London-based Bakkavor is a private label prepared foods producer for global grocery retailers and international foodservice operators. And, Bakkavor invested in a custom designed chilling system for pizza production from UK-based equipment specialist Starfrost.

Starfrost supplied a spiral chilling system for pizza bases at Bakkavor’s Harrow, Middlesex, processing facility, which features Starfrost’s innovative frost removal system (FRS) for extended run times.

Starfrost’s engineering team custom designed, built, installed and commissioned a Helix spiral chiller with a processing capacity of 6,400 pizza bases per hour. The Helix spiral features a 32-inch-wide stainless-steel conveyor belt around a single rotating drum with 32.5 spiraling tiers. And, it’s designed to process 12-inch pizza bases at a rate of over 100 per minute.

The freshly baked product enters the in-line chiller at a temperature of 95°C. Each individual pizza base is then chilled down to 3°C. The FRS uses dry compressed air to remove frost from the chiller’s evaporator fins during operation, which enables run times to be dramatically extended between defrosts.

“The innovative design of our frost removal system was key to securing the Bakkavor contract. The system enables Bakkavor to achieve significantly extended running times by maintaining evaporator efficiency without the need to install complex and expensive sequentially defrosting evaporators,” says Robert Long, Starfrost sales director. “Our Helix spiral chiller is custom designed for maximum performance and reliability. The addition of our optional frost removal system reduces refrigeration costs and ensures increased productivity and profit for the operator.”

Starfrost supplies freezing and chilling systems for the food processing industry. The firm works alongside food manufacturers to develop individually-quick frozen (IQF) solutions.

Starfrost’s Helix spiral is suitable for freezing and chilling food that requires medium to long retention times, such as ready meals, poultry, pizza, potato products, fish, desserts, bakery products and ice cream. The system is available in site built and compact assembled format, with single drum, double drum and twin belt designs.

The Helix spiral freezer/chiller is designed with low maintenance, ease of hygiene and operational efficiency in mind. Its unique vertical or horizontal air circulation system ensures quick and even chilling or freezing without excessive air speeds that can damage delicate products, while still achieving long running times between defrosts.

Starfrost’s standard all stainless-steel equipment design includes framework, fully welded floor, evaporator and enclosure panels for ultimate hygiene, and the Helix spiral features a user-friendly touch-screen HMI PLC control panel and optional clean-in-place automated sanitizing system.