A spiral freezer is a common piece of equipment found in most food processing facilities. These freezers are used to quickly decrease the temperature of packaged foods in order to prepare them for transport or storage. They are an ideal solution for situations where high production demands are met, but quality must not be sacrificed.
Spiral freezers are significant users of energy within a plant, and incorporating advanced monitoring and control techniques can result in significant energy savings and improvements in product quality. By using an automated system, the number of defrost cycles can be significantly reduced, allowing more products to be frozen during each cycle and resulting in an overall reduction in energy usage.
Many factors impact the operation of a spiral freezer, and the optimal operating conditions for different products can vary significantly. For example, belt speed, air flow and temperature, as well as the product geometry, weight, and ingredients can all have an effect on target freezing characteristics. If the freezer is not operated at the correct conditions for each product type, this can lead to inconsistent cooling and freezing of the products that are produced. This can also reduce the quality of the finished products, which is not only costly to produce, but also leads to decreased customer satisfaction and higher return rates.
This can be a costly problem, especially if the plant has multiple lines of different products that are produced throughout the day. Veregy’s research has shown that in the past, a lot of time was spent by plant staff to manually adjust spiral freezer parameters during product changeover. The process was labor intensive and also led to unproductive downtime. Introducing automated control of the freezers to be integrated with refrigeration and process equipment controls will allow the freezer to automatically update the operating parameters depending on the specific product being manufactured.
AFE’s packaged spiral freezers are able to provide this type of customization and can be up and running in less than a week, as opposed to the several weeks that it may take to install a larger site built model. The compact size of the freezer allows it to be installed in spaces that would not be able to accommodate a full-sized unit.
Our packaged spiral freezers are also capable of changing conveyor belt tiers and the tier pitch in order to provide maximum flexibility in the production line. They can also be fitted with a single or twin drum and either a direct drive or low tension conveyor belt, as required by the application.
In addition to the increased flexibility and capacity provided by these systems, they also offer a high level of reliability and hygiene and operational efficiency. The freezers are able to extend the operating period between defrosts up to 14 days, reducing downtime and saving on power costs. They are suitable for a wide range of applications including chilled meat, fish, bakery airy products and prepared foods.