The bowl cutter is the commonly used meat chopping equipment designed to produce small or very small (“finely comminuted”) lean meat and fat particles. Bowl cutters consist of a horizontally revolving bowl and a set of curved knives rotating vertically on a horizontal axle at high speeds of up to 5,000 rpm. Many types and sizes exist with bowl volumes ranging from 10 to 2000 litres.
The most useful size for small- to medium-size processing is 20 to 60 litres. In bigger models bowl and knife speed can be regulated by changing gears. Bowl cutters are equipped with a strong cover. This lid protects against accidents and its design plays a crucial role in the efficiency of the chopping process by routing the mixture flow. Number, shape, arrangement, and speed of knives are the main factors determining the performance of the cutter. Bowl cutters should be equipped with a thermometer displaying the temperature of the meat mixture in the bowl during chopping.
A bowl cutter is commonly used for the emulsifying of meat filling for sausages.
Modern large scale bowl cutters may have devices to operate under a vacuum, which helps to improve colour and texture of the meat products by keeping oxygen out of the meat mixes and avoid air pockets. Cutter knives should be adjusted to a distance of 1-2 mm from the bowl for optimal cutting (check the manufacturers recommendations for each model). Most of the large and high-speed bowl cutters are equipped with mechanical discharger devices for emptying the cutter. The process of chopping in a bowl cutter is used for producing fine comminuted products such as frankfurters, bologna, liver sausage etc., and enables processors to offer a much wider range of products.