What Are The Different Types of Air Blast Freezers?23 September 2015
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:
- The Continuous Blast Freezer – Food is continually fed through a chamber or tunnel by trays, conveyor belts or trucks. In this situation the fans are stationary but the products are in motion, pausing only to complete the carefully calculated freeze cycle.
- Batch Blast Freezers – This single-load design transfers goods into the freezer chamber in groups. Package configurations are precisely arranged in stacked pallets to maximize air convection and ensure energy distribution is uniformly applied across the load.
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.
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