Baking & Snack - June 2020 - 87

Ricky Milner, product line support leader, Wire Belt
Co. of America, pointed out that bakers need to know
the product loading specifications, including pounds per
square foot, to determine which type of belt is required.
"We would then ask the size of the product to determine the percentage opening needed to support the
product," Mr. Milner said.
Ashworth Bros. works closely with its freezer partners
to extrapolate key information, such as product type,
product load, the amount of heat transfer and moisture
to be retained in the product.
"That allows us to help them choose the proper belt
to convey the product," said Kenneth King, commercial
support manager, Ashworth.
In addition to product variety, Intralox and its conveyor partner require information on throughput and
even cleaning regimens.
"Once the basics are known, we can select a
straight running or spiral platform," Mr. Bogle said.
"Once the technology is known, then we can narrow
down the right belting choice based on product sizes
and characteristics."
Many bakers understand the freezing conditions for
their current product portfolio but often lack key information as they roll out new products.
"Intralox has a large set of freezing test equipment
that we can use to create cooling curves for a product,
or, even better, we have the customer come in and do
freezing trials in conjunction with us to narrow down
the best parameters for their products," Mr. Bogle said.

Freezing requires research,
especially with larger
baked foods with dozens
of air pockets that act as
insulation and make these
more difficult to freeze.
In designing a freezer system, Mr. Milner advised to
place all freezer belts entirely within the freezer.
"You do not want half of the conveyor in the freezer
and the other half out of the freezer," he said. "Doing
so can cause condensation on the belt and sprockets
causing a frost buildup. If the frost accumulates in the
root diameter of the sprocket, the belt will skip over the
sprocket teeth causing a belt slippage. If this is the case,
there will need to be some sort of belt scraper on the
conveyor to remove any frost buildup."

AMF Bakery Systems' engineers rely on a Reading
Thermal Scorpion 2 to profile the performance of the
Vesta spiral freezer.
"Using conveyors in a freezing room requires some
design attention to avoid ice buildup and ensure the
components used are specific to support the freezing
temperatures," said Bobby Martin, executive product
manager, AMF.
Jonathan Lasecki, Ashworth's director of engineering,
pointed out that a plastic belt can be an insulator and affect the freezing process.
"Sometimes you can trap that heat on a plastic belt
between the surface of the product and the belt itself,
which means you can be taking moisture and depositing
it into a bag, which decreases the overall shelf life of the
product," he noted. "You don't want to package moisture
in with bread or other mold-sensitive products."
Using lane dividers, guard edges and smooth support rails at transfer points, he added, ensures products
remain aligned and separate as they freeze, which prevents commingling of products that could result in two
products within one bag. Likewise, a more open mesh
belt works for fully or par-baked products, and a more
closed mesh belt prevents softer products from settling
into the belt.
Along with belt designs, be sure to pick the right materials. Mr. Bogle recommended acetal plastic as the goto material for most conveyor belts.
"However, if there is a fire hazard in the area, a flameretardant option would be the more prudent choice,"
he said.
When it comes to expanding a freezer today, having
all the cold, hard facts allows frozen food producers to
make the best choice for their current and future new
product needs.

Freezing bagels requires
research such as
understanding the correct
temperature, dwell speed
and desired throughput to
retain proper moisture and
a consistent product.
Praxair

*

www.bakingbusiness.com / June 2020 Baking & Snack 87


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