Fortunately it’s possible to control the surrounding conditions throughout the entire production process, irrespective of the type of foodstuff involved. The key is controlling the humidity level of the surrounding atmosphere.
To ensure the smooth running of Europe’s favourite frozen pizzas, the manufacturer, Wagner, relies on Munters IceDry® system. Wagner’s production uses Munters IceDry®, a system which substantially reduces the formation of ice and frosting. This is important, since icing and frosting disrupt the production process and storage and, at worst, impair product quality.
The core element of IceDry® is Munters desiccant dehumidifier that is specially developed for low humidity levels. Within the dehumidifier, the moist air is dehumidified until the dew point of the dry air is below the dew point temperature of the chilled product and the various parts of the production plant, such that condensation does not occur. Dry air is supplied during the production process or to the storage area so that the formation of ice and frosting is significantly prevented and reduced.
Wagner decided to use Munters IceDry® systems in both their spiral freezers and refrigeration plant, optimising the production process and increasing production. Wagner produce their stone-baked pizzas in a 3-shift round-the-clock manufacturing operation. Each stage must be carefully co-ordinated, so that each ingredient combines to make the delicious end product. The pizza is then quick frozen for storage. The product is placed on a multi-level conveyor belt that feeds into a spiral freezer and is quick frozen by cold air blowing through the conveyor belts at a temperature of -40ºC. The deep-frozen pizzas are then removed from the freezer, packaged and stored.
The quick frozen process means rapid throughput and high product quality.
The product itself brings humidity, and on account of the wide difference in temperature and pressure between the ambient air and that in the freezer, warm, moist air streams into the -40ºC freezer through the openings through which the product is fed. The result is frosting and icing up of the conveyor belts and refrigeration components, such as the evaporator, and also frequent interruptions in the production process to defrost and clean the plant.
Munters IceDry® system is a reliable solution as moist air is extracted at the openings where the product enters the freezer and is dehumidified to below the dew point temperature of the spiral freezer. The now dry air is then fed back into the freezer. In order to prevent moist air entering through the product entry points, the system has a mechanism for slightly pressurising the freezer with the dry air.
Munters IceDry® system considerably extends production times between stoppages for defrosting, increasing production throughput and making savings along the product line. That is a major advantage in a round-the-clock full load production process, and also guarantees product quality and shelf life. Since the spacing on the conveyor belts remains constant, consistent quick freezing is guaranteed. The cost-benefit ratio is improved and as a result, profitability.
Optimal atmospheric conditions are achieved in the refrigeration plant too.
The entire cold storage depot is kept at a temperature of -24ºC. Only the separate loading area is at a temperature of -8ºC. When the loading doors are opened, there is contact with the outside air, which leads to an increase in humidity. If the doors to the anteroom, which is kept at a temperature of -24ºC, are then opened, the great temperature and pressure difference causes additional warm, moist air from the loading area to flow into the anteroom. Munters IceDry® system ensures that the dew point lies below the prevailing temperature, which considerably reduces the formation of ice and frosting on the air-cooler. This prevents the mechanical moving parts of the vertical conveyor belt from slowing down or becoming completely iced and blocked. Icing up of the refrigeration components, including the evaporator and condensation tray, are considerably reduced.
Were this not the case, valuable energy and time would have to be expended on defrosting. The IceDry® system provides reliable protection by ensuring that the dew point lies below the prevailing temperature. The system draws in warm, moist air directly from the surrounding atmosphere and dehumidifies it to a dew point below the surface temperature of the coldest parts. The dry air is fed back into the anteroom. That combats the formation of ice and frosting during all seasons. All in all, this saves costly energy and time, ensures Wagner’s high product quality and minimises the risk of accidents among staff.
Good freezer? Good refrigeration plant? Good pizza. The Munters IceDry® system provides dry air in the relevant areas, moreover the recipe for dry air is not a secret and can be discussed with Munters at any time.