New freezer technology creates quick-frozen produce
The system drops freezing time from 10 to 15 minutes down to a mere seven minutes and provides quick energy savings.
Established in 1919, Smith Frozen Foods processes private-label frozen vegetables including peas, corn, carrots, lima beans and garbanzo beans. Gordon and Sharon Smith own the business, and for Gordon, a former US senator, the business has been a family affair for four generations.
Located in Weston, OR, Smith Frozen Foods prides itself on preserving the freshness of the vegetables it processes, and because it is located right in the growing region, vegetables like peas can go from field to freezer within two hours. The company processes more than 130 million pounds of vegetables annually.
In 2014, Smith Frozen Foods embarked on an ambitious, multimillion dollar modernization project led by its president, Gary Crowder. “The overhaul of the facility included replacing much of [our] aging equipment with industry-leading freezing technology,” recalls Crowder.
A freezer is not an off-the shelf piece of equipment; each is designed to address the specific needs of the producer. For Smith Frozen Foods, increasing industry demands for food safety, hygiene and sanitary conditions are paramount. With zero-tolerance for any contamination, the producer wanted equipment that not only increased capacity, but also surpassed the highest hygiene standards.
To meet its specialized requirements, Smith Frozen Foods decided to engage FPS Food Process Solutions for the freezer units. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, FPS manufactures all its equipment in house and has installed freezer systems throughout North, Central and South America. It worked with the Smith Frozen Foods team to ensure all the processor’s unique needs were met.
Among the new installations are two state-of-the-art, ammonia-based freezer tunnels. These 88-foot-long structures freeze peas, carrots, lima beans and other foods as they pass through on a conveyor belt. The internal motor-free design and SynchroSD defrost system ensure the FPS Pulse Flow IQF freezers are easy to clean, durable and hygienic. Constructed with welded stainless steel enclosures, they are seamlessly welded inside and outside, eliminating harborage points for bacteria and the need to constantly maintain caulked joints.
Crowder is enthusiastic about the new tunnels. “They are the most hygienic in the industry,” he says. He has proudly erected a sign to that effect in his facility.
The freezers were specifically designed for delicate fruits and vegetables. The PulseFlow technology was developed through many years of research and feedback from FPS customers. With uniform fluidization and cooling across the belt, the PulseFlow freezers provide high yield, efficiency and quality.
In addition to being hygienic, the freezers are more efficient. With the installation complete, Smith Frozen Foods is looking to significantly increase output and realize substantial energy savings. The FPS freezers will drop the freezing time from 10 to 15 minutes to a mere seven minutes. “This will almost double the amount of food that can be processed each day,” says Crowder. “Our goal is to provide cleaner produce and reduce energy usage by 2 million kW per year.”
For more information: Justin Lai, 604-232-4145, firstname.lastname@example.org