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Coolmation helps improve yield, operating efficiency

07 November 2011

In the food processing sector the thoughtful design and application of cooling technology can bring significant, measurable benefits, including increased productivity and greater operational efficiency

That’s the verdict of Ledbury-based cheese and dairy ingredients manufacturer, Meadow Cheese, following the installation of a new secondary refrigerant system from Coolmation, the market leader in low energy cooling for the food processing industry.

At its 50,000 sq ft state-of-the-art factory in Ledbury, Herefordshire, Meadow Cheese creates a range of innovative, high quality cheese and dairy-based products for food manufacturers and foodservice customers.

The company operates two fully automated production lines to offer the widest possible range of products either in chilled or Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) formats. Specific formulated products with controlled characteristics can also be produced to suit individual customers’ individual requirements.

As part of its manufacturing process, Meadow Cheese operated one of three available ambient rooms and two cold rooms for cooling prior to the dispatch of 20 tons of cheese every 24 hours. This 20 ton load would first be moved into the ambient room at a temperature of 85ºC, where over a period of approximately 8 hours its temperature would reduce down to 45ºC.

At this stage, the load would be evenly divided in two and moved into the individual cold rooms where temperatures were finally reduced to 5ºC. Working with Coolmation, Meadow Cheese identified a potential two-fold improvement covering output and reducing the labour involved in actually moving the cheese between rooms.

A plan was devised to convert two of the ambient rooms into four new cold rooms. Coolmation designed and installed a cooling system which would enable the cheese to be loaded into each room at its initial temperature of 85ºC and reduced to below 5ºC in as short a time as possible - in one location and in one complete cooling cycle.

Having carefully calculated the load requirements and the requirements for improved production output, Coolmation specified a Rhoss air cooled R410A multi-scroll compressor low temperature chiller to drive a secondary refrigerant system.

“A secondary refrigerant system provides key benefits over a DX approach for this type of application” comments Andy Legg, Sales Director at Coolmation. “Removing refrigerant from the room eliminates the requirement for expensive, specialist assembled and brazed high pressure copper tube.

“It reduces the volume of overall refrigerant in the cooling system which helps ease compliance with F Gas legislation and ongoing maintenance. The control system can be simpler and the system is also very capable in meeting the challenging cooling requirements on this particular job”.

The Rhoss chiller delivers 180kW of cooling while providing a glycol solution to the in-room coolers at -8ºC. The system is interconnected to these eight unit coolers, two in each room, via a weir tank which acts to maintain the design flow rate around the chiller regardless of the position of each of the three-way valves on the unit coolers. These three-way valves work with a temperature controller to provide easy and effective control of the system. Separate run and standby chiller and unit cooler pumps were also installed.

The secondary refrigerant is a biodegradable vegetable oil glycol mix, approved for such applications. Coolmation installed tig welded, thin-wall, stainless steel pipework to carry the glycol solution to and from each room unit cooler. Pipework and fittings within the cold stores are insulated with phenolic foam and isogenopak sheeting. Traditional refrigerant is only present in the outdoor package glycol chiller.

Fully commissioned, Meadow Cheese are now seeing 60 ton per day of cheese cooled to 5ºC, an impressive 300% output increase, and a reduction in labour time and cost.

“We needed to improve the speed and efficiency of cooling and the Coolmation system has helped us do just that” says Operations Director at Meadow Cheese, Will Carslaw. “It has enabled us to reduce double handling, and we no longer have product cooling as a capacity constraint. Coolmation are a very detailed, professional company who do a job to a very high standard”.

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