VALENCIA, June 9 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The Generalitat Valenciana, through the Agència Valenciana de la Innovació (AVI), is funding the development of a heated tray via USB to heat the menus served to people admitted to hospital centers, thus ensuring that the dishes are up to date maintaining the ideal temperature at the time of its consumption. In this way, the food becomes more appetizing, which in turn leads to an improvement in the quality of service and patient satisfaction.
The innovation project, christened “D-CALENT”, is managed by the Technological Institute of Plastics, Aimplas, which counts for its development in collaboration with the Department of Electrical Engineering of the University of Valencia. This is an initiative funded with more than 170,000 euros as part of the program for the evaluation and transfer of research results to companies, with which the AVI promotes the development of prototypes, technology demonstrators and pilot projects.
Although hospital menus are served in isothermal trays to precisely keep the food at an ideal temperature, there is a chance that hospital patients may receive the food lukewarm or already cold, as the insulation of the current trays is sometimes insufficient to avoid the heat loss that occurs from the Time of plating or heating the preparations until they are distributed.
To respond to this problem, Aimplas is developing a heatable tray made of thermoplastic materials that allows both regeneration, that is, bringing chilled or frozen food to consumption temperature, and the on-site heating of menus for each patient, without having to resort to it any external element.
For this purpose, work is being done on the development and integration of a thin-layer, flexible, heatable resistor in the structure of the tank.
“All this will allow us to have a cheap, efficient and reusable solution to be used in any hospital environment,” specifies Víctor Sevilla, one of the researchers and technicians on the Aimplas Engineering cell project, in a statement.
There is currently no reusable and economical solution on the market that allows you to heat or regenerate food in your own room. Traditional microwaves are the only alternative, but installing them in every room would involve high investment, maintenance and cleaning costs.
However, the design in which Aimplas works allows the patient to heat their menu on the spot, just before consuming it, as the tray has a USB port for connection to a traditional power outlet with a lower efficient energy consumption of 30 w disposes In addition, the device, made of thermoplastic materials, reaches between 70 and 80 degrees Celsius, a sufficient temperature to perform its task.
Likewise, “the tray will be compatible with the industrial processes that take place in hospital kitchens, with a focus on automatic washing and the standard dimensions of this type of service, as well as food safety,” concludes researcher Victor Seville.
The initiative will make it possible to evaluate the research and development previously developed by Aimplas, which had been working on this type of device with the support of the AVI. Likewise, the contribution of the Department of Electrical Engineering of the UV will help optimize the design of the printed heating resistor and analyze its behavior, as well as validate the subsequent implementation of this technology in the commercial structure.
And the point is that the results of the project will be transferred to different companies in the container and packaging industry; to catering and convenience food companies; and health research centers.
In this context, the Regional Minister for Innovation, Universities and Digital Society, Josefina Bueno, highlighted the numerous opportunities for innovation that are emerging in the health sector, to which a large part of the community’s scientific and technological community is dedicated. Valenciana: ” The challenge now is to consolidate a strong business fabric in this area, which will allow us to diversify our economy and increase its added value.”
For his part, the Executive Vice-President of the AVI, Andrés García Reche, highlighted the benefits offered by collaboration between actors in the innovation system in solving challenges, particularly related to health: “This initiative, which is the result of the joint work of Aimplas and the University of Valencia, aims to continue improving the quality of hospital rehabilitation, which is a fundamental element for people admitted to our health centers to recover as quickly and satisfactorily as possible from their respective ailments. .
“D-CALENT” is oriented towards the Strategy for Smart Specialization of the Valencian Community, known as RIS3, which is coordinated by the Ministry of Innovation, Universities, Science and Digital Society and which, as axes of action, aims both to increase the quality of and to develop innovative products and the promotion of advanced manufacturing processes
In the same way, the project also follows the conclusions of the Committee for Innovation in Food and Hospital Nutrition, which considered one of the priority challenges to be the development and application of new preparation methods or marketing formats that guarantee organoleptic qualities longer. optimal food.