External Clients (individuals and companies not employed by Cornell):
Full use of Pilot Plant and associated equipment:
$600/ half day (4 hours)
$1,200 subsequent days
Freeze drying & vacuum shelf drying:
(Minimum drying time of 48 hours)
$200/month for partial use
$400/month for special and specific conditions, exclusive use
Personnel charges (Pilot Plant manager or other technician):
Contact George Howick: gh342 [at] cornell.edu
- All ingredients, product containers, analytical testing, shipping containers and shipping charges supplied by Pilot Plant are additional.
- Any facilities used (Pilot Plant, analytical laboratory, refrigerated/frozen storage space, etc.) shall be cleaned and returned to the same condition as they were initially found before any work was conducted in that area. This includes any equipment and all materials used during the course of a single trial.
- Cornell reserves the right to change these prices based on the specifics of any particular project.
- Any work performed in the Pilot Plant or analytical laboratory must be completed within normal working hours (8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.).
- Any work performed outside normal working hours will incur charges at twice the hourly rate(s) listed above.
Capabilities and equipment available
Vacuum- microwave dehydration involves creating a very low pressure environment, which decreases water’s boiling point to around room temperature and then using microwaves to increase the rate of evaporation and ensure even drying. The result is a product uniform moisture content, produced quickly (typically under an hour), with protein structures still intact due to the low temperatures.
We use the Enwave 10KW Machine.
- Processing rate: 9.1 kg water removal per hour
- Batch capacity: 8 trays measuring (26in x 8.5in x 1.5in)
- Power consumption: 10 kW
- Vacuum: 12-300 Torr
- Milk can be non-thermally dried to produce powdered milk.
- Cheese or yogurt can be dried to desired consistency.
- Fruits and vegetables can be preserved to extend shelf life.
- Apples or bananas can be dried into ‘chip’ like snacks.
During freeze drying the product is chilled to around -40F. Once the product is frozen, the freeze dryer reduces the pressure of the chamber (to around 100 mT) and warms the product to around 1°C inducing sublimation (the process of water evaporating from a frozen state). The water is then collected and frozen on the condensing coil.
This process often takes 24-48 hours. It is not uncommon for clients to leave their product freeze drying at the pilot plant and have it shipped to them later.
We use the Milrock Magnum XL Pilot Freeze Dryer.
- Condensing rate: 20 L in 24 hours
- Batch capacity: 30L (10 3L shelves)
- Temperature range: +70° to –60°F in less than 40 minutes
- Pressure range: 100 mT in less than 20 minutes.
- Coffee can be freeze dried to make instant coffee.
- Produce can be preserved to extend shelf life.
- Food grade enzymes can be dried, vacuum packaged and re-hydrated later.
Using heated, low humidity, airflow, the air dehydrator is capable of producing 20 trays of dehydrate product. As the temperature in the chamber rises, water in the food product begins to evaporate and is carried away by the airflow. This process accelerates drying time. The dehydrator can also detect the humidity of the airflow, giving the user a high degree of control over the moisture content over the final product.
We use the Nyle systems FD 10.
- Water removal rate: 10 lb/hr (nominal)
- Batch capacity: 20 trays (18.5in by 11in)
- Temperature range: 80F to 160F.
- Humidity range: 0-100%
- Produce can be preserved (with some texture, flavor and color change).
- Seeds can be primed for pressing.
The UHT (Ultra High Temperature) pasteurizer makes use of very high temperatures (up to 300°F) to kill microorganisms in liquid products.
The continuous feeding allows for a wide range of batch sizes to be processed, as they are pumped in to the system, first through a pre-heater, then a final heater to reach temperature, then enter a “hold tube” which can hold the product at pasteurization temp anywhere from 3 to 150 seconds. After the kill step is complete the product is direct through two coolers and to a “ultra-clean” where the product can be filled with minimal risk for contamination.
We use the Microthermics UHT Pasteurizer.
- Processing rate: Product Dependent (Typically 1.5-2.5L per minute for dairy/soft drinks).
- Max pasteurization temperature: 300°F
- Hold time range: 3 to 150 seconds
- Filling temperatures: 70° – 185 °F
- Dairy beverages, soft drinks, fruit and vegetable juices, protein shakes (depending on consistency).
The batch pasteurizer takes small batches of bottled or canned product and pasteurizes the contents using recirculated heated water. The batch pasteurize is usually used in combination with a data logger to confirm PU’s (pasteurization units) delivered to the product.
We use the Pro Engineering Batch Pasteurizer.
- Batch capacity: 60 bottles (750ml) 168 cans (355ml).
- Max pasteurization temperature: 200°F.
- Typical pasteurization time: 20 mins.
- Wine, cider, beer.
- Canned or bottled beverages.
Fruit and vegetable processor
The fruit and vegetable processor involves pushing produce through a screen rotating at speeds of up to 1900 RPM, which separates the soft flesh from skins, cores, stems and other undesirable solids. The pulp and waste are collected in separate containers.
We use the Bertocchi CX Extractor.
- Max processing capacity: 1000 kg/h to 24 t/h.
- Processes: whole (de-stoned) fruits.
- Screen hole sizes: 0.023 to 0.314 inches.
- Fruit and vegetable puree and pulpy juices.
The Accordion Press first processes the product into a pulpy puree and collects it in an intermittent hopper. From here the product can flow into the accordion press, where it sits between solid boards designed to press and direct juice. The accordion presses the pulp with a pressure up to 1200 PSI, forcing juice through the cloth, and into a collection container.
We use the Good Nature X-6.
- Max output rate: 40 – 100 US Gallons per hour (product dependent).
- Max pressure: up to 1200 PSI.
- Apples and other fruits and vegetables that can be pressed for juice.
- Almonds and some other nuts.
Small scale juice press
The small juice press is a grinds and presses small batches (less the 5lb) batches of fruits and vegetables to produce juice. The hopper features a hand press to apply pressure to producing heading towards the grinder. The press utilizes an adaptive pressure system, where the the press adjusts the pressure applied during pressure according to live feedback to optimize juice production.
We use the Good Nature X-1 Mini.
- Max output rate: 3-6 gallons per hour (product dependent).
- Batch size: 5 lbs
- Adaptive pressure system.
- Fruit and vegetable juices.
Please see our Mixing Technologies for more information about fruit and vegetable processing equipment.
Homogenization is the process of making a product uniform. This process can be added seamlessly to the UHT pasteurization process, before or after pasteurization. Using jumpers the product flows continuously from the UHT system to the homogenizer where is it pressurized with up to 6000 PSI before jumping back to the UHT system.
- Processing rate: Typically 1.5-2.5L per min (must be synchronized with Microthermics).
- Max. homogenization pressure: 6000 PSI.
- Max. operation temperature: 245°F (Can be placed before or after pasteurization stage).
- Protein shakes, flavored dairy products, formulated fruit and vegetable beverages.
High pressure homogenizer
The high pressure homogenizer is capable of homogenizing products at a cellular level, disrupting cells and creating a uniformed product.
We use the Mini DeBee Homogenizer.
- Processing rate: Max. 380ml/min (product dependent)
- Batch capacity: 1 Liter reservoir or Tri-Clover attachment for continuous flow.
- Max. homogenization pressure: 45,000 PSI.
- Create highly stable emulsions with product specific encapsulations of ingredients such as color, nutrients or structural components.
- High pressures may reduce concentrations of microorganisms and active enzymes.
The Vertical Cutter uses a powerful motor and interchangeable cutting blades to produce a smooth textured product from a variety of solid and liquid ingredients.
We use the Robot Coupe R30 T.
- Max batch capacity: 28L (31 Qt) or 34 lbs.
- Blade speed settings: 1800 & 3600 rpm.
- Blade type: Straight or serrated.
- Puree blends, smooth sauces, hummus and mousses.
- Reduce particle size of solids.
- Create temporary emulsions or suspensions using high-shear.
High shear mixer
The high shear mixer has a versatile mixing head that can create effective mixing patterns in liquid solutions while reducing particle size over time.
We use the Ross High Shear Mixer.
- Max batch capacity: 12L.
- Blade speed settings: 2,000-20,000 rpm.
- Blade type: Paddle mixing blade with interchangeable screen sizes.
- Puree blends, smooth sauces, combining liquid + solid ingredients.
- Particle size reduction.
- Create temporary emulsions or suspensions using high-shear.
We have the following equipment available for use:
- Alfa Laval Evaporator
- Alfa Laval Clara20
- Alfa Laval Multi Filtration Unit
- Alfa Laval Decanter
- Alfa Laval Astepo Piccolo
- Bertocchi CX-5
- MicroThermics HTST/UHT Pasteurizer
- GEA Ariete NS2006 Homogenizer
- Ultra-Clean Fill Hood
- ELEA Cellcrack III PEF
- Nyle FD2.5 Dehydrator
- Oden Benchtop Servo Filler
- Rational Combination Oven Cooker/Steamer
- Millrock Max53 Commercial Freeze Dryer
- Harvest Right Scientific Model Freeze Dryer
- Enwave NutraREV Vacuum Microwave Dehydrator
- Ross Ribbon Blender
- Ross High Shear Mixer
- Lee Scraped Surface Vacuum Kettle
- Lee Scraped Surface Open Kettle
- Dixie Can Seamer
- Axial Rotation FMC Steritort
- Agitating FMC Retort
- Dixie Vertical Still Retort
- Gaulin Homogenizer
- ProEngineering Batch Pasteurizer
- Amana Commercial Microwave
- Alto Shaam QC-100 Blast Freezer
- Inovenso Electrospinner
- Sorvall RC-5B Bottle Centrifuge
- UV Cidersure 3500
- Direct Steam Injection Pick Heater
- Mini DeBEE High Pressure Homogenizer
- Pigo PG104 Cherry Pitter
- Hobart Mixer
- Emery Thompson Ice Cream Machine
- Colloid Mill
- Robot Coupe R30
- Robot Coupe R6VN
- Koch Vacuum Sealer
- Malt Mill
- Goodnature X-1 Mini Juice Press
- Goodnature X-6 Accordion Press
- Rack and Frame Hydraulic Press
- 2 Ton Chiller
- 500L Jacketed Fermentation Tank with Large Baffle Agitator
- Carbonation Supplies:
- Cornelius kegs (1-5 gallons)
- Blichmann Quickcarb Pump
- Counter-Pressure Filler
- Oktober Can Seamer
- 12oz. Beverage Cans with Lids
In-line processing sensors:
- Dissolved Oxygen
- Centrifugal Pumps
- Lobe-Rotor Pumps
- Piston Pumps
- Air-Diaphragm Pumps
- Progressive Cavity Pumps
- Liquid Ring Vacuum Pumps