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Overview of Steam Jacket Kettle

Oct. 15, 2020

Kettles with steam jackets can produce greater volume and consistency while reducing preparation and cleaning work. This is a quick overview of this type of foodservice equipment.


Steam jacketed kettle: Overview

A kettle with a steam jacket uses steam energy to transfer heat to the food inside by conduction.

The energy used to operate the equipment (electricity, gas, and direct steam) helps determine the type of kettle available to the operator. Compared with the electric and gas models, the direct steam kettle has higher efficiency and the fastest cooking speed with the highest capacity. The size of the kettle ranges from 5 gallons to 200 gallons, although 40 gallons is the most common size that commercial foodservice operators tend to use.

Fixed floor models usually start with a 20-gallon capacity and then rise from there. In contrast, the tilting capacity of a floor-standing kettle is 20 to 200 gallons. The desktop kettle can hold 1 quart to 12 gallons of product.

Some tilt kettles have handles, while larger kettles use cranks. The fixed kettle includes a tangential discharge valve that can be opened to discharge the product from the container.

The working pressure of these kettles ranges from 45 PSI to 50 PSI, and the uniform temperature generated from the entire jacket surface is 267°F to 338°F.

These units use 304 or 316 stainless steel construction. Although 304 is designed for general use, such as boiling pasta, if the foodservice operator will prepare highly acidic foods (such as pasta sauce) in a kettle, the more durable 316 may be a better choice.

Most kettles have two-thirds of the jacket, which means that the device transfers heat not only from the bottom of the kettle (such as in a water storage tank in a stove) but also from the side. This greatly increases the surface area that absorbs energy into the product. The operator can also purchase a kettle with a jacket.

Most kettles come with optional accessories and functions that enhance the operation of specific applications, such as mixers, pumping valves, pot holders, and mixing faucets.

The new features of the kettle with a steam jacket include solid-state temperature control with self-diagnostics. The protective cover of the deflector helps protect people from burns.

How to know when to replace a kettle with a steam jacket?

A kettle with a steam jacket can be used for up to 20 years, depending on usage and maintenance methods. But here are four signs that it may be time to replace the kettle.

Leakage: If the mixing pressure gauge of the kettle is not in the "green zone" when it is cooling, it may indicate a leak. Also, look for visible leaks from the jacket area of the kettle.

High maintenance costs: If the maintenance costs of the old kettle start to become too high, it may be time to consider decommissioning and buy a new kettle.

Slow cooking: If the appliance takes longer to cook, it may be the main indication that the kettle is leaking or the heating element is malfunctioning. Both situations indicate that a new kettle may need to be replaced.

Material breakdown: Extensive use or acidic foods may cause pitting and/or external stress cracks in the inner tank, which may indicate the end of the kettle’s service life.

Jacketed Kettle With Mixer

Jacketed Kettle With Mixer

Application of gas jacketed kettle

Depending on the size and purpose, the steam sandwich kettle can be used in the front and back of the house to complete various tasks. Among the many ways that catering service operators use steam sandwich kettles, there are the following.

The types of food that operators usually prepare in these units include soups, seasonings, stocks, pasta, gravies, stews, meat, beans, rice, and desserts.

Although operators usually use jacketed steam kettles to slow down boiling and stewing, these devices can effectively reduce soups, beans, and liquids in the soup.

The operator can also incorporate the kettle in the cooking and cooling line to reheat or cool the food, the latter being connected with the cold water line.

Large governments, institutions, and canteen facilities often use large water bottles with pumps, vacuum bags, and various cooling methods to produce thousands of pre-packaged products that can be shipped to satellite facilities for use.

The stirrer arm can also be used as an accessory to some equipment to stir the product in the pot during mass cooking.


Maintenance of jacketed kettle with mixer

Proper cleaning and regular maintenance can help extend the life of the kettle. Here are nine maintenance tips to help foodservice operators maximize the return on investment of steam jacketed kettles.

1. Please use non-corrosive detergents when cleaning and disinfecting this equipment every day. Do not use chlorine cleaners, steel pads, wire brushes, and scrapers.

2. Lubricate the pinion bearings regularly and test the pressure relief valve every six months to ensure normal operation.

3. Immediately replace the missing screws on the control cover to ensure a waterproof seal and reduce the chance of water infiltration into the control box.

4. For kettles with marine latches, please make sure that they work normally and are not blocked by starch or other viscous foods.

5. Check the compound meter before use to make sure it is in the "green area" and not in the "ventilated area".

6. If necessary, supplement the internal semi-water with distilled water and liquid phase rust inhibitor or equivalent products.

7. Replace all steam seals on the direct heating kettle once a year or as needed.

8. Check regularly for any pitting or stress cracks and any possible leaks.

9. Do not spray water directly or indirectly on electrical or gas components during the cleaning process.


Energy efficiency and steam sandwich kettle

Newer kettle technology is more energy-efficient and can save operators in the long term.

Compared with other cooking methods, the kettle has higher energy efficiency because of the transmission of steam energy through conduction and the lined jacket structure increases the surface area.

According to the specifications of individual manufacturers, other options can be provided in some cases for digital temperature readings and food cooling.

The kettle also has a better ergonomic design and is easy to use.

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