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The potato slices move on a conveyor belt to large cookers which can fry up to 4000kg of chips per hour. The frying operation is normally continuous with fresh oil being added as it is used up in the cooking process. Control of temperatures along the cooker are important as is ensuring that the final moisture content of the product is less than 2%. It is equally important not to overcook the product.

Batch style potato chips / crisps are produced on non-continuous fryers on a batch basis. The fryer temperature profile differs significantly from that of continuous fryer, and results in products that are harder, and crunchier than the standard process.

Lower fat potato chip / crisp products are typically produced in the same way as standard crisps. However the product is only partially cooked before superheated steam removes any surface oil and completes the cooking process. In this way potato chips / crisps that are as much as a third lower in fat than standard potato chips /crisps may be produced.

Quality Check

Many quality checks are carried out throughout manufacture. For example, oil quality, moisture, colour are key quality parameters that are regularly measured and controlled. This can be done both manually and inline using automated systems.

After cooking, the product is inspected to ensure it meets the specification. Traditionally this was a manual operation but nowadays it is normally done by an inline sorting machine. This optical sorting machine utilises an array of cameras (UV, laser, visual, etc.) to check for chip / crisp colour and product defects and blemishes.

Positioned to inspect the chips /crisps as they come out of the fryer, these machines will detect any which are too dark or too pale or do not meet the specification. Rejection of defects identified is by means of a targeted jet of air, which blows them into the reject bin.

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