Chillers in the Food & Beverage Industry

Most food & beverage companies need at least one cooling system in their process. Typically, health & safety guidelines mandate that a product must be kept at a particular temperature. To best integrate cooling into a system, a full understanding of the needs of a product and its components must be obtained.

Different steps along the manufacturing process may have different acceptable temperature ranges. Certain materials may require a lower temperature to support peak freshness; some steps, such as blast freezing, may change the makeup of the product and dictate a new temperature. Food safety is important for any food & beverage company. Temperature often plays a vital role in keeping bacteria growth controlled. A comprehensive understanding of all the various temperature requirements across a system will help to create the most exact cooling system.

After an initial temperature analysis, a cooling engineer can help to decide the best way to add cooling to the system. One of the most common cooling integrations in the food & beverage industry is directly cooling the conveyor belt that moves material. By using thermal contact to conduct heat, a cooled conveyor belt may be able to keep ingredients at the right temperature as they move.

An industrial chiller achieves this cooling effect by using a dual circuit set-up. One circuit, known often as the cooling circuit, pipes a cooling fluid to the process area. After it absorbs heat from the process (indirectly from the warm food through the conveyor belt), the fluid moves back to the chiller. There the warmed process fluid will travel through the evaporator. The second circuit, the refrigeration circuit, will meet the process fluid and absorb its heat here. Once finishing in the evaporator, the process fluid is cooled enough to return to the process and continue its cooling work. Meanwhile, the now vaporized refrigerant will travel to the condenser to be cooled and made ready to meet with the process fluid again.

To set up a proper cooling system for the specific food & beverage process, a cooling engineer will need to know the temperature cooling differential as well as the number and frequency of different cooling areas. Multiple industrial chillers could be used or it may make more sense to build a larger central cooling system. Knowing the desired water flow and pressure will also be necessary to properly size a solution. An expert cooling engineers will be best able to help decide what possibility makes the most sense.

Integrating cooling systems into a food & beverage system may seem overwhelming at first. There is a lot to know and understand about refrigeration systems. But with help from cooling experts like those at Chase Cooling Systems, the result is sure to be a reliable system that will produce the best products.