James T Blakeman & Co., a European-based manufacturer of sausage and meat products, invested in a freezing equipment upgrade with its fourth Helix spiral system from IQF equipment specialist Starfrost, UK.

James T Blakeman & Co. is a family run business that supplies sausage and meat products to the catering and ready meal industry, manufacturing 21,000 tons of product a year. 

And, it built a 40,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at its site in Staffordshire, UK.

Blakeman’s latest development was to increase capacity and efficiency of its existing aging system, as well as optimize hygiene procedures and increase flexibility to provide opportunities for long-term business planning.

Starfrost has worked closely with Blakeman’s for a number of years, installing three spiral freezing systems over the last decade as the meat manufacture extended its processes. That’s why it selected Starfrost as its preferred freezing equipment supplier.

Starfrost, together with parent company Star Refrigeration, designed, manufactured and installed a Glacier Spiral system. The latest freezing system upgrade combines Helix spiral freezer technology and a unique low carbon ammonia refrigeration plant in one complete package. 

The Glacier pack included a custom-designed Helix spiral freezer with a processing capacity of 900 kg per hour of cooked sausages. The system features a stainless-steel dual conveyor belt around a single rotating drum, with 28 tiers in total. In addition, the dual twin belt is equipped with optional side guards, which allows customers to process various products simultaneously, giving increased flexibility to the processing line.

The spiral freezer also features a clean-in-place (CIP) system that uses rotating spray nozzles and spray bars for targeted application of the detergent and sanitizer in major operating zones. Its unique design enables the process to be a repeatable means of cleaning and sanitizing the equipment, along with reducing operational downtime required for cleaning and maintenance.

The latest spiral system is also designed to maximize uptime and requires minimal ongoing maintenance. Furthermore, the temperature control and a unique airflow is specially designed for delicate products such as skin on sausages, ensuring product quality.

“We have worked alongside Starfrost on former freezing projects, and have been very pleased with the results. They have proven to be reliable and have an understanding of our requirements, so when it came to looking for another spiral freezing system, it was an easy decision,” says Kevin Moller, operational manager at Blakeman’s. “The Glacier Helix has been designed to meet our precise specifications; it is operating effectively, enabling us to reduce maintenance and improve flexibility of our processing line, as well giving us capabilities to expand production in the future. The primary, most important benefit of our latest install has been optimizing hygienic performance within our facility. With rising safety demands within the food processing industry, food processors today must be extremely focused on hygiene within their production. The full clean-in-place system combined with stainless-steel enclosure and reverse cycle defrost allows for an effective hygienic process at Blakeman’s.”