Supermarket Perimeter - February 2021 - 52

EQUIPMENT

Commissary business
picks up
Blast freezing is becoming
more and more popular for
commissaries, central kitchens
and other offsite facilities that
provide value-added and other
foods for grocery retailers.
" Consumers are better
educated and have been
exposed to fresh products, "
Imberechts said.
It makes a lot of sense to
have a total approach of the
cold technology both in the
commissary - inline solutions
like a tunnel freezer - and in the
instore bakery where cabinets
like the H-cabinets (blast freezer
and storage freezer combo)
or the Variotherm cabinets
(modular sectional freezer and/
or refrigerator based on the daily
needs) create a real flexibility in
the offering, he said.
In terms of sanitation and
hygiene, Koma now offers an
optional proprietary " KAM unit " -
a blue light ionizer that cleans the
air in the retarder proofers.
" Proofers operate at
temperature and humidity levels
that are ideal for the growth of
bacteria and mold, " Imberechts
said. " So this optional feature is a
welcome addition. "

TUNNEL or SPIRAL?
by Dan Malovany
Freezers come in many options but deciding on a tunnel
or spiral system depends on several factors, including
cost, throughput need, production speeds and space
available.
Tunnel freezers often require linear space or a greater
horizontal footprint. Spirals take advantage of vertical
space.
Chris Johnson, business development director,
Praxair, Inc., a Linde company, noted that belt collapse,
directional speed and air velocity or direction differ in
tunnel and spiral freezers.
" Belt collapse results when a spiral freezer conveyor
belt transitions from traveling in a straight path to
traveling in a circular path, " he said.
Because the inside diameter of a spiral belt is much
smaller than the outer diameter, the shorter inner belt
travels at a slower speed.
" Products must be spaced appropriately to absorb this
collapse and not become pressed against one another
and/or deformed, " Johnson explained.
Paper, cardboard or other materials may be used to
keep products separate, or the products can be placed
on the belt after the collapse takes place.
Additionally, consider the directional speed for small,
easy-to-freeze products. Linear tunnel freezers, for
instance, can handle a high-production volume.
Moreover, evaluate air velocity and direction when
designing a freezer. Johnson said tunnel freezers
typically blow directly down onto the items, while spirals
tend to blow across products, and both systems must be
designed to not interfere with the quality of the product.
Lars Soderman, sales director, Scanico, a Middleby
Bakery company, said Scanico tunnel and spiral freezers
rely on consistent air temperature and velocity as
products travel on belt widths ranging from 16 inches up
toward 60 inches for the larger tunnels.
" By regulating the belt speed, air velocity over the
product, plus the internal air temperature inside the
spiral chamber, the freezing process is optimized for each
individual product to ensure best final product quality, "
he said.
Just as in mixing and baking, freezing is all about time
and temperature. Achieving consistent results involves
providing consistent product and freezer temperatures
and monitoring dwell time.
Switching from one product to another requires
maintaining this delicate balance.

Cost, space and production speed are among the variables that go into
choosing a tunnel or spiral freezing system.
52 - FEBRUARY 2021

supermarketperimeter.com

AMF BAKERY SYSTEMS

popular as operators can easily
see the positive impact of the
blast freezing process on the
final quality of the products,
he added.
By using cold temperature
and a high air flow, it's possible
to decrease faster the core
temperature of the fresh
products.
" This allows for the formation
of smaller crystals than a slower
process, " Imberechts said. " The
texture of the products isn't
damaged, and all the flavor of the
fresh products is entrapped in
this active freezing phase. "
Another huge benefit of
Koma systems, he added, is its
remote monitoring capabilities.
The brand's monitoring team is
currently monitoring more than
10,000 installations worldwide on
a 24/7/365 basis.
Imberechts said it's easier to
understand why.
" With more and more products
in the freezer in our industry,
we're talking about substantial
investment being protected from
damage, " he said.
" Defective fan, door left open,
low refrigerant level, door heater
not working can be the source
of expensive repairs or product
losses. "


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Supermarket Perimeter - February 2021

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