Spiral Freezers & IQF Freezers – Installation, Repair and Maintenance
Like any mechanical component, spiral freezers break down, and any downtime can have a serious impact on the production process and profitability. With a focus on spiral freezer design, installation, maintenance, and repair, Toban Engineering provide a reliable and experienced engineering service dedicated to spiral freezers, IQF Systems, and conveyor based freezing systems
Our work takes our teams of experienced engineers to food production facilities all over the world. We operate on ongoing preventative maintenance programmes on spiral freezer systems, and also offer rapid response on breakdowns.
Inspections, diagnostics, and specialist services on spiral freezing systems
Our clients in the frozen food industry will request us to follow up the breakdown repair service with an investigation into how the spiral freezer can be redesigned to prevent further breakdowns, or improve efficiency and productivity.
System redesigns like this draw on the experience gleaned working on the frozen food production systems of many manufacturers. We can deploy the best aspects of these different systems to enhance your existing installation. A part of this process often involves us procuring used and refurbished freezing hardware. Luckily we tend to know what is available and what is going to become available, so we are able to cost-effectively enhance and modify spiral freezer systems.
Typical Spiral Freezers Tasks
The following are examples of typical tasks we would carry out on spiral freezers during the course of our week.
- Oil Sampling Programmes.
- On-site Repairs.
- PLC Programming.
- Panel Re-Wiring.
- Spare Parts Service.
- Modifications to Existing Spiral Systems.
- First Provers.
Spiral Freezers Facts
What is a spiral freezer? The food processing and food production industries require specialist commercial freezing systems to operate on a continual, production line basis. These are known in the trade as spiral freezers, and they will allow food producers to;
- Freeze food products individually, or in set batches
- Adjust airflow and belt / conveyor speeds to allow increased freezing speeds depending on the production/cost requirements.
- Reduce product weight loss during the freezing process
- Ensure the product is frozen quickly
- Ensure the product is frozen consistently
- Ensure the quality of the product is not impaired during the freezing process.
Spiral freezers operate using a mechanical conveyor system to pass food through a continuous freezing process. Their construction will depend on the specific installation, but they can be a particularly good choice where floor space is restricted as they utilise vertical space better than many other floorspace-hungry conveyor systems. The downside of this from our point of view is that spiral freezers can be less accessible and slightly harder to work in – however this, as they say, is our problem. Suffice to say that we are experienced enough to work around this issue.
Like most industrial processes, the machinery used in spiral freezing systems has been specifically designed to maximise efficiency in that particular production line. As a result, although there are numerous manufacturers of spiral freezers, each freezer will have it’s own unique characteristics, features….and flaws. This is where Toban Engineering step in – an independent engineering service specialising in spiral freezers for the frozen food industry.
IQF Systems Facts
What is an IQF Freezer? Individual Quick Frozen systems are a subset of the spiral freezing systems described above. IQF systems are used for food products with very short shelf lives that need to be rapidly frozen before their condition deteriorates and their value is diminished. The ‘Individual’ aspect of the freezing is self-explanatory – the food needs to be frozen, but it needs to be kept in distinct packages for resale. Freezing two million prawns into one gigantic pink clump isn’t going to win you any prizes!
In IQF Spiral freezers, the key distinguishing factors are the way in which the products are handled so that the heat transfer is at it’s most efficient. This can involve the food passing through a two stage process, with the first stage involving a section of the IQF freezer dedicated to ‘fluidising’ the food by passing cold air over it from a centrifugal fan. In this phase the food is transported on a conveyor with eccentric bearings, which keeps the food in motion to stop clumping, and reduces contact time with the surface of the conveyor.
By using cold air instead of carbon dioxide or nitrogen, the operational running costs for IQF freezers are relatively low. The health and safety overheads are also lower when you use air instead of CO² or N².