticed an increase in consumer preference for batch-fried chips, starting with the UK and then expanding in Europe and globally,”, explains Goran Wadsten, sales manager with Rosenqvists Food Technologies.

In the Rosenqvists continuous chips fryer, it is also possible to produce semi batch fried potato chips. This process uses the temperature profile of a batch fryer in a continuous fryer and will give a product with a harder bite and texture, similar to a product produced in a true batch fryer. The company’s strategy was to develop their continuous multi-zone fryer to be able to produce a harder bite style chip, so that, even though the process itself is similar to the classic-style production of chips, the end product has the characteristic of the “batch-style” or “home-made” chips that are trending currently.

Improving product quality

Key Technology’s Optyx® digital sorters are selected by regional processors of batch-fried potato chips/crisps working to satisfy the rising quality expectations of consumers and retailers around the world. Identifying color and opacity, Optyx detects and removes defects such as oil-soaked soft spots, blisters, doubles and clumps as well as green spots, bruises, overcooked black spots and foreign material (FM). Designed for production lines handling up to 1000 to 2000 kg of chips per hour, Optyx 3000 and Optyx 6000 sorters automate inspection to improve product quality and increase yields while reducing labor costs.

“We wanted to add a sorter to an existing production line. We considered two suppliers, comparing performance and the price of the system, and selected Key because of their outstanding track record. They have a lot of batch-fried sorters in the field, which are performing well, and their price was attractive,” said Tom Keogh, managing director of Keogh’s Crisps Ltd (Dublin, Ireland). “We measure this sorter’s success on the quality of our final product and the improvement in our production costs. We’re saving labor in QC because Optyx allowed us to reposition six people over two shifts to elsewhere in the plant.”

You can read more in our print magazine Potato Processing International magazine (Jul/Aug 2017)!  

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