It only took 30 years for continuous blanching technology to “catch up” with soak tanks as far as bean quality is concerned. But during that time, continuous systems also were able to reduce processing times to a fraction of what the soak tanks can provide. Because of the reduced processing times, continuous, automated systems have captured approximately 50 percent of the dry bean processing market. This market share gain has been aided by the integration of preprogrammed PLC control systems that provide precise, automated control of the process functions, including recipe management. The PLCs provide uniform heating and cooling achieving a totally consistent end process.

In comparison to batch (tank) processing, the PLCs used in conjunction with the continuous blanchers deliver a level of consistency in processing that cannot be obtained with manual-operated batch systems. Human intervention is always capable of introducing arbitraries of process time fluctuations, temperature changes, bean-to-water ratio differences, inconsistent stirring and deviations in recipe applications. Not all dry beans take the same amount of time to hydrate. Recipe differences can vary from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the type of bean.

Lines that have changed over from batch to the most technologically-modern continuous systems have seen a large improvement in quality. The beans are typically uniformly blanched, and properly hydrated, not under- or over- hydrated. The product looks the same, has the same color and it is the same size after blanching.

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