The company has announced the European launch of its Freshline DM tunnel freezer which lets manufacturers freeze individually quick frozen (IQF) and non-IQF food products in a single machine. Three years in development, the system was introduced into the North American and Asian markets last year.
Cost savings, capacity increase
The equipment offers “significant capital savings of around 40 per cent” on the purchase of separate systems, the company’s European business development manager Ann Callens told FoodProductionDaily.com.
The company said the Freshline DM tunnel allows users of mechanical and cryogenic freezers to increase capacity by between 10 and 15 per cent thanks to the system’s ability to handle up to 1,800 kg of product an hour and a cut in downtime realised through ease of changeovers. It also improves IQF quality in seafood, meat and poultry, vegetables, fruit, dairy produce and pasta, said Air Products.
“In allowing operators to switch easily between IQF and non-IQF products without the need to change equipment, the DM tunnel freezer maximises uptime and optimises efficiency, while giving producers and contract manufacturers the ability to adapt quickly to changing market demand,” Callens said.
Companies will also be able to extend their product lines in a bid to take advantage of the burgeoning retail frozen food market, with 2007 figures for the European sector estimated at €58bn a year, said the company.
The dual mode freezer, which has a small footprint, can be installed alongside existing freezing equipment or as a replacement system. Installation is said to be simple and the modular design permits cleaning in place and compliance with all international hygiene standards.
The system also brings “significant qualitative advantages” such as rapid and consistent cryogenic cooling which means foods are frozen quickly and efficiently. This results in smaller ice crystals which reduces hydration loss during the freezing process itself and subsequent thawing, said an Air Products statement. The retention of moisture through cryogenic freezing improves final product quality and maximises value.
The company said it could not release cost details for the equipment as these varied significantly according to precise customer requirements – with most clients choosing the rental option.
“We developed the system because our customers were telling us they needed equipment that was both flexible and more economic,” said Callens. “Competition is intense, and gaining competitive advantage and brand loyalty is dependent on maximising efficiency, flexibility and quality. The dual mode concept offers a single solution to the many and varied demands placed on the producers at a low capital cost.”
The company said it works with clients to design and install the system, as well as offering ongoing technical support.