Tacoma, Washington, USA – September 25, 2007 – With sales in organic and natural products continuing to grow, a unique company in Tacoma, Washington, is more popular than ever. MCD Technologies, Inc. finds themselves in the forefront of recent food trends with their innovative “speed of light” heat transfer technologies, Refractance Window® drying and evaporating
MCD’s patented technologies for naturally drying and concentrating foods, functional foods, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals is catching the attention of manufacturers worldwide because they retain the integrity of nutrients, color, aroma, and original flavor of a wide range of products. As the demand for authentic, all natural, and organic* ingredients grows, the company is poised to deliver.
Their unique heat transfer technologies utilize, oddly enough, water as the medium to dry and concentrate a wide variety of products as diverse as bio-active kefir, scrambled egg mix, and aloe vera gel with low or no additives. This makes their drying process truly natural.
Richard Magoon, MCD’s Vice President of R & D, grew up surrounded by adults and with few other children around. His father, a sign writer and expert in the electrical, neon and building trades, shaped Richard to be an independent thinker. He devised a game in which they challenged each other to describe how common objects were made. A variation the game consisted of devising improved alternatives to common products. The games grew more difficult as Richard got older. His idea of play was making things and flying airplanes at age 14. By age 17 he was an aircraft and power plant mechanic and journeyman produce man.
Magoon discovered the principle behind Refractance Window® drying while on vacation in El Salvador in 1979. He was captivated by the exotic beauty and flavors of fruits and vegetables available there, yet saddened and frustrated by the fact that their limited shelf-life made it impossible for them to be fully enjoyed before rotting in the heat and humidity. Also, it was impossible for others outside the region to experience them. Because of his unique background and his drive to create solutions to everyday problems, Magoon decided to create an alternative to standard drying and evaporating.
While swimming in the ocean during this trip, he looked up at the under surface of the water and took notice of the reflective, mirrored surface. He had been wondering what energy transfer system would be better than dry air to preserve the delicious produce in that Central American country and now something clicked. What became apparent to him in the following days is now leading-edge technology. Since 1989, Magoon has dedicated himself to expanding dried ingredient quality and availability in a number of categories with numerous products perfected for clients all over the world.
“I am a good example of what can be developed in a young mind. What I saw as a game with my father was training to eventually create something unique for mankind,” explains Magoon, whose stints in the Air Force as a Flight Engineer, and with the Atomic Energy Commission as a Radiation Specialist equipped him with invaluable, hands-on, research and development experience. “Today’s LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability**) consumer desires products with authentic ingredients. This is truly possible and the best part about all of it is that our process simply mimics principles in nature.”
How it works: a slurry of liquid is evenly spread onto the top surface of a continuous sheet of transparent plastic. This impermeable conveyor belt floats on a surface of hot water
(210° F / 99° C or less). The Refractance Window® process allows infrared energy (inherent in the circulating water beneath the belt) to pass at the speed of light directly through the conveyor belt into the liquid slurry, causing extremely rapid, but gentle evaporation in the product. The “window” allowing this rapid transfer of infrared energy closes as the product loses moisture, and final drying is mainly by conducted heat from the hot water bath beneath the conveyor belt. During the drying process evaporation keeps product temperatures low, thereby maintaining superior levels of product integrity: color, flavor, aroma, functionality, nutrients and actives. Retention of these attributes is the result of low temperature drying at atmospheric pressure, as opposed to under a vacuum. For instance, when drying food there is no need to capture essences for later inclusion back into the product, because very little of these volatiles dissipate in the proprietary process. The result is a superior dried product that has only reached 140° to 160° F / 60° to 71° C or less.
Washington State University studies, funded by Washington Technology Center, have documented qualitative and energy-use aspects of Refractance Window® drying and evaporating. Refractance Window® dried strawberry and carrot retain similar amounts of Vitamins C and A when compared to freeze-dried specimens. The university, under a SBIR grant, is currently researching the capability of Refractance Window® drying to gently dry nutraceuticals in order to preserve antioxidants and other heat sensitive components.
When Magoon developed the process he was keenly aware that he also wanted it to be environmentally-responsible. Because of his childhood in the pristine outskirts of Tacoma and his affinity for the untouched beauty in travels to Japan, Central and South America, he knew the day would come when consumers would be more environmentally conscious than they had been in the 70’s and 80’s, so he took added care to develop his technology to be energy- saving and environmentally-responsible. To his credit, a Washington State University study found that his Refractance Window® Evaporator is 99% efficient in heat energy transfer. It also found that the Refractance Window® dryer’s energy efficiency is equal to the highest ever documented. Along with reduced energy, Refractance Window® drying also preserves air quality in and around the drying facility because little essence is lost. In addition, the process does not generate exhaust dust, a significant pollution problem worldwide.
Magoon and his wife, Karin, who helped write his patents, now sell their specialized dryers and evaporators worldwide, including North, Central and South America, the Middle East, China, and Australia. MCD also offers contract drying and evaporating in their Certified Organic and Kosher facility that houses pilot and production Refractance Window® dryers and evaporators. With organic food sales alone topping 13.8 billion in the U.S. in 2005, and growth of 11% expected from 2007 through 2010, the Magoons have positioned themselves advantageously.
Today, because MCD Technologies has been ahead of trends in the marketplace, the Magoons believe their hard work and dedication to providing truly natural processes manifested in superior products rarely found with other drying methods is set to pay off.
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