Spiral freezers are widely used in the food industry to quickly chill or freeze fresh products during production. High moisture content in fresh food and the quality of air surrounding the intake to a freezer can lead to excessive frost and ice build-up. The only way to continue production is to shut down and clear the ice – resulting in downtime and incurring cost.
Ice build-up in spiral freezers used in the food industry is a common problem. A supplier to one of the world’s leading fast food chains experienced this problem in the production of one of its lines; a potato-based food that, after cooking, was quickly cooled on a spiral freezer.
This process presented two challenges:
- The base ingredient of the product was potato – with naturally high moisture content
- The quality of the air surrounding the intake to the freezer had a slightly higher than normal moisture content
The high moisture content in the potato and surrounding air combined was causing excessive ice build-up within the freezer. Regular unplanned shutdowns were needed, as often as once a day. Every shutdown resulted in a loss of production time and incurred costs while the ice was cleared.
Polygon, a global market leader in temporary climate solutions has been working with food manufacturers for over 40 years to help optimise production environments.
Polygon was approached to create a solution that would prevent ice build-up. A solution was needed that would produce a climate that was close to, or possibly better than, the evaporation temperature within the freezer. This design would need to be >-30°C dew point at approximately 5000m3hr.
Using their insight and experience, the Polygon team working closely with the customer were able to create a solution to achieve the ideal climate conditions and maintain strict health, hygiene and safety requirements. Polygon successfully installed dehumidifiers and chillers and quickly achieved design conditions.
The impact on the customer was great:
- The level of ice build-up within the freezer decreased significantly
- Shutdowns were reduced by 60%
- Overall production increased by 25% from 4 tonnes an hour to nearly 5 tonnes an hour