The dramatic terminology assigned to blast freezers suggests a dynamic process, but the technology is really all about simplicity, simplicity and tiny crystals. In food technology, for example, storage yards freeze their product with one single intent. The foodstuff is to be frozen so that it can be transported or stored, and the only real goal in this process is to stop time. In slightly denser terms, the food has to freeze in such a way that it retains freshness and texture. Unfortunately, traditional freezing methods are too slow to accomplish this goal. The food freezes, but the moisture stored within the cells of the foodstuff expands as it cools, thus disrupting the soft tissue of meat and produce. Blast freezers sidestep this disruptive cooling action.
The Basics of High Velocity Cooling
Passive freezing technology uses a refrigeration unit and a fan, components that deliver a fine mist of chilly air across stacks of meat. These are highly functional devices, but they have problems, issues we covered in our opening. Meanwhile, coming in with a fiercely dynamic profile, blast freezers use high velocity fans to blow a mass of super-cooled air across the produce. The chamber where this subzero work takes place reduces the ambient temperature to a frozen -20°C, but this temperature plummet only represents part of the functionality of the technology. In truth, it’s the time taken to accomplish the freezing process that lays at the heart of the technology. For example, a high-quality model can usually take a local environment down to this frigid negative temperature point in a matter of hours.
Alternate Configurations for Alternate Cooling Roles
The closed chamber model is the easiest type to describe, but it’s also one of the least commercial. Newer, faster versions now dominate the blast freezing landscape. Still powered by impressively powerful cooling fans, the cold blast passes rapidly across special partitions to evenly freeze crates of fish or boxes of meat. High productivity versions of this configuration go further, veering past the stodgy old single-load version to adopt batch-loading configurations where the foodstuff is loaded on moving pallets and set up as a continuous flow system.
No bacterial growth takes place when the food is frozen with this blast technique, and no loss of freshness or micro-crystalline damage can take place. To all intents and purposes, the meat and produce is locked in time, sealed in a shell of freshness. Food management technology has quickly adopted this type of freezing to expand on storage and transportation options, keeping batches of catering resources locked in this state while to-be-used quantities are kept at hand for cooking. And, finally, consider the upshot of this technique. Blast frozen soft tissue keeps its colour, fragrance, texture, and taste. That’s the rapid freezing promise.
Laboratories run on precision, on an analytical work ethos that demands a sterile environment and a clinically austere setting. Every instrument and piece of equipment within the lab is calibrated to meet exacting standards. Temperature management is a critical part of this layout, an environmental factor that must be rigorously managed in order to keep science-based activity free of errors. In short form, sensitive chemical compounds and biological samples don’t react well to temperature changes. Thankfully, special laboratory freezers and refrigerators are designed with this knowledge in mind.
Masters of Dependable Refrigerated Storage
Place a lab sample, biological or non-biological, inside one of these precision cooling appliances and be assured of medical-grade refrigeration. In delivering this promise, microprocessor programming partners with digital readouts and state-of-the-art sensory electronics to maintain a uniform temperature profile. Next, a fan and venting assemblies keep the innards of the device scientifically attuned to the laboratory space. A fan circulates the air, distributing the cold air to every corner of the refrigerator. Next, environmental exactitude is applied to other airborne factors, such as humidity. Exacting environmental control attributes aside, the interior of each unit must also deliver on two other fronts, twin aspects we know as hygiene and compartment management. In other words, shelves and walls must be sterile and the compartments must be divided so that cross-contamination can be eliminated.
Usage Domains for Laboratory Freezers and Refrigerators
A dynamic application for a laboratory freezer is found in the storage of volatile chemicals, industrial-grade compounds that will explode if they’re exposed to the atmosphere. Alternatively but no less critical in application, these appliances store vaccines and blood samples. They use strong frames and thickly insulated panels to ensure heat loss is negated. Additional features and mechanical assemblies cope with door opening events, thus preventing the sample from being spoiled. Blood and plasma supplies are similarly protected, and research material receives even greater attention in the form of spoilage alarms and greater digital monitoring assets. The freezer variant of this concept goes deeper yet, taking samples far below zero degrees Celsius, a chilly realm that lays adjacent to cryogenic territory.
A handful of classifications guides the selection of laboratory freezers and refrigerators. Explosion-proof models use hardier housings and tighter seals to isolate volatile chemicals. Meanwhile, glass-fronted variants with rows of shelves equip research labs. At the end of the day, as long as reliability and hygiene crown the design philosophy, then the manufacturer is on the right path. A quick look inside will do the rest, showing off the compartments and spartan shelving, components that isolate the specimens and samples from each other, thus eliminating sample contamination. After installation, it’s all down to the lab personnel to keep this hygiene factor high by implementing a routine cleansing program.
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