Blast freezing may employ dynamic phraseology to describe a fast chilling process, but the dramatic terminology actually outlines a necessary process with valid scientific actions.
The Anatomy of A Blast Freeze Operation
We illustrate the necessity of this rapid cooling mechanism by delving deep into the structure of organic matter. Fish and soft vegetable produce can easily be frozen, but ice crystals will inevitably form within the cellular walls of these goods when cooling proceeds at its native pace. These crystals rupture cell walls as the crystals expand, causing the fine tissue of meat and vegetables to degenerate into a spongy mess.
Thankfully, modern freezers work fast to ensure crystallization is minimized, but, for a truly high-quality freeze cycle that can defrost without causing damage to stored goods, air blast freezers are the way to go. These workhorse machines push icy air into freezer chambers so fast that ice crystals are minimized to the point that they cannot affect the cells of goods. The result is a dramatic increase in produce quality, an effect that becomes readily apparent when edible goods are defrosted for consumption.
Types of Air Blast Freezers
Powerful electric fans equipped with large blades work in banks to drive cold air across a wide range of products. Industry-standard air blast freezers are represented by the following two types:
A number of other parts can be added to these two core configurations to finesse the freeze cycle. Chamber baffles and alternative airflow patterns increase air distribution, thus maximizing uniform cooling.
Finally, the decision to employ either of these two techniques is rooted in the material properties of the processed goods. For example, produce that can’t be frozen quickly wouldn’t fit the fast operation of a continuously operating model. Conversely, this fast moving blast freezer is well suited for production environments, whereas the batch model would excel in a long-term freezing solution, an environment where storage concerns are the order of the day.
Walk-in coolers / freezers afford larger storage capacity and shorter shipment intervals. They are installed outdoors and in residences as well as for commercial uses. Walk-in coolers and cold storage units are predominantly constructed using modular insulated cooler panels. All wall, floor, and door cooler panels must be interchangeable for fast and easy installation.
Basic Walk-In Panel Specifications
Walk-in freezer panels are metal pans constructed with an inner and outer metal skin and (typ. 4 in.) insulation core. The panels have cam-action locking devices and airtight gaskets to prevent air permeation between panels.
• The freezer panels’ interior / exterior metal skin is specifically, uniformly, and accurately fabricated from steel dies by roll-form equipment.
• The freezer panel insulation is typically ridged “foamed-in-place” polyurethane bound to the metal skins and cam-action locking devices when heated. Internal wood, metal, or high-density urethane structural members are not used unless expressly required.
• Freezer panel edges are tongue and groove “foamed-in-place” to ensure airtight and vapor-proof joints.
• The flexible, vinyl gasket runs the length of the interior and exterior perimeter of every male panel edge. It must be water, oil, grease, detergent, and sunlight resistant as well as flame retardant.
• (Fresh) R-values are between 25 and 40 (e.g.: 3-1/2-in. cooler panels R-value: 25; 4-in. cooler/freezer panels R-value: 32; 5-in. freezer panels R-value: 40).
Modular Walk-In Freezer Panels
Modular walk-in freezer panels are fastened to an outer tongue-and-grooved frame that secures their positions and provides secure seals.
Panel fasteners should be airtight cam-locks. Fastener material consists of a hardened steel housing, hook, and high pressure die cast zinc cam pin. Fastener hooks connect with the pin to tightly lock the panels together. Lock spacing is specified to be no more than 48 in. on center.
Each bulb-type PVC (polyvinyl chloride) must be a factory-installed, water- and vapor-resistant double-lined compression gasket. They must also be chemical corrosion- and ultraviolet-resistant.
Metal interior and exterior pans are available in a variety of types and finishes including:
• 26 gauge, painted or non-painted embossed galvanized steel,
• 22 gauge, #4 finish, Type 304 stainless steel,
• 26 gauge, non-painted embossed galvalume,
• 0.032-in. non-painted embossed aluminum, or
• 0.032-in. white embossed aluminum.
Standard floor finishes must be 0.080 in. smooth aluminum, which must exceed 1/2 in. CD-X-grade plywood. Special request aluminum smooth panel finishes and paint colors may be available upon request.
There are also optional metal floor panel finishes available, which include:
• low-profile aluminum treadplate,
• 22 gaulge, #2B finish, Type 304 smooth stainless steel,
• 18 gauge, #2B finish, Type 304 smooth stainless steel,
• 16 gauge, #2B finish, Type 304 smooth stainless steel,
• 14 gauge, steel diamond tread layer installed over a standard floor finish base,
• 3/16 in. aluminum diamond tread layer installed over a standard floor finish.
C&M Coolrooms can create a custom solution for your specific needs. Talk to one of team members today.