Industry: Fruit and Vegetables (NAICS 3114)
Process Brief: A spiral belt is used to convey product through a chilled air freezer
Energy source: Electricity/ some Natural Gas
Energy Intensity: 250-1,700 Btu/lb of product
Spiral belt freezers are sophisticated freezers using automated controls to rapidly chill products. Unlike mechanized tunnel freezers, these units use a metal mesh belt that conveys the product through the freezer in a continuous stream. The mesh belt allows chilled air to be blown upward through the belt to facilitate rapid initial cooling. To conserve space the conveyor is configured in an upward spiral in the freezer. Blast air is used to cool the product and air curtains at the freezer openings keep in the cold air.
The mechanized tunnel freezer use air-blast chilling techniques and mechanical (electricity) or thermal (natural gas) systems generate the cold air. The use of a belt conveyor reduces material handling and associated product degradation that occurs with other freezer designs. Recent designs use a self-stacking belt so that each tier of the spiral rests directly on top of the tier below. This innovation simplifies the transport mechanism and reduces the number of places where the product can be contaminated or fall off the conveyor.
FMC FoodTech Chicago
200 East Randolph
Chicago, IL 60601
Web site: www.foodtechnologies.com
2411 Vauxhall Place
Richmond BC, V6V 1Z5 Canada
Web site: www.advancedfreezer.com
Source: Overview GRI-03/0075; Overview image from http://www.advancedfreezer.com/spiral_packaged.html; FMC Graphic from http://www.fmctechnologies.com/upload/gcmbrochure.pdf 3/2007;