Vortex Dehydration Technology, LLC is a cutting edge company focused on integrating Frank Polifka's “Windhexe” into the meat processing industry. It is our goal to meet the challenging needs of recovering agricultural and industrial byproducts and developing environmentally friendly uses for them.
In the earlly stages the primary focus for VDT was on poultry byproducts. Testing showed that the Windhexe was an excellent drying device, with the unique characteristic that the nutritional value of finished products remained higher than any heat process. The only limitation for the Windhexe was that it does not handle products that are extremely elastic, such as fat, very well. This forced the mixing of corn to absorb the fat, and, the combination was just not very efficient or easy to integrate into poultry companies.
This early site was at the University of Maryland. It was used to test materials and to prove the performance of the Windhexe under various conditions. Over 800 tests were performed and documented, which served as the basis for designing feeding, handling, and other support devices for various products. Here the stack discharge tests showed negligible discharge of potentially harmful pollutants, and, the nutritional values of finished products were proven.
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Year of transition and then refocus
By then, there were over 800 tests of various materials recorded, and all showed success other than the “elastic” products. These products were so diverse, from food products, to energy related like coal and ethanol production, to medical products and neutraceuticals. Some of the most successful were energy related, especially coal. The Windhexe showed the expected attribute of drying by evaporation, but beyond this, also produced a mechanical separation of moisture, making the process become new science for that industry. Testing was successfully done and an installation made in Australia to dry lignite coal. This project continues with dramatic results as the company continues to refine the method of handling and burning the final powder.
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The Introduction of AlfaLaval.
In the middle of the transition to an energy related focus, AlfaLaval agreed to test their systems to remove fat from the food products that were abandoned by the Windhexe group. It worked. The addition of the preliminary step of using an AlfaLaval decanter/centrifuge in the system made the solids an easy run for the Windhexe. This suddenly made all the contacts and work in the poultry industry valuable. Something else became quickly obvious, however. The use of the decanter not only prepares the solids by spinning off the fat, but, it also removes over 2/3 of the water. This means the Windhexe became 1/3 the size it was from previous tests without the centrifuge in front of it. The refocus to the original plan was initiated with a commercial installation sold in the fourth quarter and commissioned in Aug 2003.
The Clinton N.C. test site was outfitted with higher volume feeding and discharge devices to prove the system under sustained run conditions, and, to test new products.
The site was outfitted with AlfaLaval components to remove fat before entering the Windhexe. This site was the basis for the guarantees of performance for poultry and by-product systems.
The AlfaLaval evaporator was added to concentrate liquids into extracts for laboratory testing of nutritional and medical properties of liquid or fortified powders.
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Year of Product Launches
The first commercial system was set up to be a high payback, by-product recovery system for a poultry processing facility in Goldsboro, NC. The system was developed as a modular setup with the components integrated into modular frames to provide easy installations, space saving layouts, and correctly chosen and sized components. It actually contains two systems, liquid and powder. The liquid system is a setup to process DAF (Dissolved Air Flotation, sometimes called sludge or skimmings) into high value oil or fat, used in animal feeds. Interestingly, the DAF system has over 60 installations in the US by AlfaLaval. Their view to align with VDT was to leverage their sales efforts and to attach to an innovative group with knowledge of the powder systems portion of food processing. The powder system also utilizes part of the liquid system to prepare byproduct meat components like skin or backs, into both high value fat and chicken powder.
The next commercial systems will be similar modules, but will be more dedicated to either DAF or Powder systems. These can be for animal feeds, like the first project, or as edible systems to produce liquid components like higher value broth, extracts, and flavorings, or, powder components for bouillon, powder for dried soups or marination flavorings.
The product launches are being carefully planned and added to the sales support structure for food products.
The link with Alfa Laval was solidified as VDT agreed to become a distributor of their systems and components during 2003. This, combined with the direct association with Tencarva Machinery, makes the development and sale of commercially viable modular systems realistic for large scale production and follow up.
As markets are properly identified for edible fat, powders and their respective paybacks known, we intend to launch both the inedible and edible powder system next. This is a proven process, and will be launched with proper paybacks and definition for sales people in place. Efforts to pursue other markets, previously identified by successful test results, are on-going in food products, energy, and refuse.
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2004 - 2005
VDT completed the licensing of the Windhexe technology for all markets and became an intellectual property holding company.
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