ASME-Landmark:Anderson-Barngroer Cont. Rotary Pressure Sterilizer


Prior to 1920, a problem had baffled engineers for years: How to introduce a continuous stream of filled, sealed cans into a pressurized chamber full of steam; heat the contents uniformly and cook the cans for a prescribed length of time; then retrieve and cool them under pressure in the same continuous stream. At that time, the standard method of cooking, or sterilizing, canned products was in a closed retort that required up to 15 men to operate and long times for the heat to penetrate to the center of the immobile cans.

The solution was supplied by the Anderson-Barngrover Company of San Jose and Albert R. Thompson, its chief engineer, who devised and patented the Continuous Rotary Pressure Sterilizer, in 1920. The sterilizer's precisely synchronized steam-tight pocket valve plopped cans accurately into the reel channels in perfect timing, and cans went directly from the cooker to the cooler. The rotary action provided gentle agitation, causing the little bubble of headspace in each can to move through the product, stirring it up and promoting more even heating within, which further shortened the cooking time.

The continuous pressure sterilizer brought automation to the food industry; reduced cook room labor from as much as 15 to 1; reduced steam consumption by 50%; produced a uniform product throughout the can run; and produced a better quality product, turning out canned goods with better color, flavor, and texture. See ASME website for more information