Ultracongelados del Oja - IQF Tunnel for rice
Spanish vegetable processor Ultracongelados del Oja, part of the international corporation Virto Group, are specialists in the production and distribution of deep-frozen vegetables including vegetables, pulses, mixes, rice, pasta, cereals and vegetable-based ready meals for retail, foodservice and industry.
Ultracongelados del Oja recently experienced issues with the IQF quality of its frozen rice. The existing IQF Freezer was not individually freezing the rice products, resulting in product clumping. As well as poor quality results, the factory had significant downtime issues due to the frequent defrosting of its IQF freezer during production.
Starfrost worked with the vegetable processor to design a new IQF tunnel system to maximise operational hours and effectively freeze large capacities of frozen rice.
The Turbo IQF Tunnel utilises a twin belt fluidisation system. The first belt zone provides crust freezing and features a vibratory conveyor which creates a wave like motion to gently separate the rice grains. Rapid surface conditioning ensures optimum appearance and yield while preventing product clumping and sticking. The second and final belt of the Turbo is a deep freezing zone to complete the freezing process after the initial crust freeze.
The Turbo IQF Tunnel features a Starfrost sequential defrost system, highly efficient technology that enables the vegetable processor to continuously freeze 24 hours' day for up 6 days, without the need for to stop production to defrost the freezer. The addition of sequential defrost system means the freezer coils are defrosted in a pre-programmed sequence during production allowing for significantly longer operational times.
Designed with flexibility in mind, the freezer is adaptable to freeze other food products, which allows the vegetable processor to expand production to freeze peas and beans during the harvesting season.
Pilar Garcia, Director at Ultracongelados del Oja:
"We partnered with Starfrost to design our freezing equipment as their IQF technology is renowned in the food industry. Starfrost manufactured and installed a Turbo IQF Tunnel for our rice processing line and we have since seen great benefits to production."
"The Turbo rapidly freezes our products and the fluidisation maintains separation, improving the quality of the frozen rice. Also with the addition of the sequential defrost system our production time has increased and we have reduced downtime by 50%."