Freezing pizzas while maintaining the product appearance, topping and quality poses significant challenges in continuous in-line processes. One of the key requirements is to keep the toppings intact and ensure that each pizza remains in its original position throughout the freezing process for a seamless transition to the packaging stage. However, achieving such outcomes can be a challenge.
Improper airflow management can result in toppings being blown off the pizzas, while inefficient conveyor systems can cause products moving out of position and even lead to pizzas freezing together, causing problems for the packaging line. Additionally, inadequate airflow control can cause pizzas to exit the freezer at drastically varied temperatures as a result of uneven temperature distribution.
These challenges are critical concerns for pizza processors, but they are effectively addressed by the GYRoCOMPACT® spiral freezers from JBT Frigoscandia.
Jan Grundmann, JBT’s Europe-based Area Sales Manager for Frigoscandia, emphasizes the significance of airflow management in achieving success when running pizzas through a spiral freezer. “Freezers with improper airflow typically apply the air too aggressively to a sensitive product like pizza,” he explains.
“The risk here is that too-strong airflow can blow off toppings such as cheese and ham causing them to scatter throughout the freezer instead of remaining on the pizza where they belong.”
In contrast, the GYRoCOMPACT applies a more gentle – but no less effective – airflow, which helps ensure the pizza comes out exactly as it went in and that no toppings are blown off in the process.
A further guarantee against in-line product damage is the GYRoCOMPACT’s self-stacking belt. The design of the belt means very little tension from infeed to outfeed, with no belt shaking or slipping caused by high drive forces.
Grundmann proudly notes that JBT has achieved a 1,000-meter-long conveyor line movement with zero belt shaking or slipping issues. He continues: “Maintaining the correct positioning of pizzas from infeed to outfeed is crucial to avoid problems during the subsequent packaging stage, such as pizzas freezing together or being mispositioned.”
Ensuring optimum results
Another important aspect of freezing pizzas is the fact that the target temperature must be the same across the entire belt width. So why is this stage vital for pizza processors? Grundmann explains: “This again relates to airflow. If you just centralize airflow to the spiral from one direction, then the products directly exposed to the cold air in the front-row will always be colder than the next product and the products after towards the center of the freezer.”
The freezing process, he continues, has to be efficient but it also has to be handled in a way that is gentle to the pizza toppings while at the same time delivering even distribution. “Our customers need ALL pizzas to come out at the same temperature of e.g. -18°C, not within a range somewhere around this target,” Grundmann says.
“This is the ideal solution if you want to freeze pizza, keep your toppings where they are, you want to hold the pizza in a defined position for the process before and after, and you want to have an equal temperature distribution across all products.”
Key Advantages of GYRoCOMPACT for Pizza Processors:
- Cleaning: Although the GYRoCOMPACT ensures that pizza toppings remain intact during freezing, it is inevitable that some cheese crumbs may find their way through the freezer, especially when processing up to 16,000 pizzas per hour in 24/5 operation periods. To secure highest food-safety-standards, the GYRoCOMPACT comes with an automated, Clean-In-Place (CIP) system, which maintains the freezer in optimum conditions with minimal human intervention.
- Energy savings: Customers can achieve substantial savings with the energy-efficient GYRoCOMPACT. How? The GYRoCOMPACT features far fewer components and requires far less drive power than comparable freezers as a result of the selfstacking-conveyor-belt requiring lower electrical power consumption.
- LVS system: The JBT Frigoscandia LVS Refrigeration System, is a technology that has revolutionised the way modern industrial freezers function in more ways than one. Developed to make freezer and refrigeration unit combinations more efficient and effective, LVS-users typically report six-digit-savings on refrigeration per freezer year after year.
By utilizing the GYRoCOMPACT spiral freezers from JBT Frigoscandia, pizza processors can overcome the challenges associated with freezing pizzas while ensuring the preservation of flavor, toppings, and product quality. The gentle handling, even temperature distribution, and additional benefits such as automated cleaning and energy efficiency make the GYRoCOMPACT the ideal choice for freezing pizzas at industrial scales.