With the push for productivity, bakeries are running nonstop for longer periods of time. That can pose a challenge for freezers, such as additional stress on belting or ice building on the floor. Solutions range from clean-in-place systems to sequential defrosting and even old-fashioned heated floors.
“If you are running a freezer 24 hours a day, you have to heat the sub-floor or get air circulation under the floor, or they’ll freeze, and you’ll create an iceberg,” said Peter White, president, IJ White Corp.
JBT, Inc. frequently puts both linear and spiral freezers on stainless steel leg platforms at the request of customers to avoid the need of a heated floor or concrete pad. However, headroom constraints may prevent a tall leg platform, while some customers simply prefer a floor on a heated pad using electric, air or glycol systems, noted Andrew Knowles, division product line manager, JBT.
Recycling energy to heat the sub-floor can help reduce a company’s ongoing costs.
“Rather than use electric heat in the sub-floor, you can use the heat from your refrigeration system and recirculate glycol through the sub-floor instead of electric heat,” Mr. White said.
To operate at the lowest cost, freezers and chillers must be designed to minimize downtime with readily available spare parts, noted Erik Fihlman, program manager, baking and prepared foods, Linde LLC.“Additionally, ‘smart’ electronic monitoring systems are emerging to warn operators of impending problems and, in some cases, troubleshoot problems for the operator,” he said. “A system must also be easily cleaned with a specific focus on eliminating areas for standing water or harborage points for bacterial growth. Sloped surfaces, drainage and 100% access for cleaning and inspection are expected today. Menu-driven controls can also help optimize performance to keep operating costs low.”