Baking & Snack - June 2020 - 86

FREEZING

place during freezing. Another tip? Use a quick water
mist to secure the toppings.
Moreover, maintaining the pizza shape can present a
challenge. To prevent slippage, use paper or corrugated
disks to keep the pizzas in place.
"Almost all food conveying systems employ belt speed
changes to an advantage," he observed. "Products too
close together? Speed up the belt to increase separation.
Many food products simply slip on one belt while the
other belt is doing all the work. A fresh pizza crust will
deform under these conditions."
Advances in technology
now result in faster
freeze times, quicker
cleaning, less product
weight loss and higher
product quality.
Intralox

Now in cool shapes
Freezers come in many options but deciding on a tunnel
or spiral system depends on several factors, including cost,
throughput need, production speeds and space available.
Tunnel freezers often require linear space or a greater hori-

zontal footprint. Spirals take advantage of vertical space.
Mr. Johnson noted that belt collapse, directional speed
and air velocity or direction differ in tunnel and spiral freezers.
"Belt collapse results when a spiral freezer conveyor belt
transitions from traveling in a straight path to traveling in a
circular path," he said.
Because the inside diameter of a spiral belt is much
smaller than the outer diameter, the shorter inner belt travels at a slower speed.
"Products must be spaced appropriately to absorb this
collapse and not become pressed against one another
and/or deformed," Mr. Johnson explained.
Paper, cardboard or other materials may be used to keep
products separate, or the products can be placed on the belt
after the collapse takes place.
Additionally, consider the directional speed for small,
easy-to-freeze products. Linear tunnel freezers, for instance, can handle a high-production volume.
Moreover, evaluate air velocity and direction when designing a freezer. Mr. Johnson said tunnel freezers typically
blow directly down onto the items, while spirals tend to
blow across products, and both systems must be designed
to not interfere with the quality of the product.
Mr. Soderman said Scanico tunnel and spiral freezers
rely on consistent air temperature and velocity as products
travel on belt widths ranging from 16 inches up toward 60
inches for the larger tunnels.
"By regulating the belt speed, air velocity over the product, plus the internal air temperature inside the spiral
chamber, the freezing process is optimized for each individual product to ensure best final product quality," he said.
Just as in mixing and baking, freezing is all about time
and temperature. Achieving consistent results involves providing consistent product and freezer temperatures and
monitoring dwell time. Switching from one product to another requires maintaining this delicate balance.
Often a simple adjustment of the temperature and dwell
time should correspond to the "recipe" for the next product.
"Once the new product exits the freezer, a quality control
check should be made followed by any necessary marginal
adjustments to the freezer temperature and/or dwell time,"
Mr. Johnson said. "If the freezer is integrated into a full-line
control system, product changeover adjustments can be executed automatically."

With a belt to match
Another way to maximize freezer capacity involves taking full advantage of belt loading and product alignment. When switching from a 12-inch round to an
8-inch round pizza, producers need to maximize the
number of the smaller 8-inch pizzas on the belt, which
will improve the efficiency of the freezer.

86 Baking & Snack June 2020 / www.bakingbusiness.com


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