A leading UK seafood processor has invested £4M in a new production facility, featuring a trio of bespoke freezing systems from British equipment specialist Starfrost.
Coombe Fisheries recently opened its £multi-million seafood packing, freezing and temperature-controlled storage facility in Barnstaple, North Devon. The purpose built 21,000 sq ft building has enabled the firm to streamline production processes and double its processing capacity.
With a turnover in excess of £17M, Coombe Fisheries specialises in processing seafood for food service and retail markets worldwide. Formed in 1980, this local, family business has achieved consistent growth by continuing to invest in staff, plant and processing equipment to improve efficiency. Coombe Fisheries’ brand new processing facility houses a seafood production line featuring three bespoke Starfrost freezing systems. UK-based Starfrost works alongside food processors across the globe to develop the best IQF (Individual Quick Freeze) solution, ensuring maximum throughput, high efficiency and low energy costs.
Each Starfrost system on the new seafood production line is custom designed to perform a specific freezing process. The line has a total freezing capacity of 1,000kg per hour of fresh seafood products including scallops, sardines, whelks in shell, squid, sprats and cuttlefish.
The production line features a StarContact CFH (Contact Film Hardener) with a thin polyethylene film conveyor belt. The contact freezer quickly hardens the surface of wet and delicate seafood products such as scallops. This process eliminates damaging belt marks, improves product quality and increases yield.
The second Starfrost system is a Helix Spiral Freezer for deep product freezing prior to glazing. The Helix Spiral features a unique air circulation system designed for quick and even freezing without excessive air speeds that can damage delicate seafood products. Deep freezing allows high quality glaze pick up whilst maintaining good product temperatures.
The final freezing system is Starfrost’s Starlite HT (Hybrid Tunnel), a flexible multi-belt IQF system for glaze hardening seafood products. The Coombe Fisheries model is an in-line tunnel freezer (length 7.5 metres), featuring three steel grid and mesh belts (belt width 1400mm). The Starlite HT hardens up to 40 per cent glaze pick up in controlled stages, improving the quality and value of seafood products such as scallops and cuttlefish.
Starfrost Sales Director Robert Long says: “This project for Coombe Fisheries demonstrates the range, versatility and flexibility of our freezing systems. Each bespoke system was designed for performing a specific process on a wide variety of seafood products - hardening, deep freezing and glazing.”
Robert Long adds: “The new production line is performing well and at full capacity. It has replaced an ageing blast freezing system that was unreliable and expensive to run. Our new freezing systems at Coombe Fisheries have reduced operating costs, eliminated product damage, increased throughput, maximised product quality and boosted yield.”
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