Chilling & Freezing
SRT PORK AND BEEF FREEZING TUNNEL
Providing faster, automatic freezing to facilitate expansion for a contract cool store operator.
Lineage Logistics is a contract cool store operator which sorts, packages and freezes pork and beef products for export. At the time of this project their Asten warehouse facility was a separate company, Vriescentrale Asten.
To expand their operations and expand their export markets, Vriescentrale Asten required improved freezing facilities. Their existing blast freezers took several days to freeze product and no longer had sufficient capacity to freeze everything being processed on-site.
Their primary objective was to achieve a faster freezing time in order to improve shelf life, enable adherence to the highest food safety standards and enhance operating efficiencies.
Energy efficiency and the use of environmentally friendly refrigerants were also key considerations.
One of the challenges was that the freezing equipment needed to fit within a small footprint available inside the existing factory.
We custom-designed and manufactured a MILMEQ® Single Retention Time (SRT) Tunnel to meet Vriescentrale Asten’s needs.
The tunnel operates at minus 45°C to shock freeze meat products to a core temperature of minus 25°C in just 18 hours. Having cartons loaded on shelves means consistent conditions are applied to all cartons, which retains product quality. Automatic loading via the conveyor system eliminates the need for manual handling.
The tunnel has given Vriescentrale Asten a freezing capacity of 160 tonnes per day.
The tunnel’s refrigeration system is powered by natural refrigerants carbon dioxide (CO2) and ammonia (NH3). To keep the levels of NH3 to a minimum, a cascade system is used where CO2 is applied to freeze the product.
Cameras were installed to provide remote monitoring of the tunnel. These were particularly useful during the commissioning stage, and allow ongoing contact with MHM Automation for speedy diagnosis and resolution of issues at any stage.
The installation of the tunnel and resulting fast freezing of meat has enabled Vriescentrale Asten to achieve NL 514 EG and NL 5694 EG certifications for food safety, which have facilitated their entry into new export markets.
This combination of sales growth and savings in operating costs saw Vriescentrale Asten achieve payback for their investment in the tunnel in less than two years, which was half the time they had budgeted for.