Demand rises for automated cheese chilling

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Starfrost installs a Helix Spiral freezer at Wrights Food Group.
Starfrost installs a Helix Spiral freezer at Wrights Food Group.

Related tags Food preservation Food

Starfrost has secured a contract with Milmeq in Australia and New Zealand to supply food processing equipment across the UK and Ireland.

The British freezing and chilling system manufacturer will expand its portfolio supplying Milmeq’s Carton Tunnels for chilling and freezing food products packaged in cartons or boxes. 


Longer retention times

The range includes the Single Retention Tunnel (SRT) and Multiple Retention Tunnel (MRT) for packaged meat, dairy, poultry and seafood products that need longer retention times.

Robert Long, sales director, Starfrost, told the biggest challenge right now is demand for automated cheese chilling machinery.

Many dairy companies in the UK and Ireland are expanding and therefore adding automated chilling equipment to their processing lines​,” he said.

Milmeq’s carton tunnels are ideal for dairy manufacturers who want to expand their processing lines and increase product capacity​.  

Smart technology and bespoke systems can provide automated chilling or freezing of dairy produce whilst still preserving product quality, colour, flavour and shape​.

Certain design elements in the configuration of the Milmeq carton tunnel can be adapted for hot formed cheese block production​.”

Glanbia, US

Milmeq recently commissioned a SRT for dairy processor Glanbia at its Twin Falls plant in Idaho.

The SRT, also known as a Realcold Carton Tunnel or Rapid Cooler, automatically chills 3,420 cheese blocks to a set temperature within a 24 hour cycle.

The tunnel design ensures 40lb blocks of cheese receive exactly the same treatment through the cooling process.

Long said the next phase of the partnership is to train Starfrost’s UK engineering team in service and maintenance production and to offer local support for customers that invest in Milmeq’s automatic chilling and freezing tunnels.

Established in 1984, Starfrost has worked with Wrights Food Group and Swensen’s ice-cream.

Wrights Food Group

It designed a Helix Spiral freezer for Wrights with a processing capacity of 1,500 kg/hr for its ready meals and pies, which features a 30inch wide conveyor belt with 24.5 tiers spiraling upward around a single rotating drum, giving a belt length of 375metres.

It also installed a Double Drum Helix Spiral freezer for Minor Dairy in Thailand, with a processing capacity of 1,500 kg/hr for ice cream products for food service outlets regionally and overseas. 

The firm owns Swensen’s, one of Thailand’s largest ice cream brands, and asked Starfrost for a high capacity freezing system to increase ice cream production at its processing facility near Bangkok.

The firm needed an in-line freezing system for a long retention time to harden large containers of ice cream.

Prior to the deal, Starfrost worked with Milmeq (formerly The Realcold Group), whose HQ are in Auckland, New Zealand, for 10 years as a supplier of its spiral freezers and IQF (individual quick frozen) systems to food manufacturers in New Zealand and Australia.

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