Processing / Case Studies & Field Reports

Midwest pizza manufacturer increases production while freezing costs

December 5, 2012
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
Trans

A new cryogenic freezing tunnel uses less nitrogen and is easy to clean.
 
Fifty years ago, Emil Caplene opened a pizza shop in Watertown, WI with one goal in mind: Make and sell the best-tasting pizzas ever. Today, Emil’s Pizza produces 5,000 pizzas a day for retail, wholesale, copacking and fundraising customers throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois. But finding a way to increase line production without incurring associated costs was a problem.
 
“Things were challenging when I came to Emil’s in 2007,” says Rick Roedl, president. The dedication was there, but a good system allowing Emil’s to freeze and distribute the best pizzas in the least amount of time was not. “We had been doing things the same way for a long time, making it nearly impossible to realize profitable growth.”
 
Roedl’s 16 years of individual quick frozen (IQF) experience at parent company Daybreak Foods allowed him to quickly define the problem: The company’s former nitrogen tunnel was causing log jams. 
 
“Processing equipment must meet two ‘musts,’ or you don’t operate. First, you need generous production capacity at an affordable operating cost, and second, your equipment has to be easy to clean and maintain,” says Roedl. “The old freezing tunnel had multiple, cumbersome stainless steel doors that were constantly sweating and leaking. It gobbled nitrogen and didn’t meet our increased production needs. The door seals and other hard-to-access areas trapped water and food particles, resulting in bacteria growth and the need for constant cleaning to maintain our rigorous quality and safety standards. This hurt production costs considerably.”
 
Roedl and his team started researching new freezing tunnels. Mechanical refrigeration was not an option, since the slower freezing process dehydrates the quality ingredients for which Emil’s is known. “Only nitrogen freezing can almost instantly seal our fresh toppings, cryogenically locking in moisture and flavor. Our pizzas are frozen within 200 seconds of breaking of the toppings’ moisture barrier,” says Roedl.
 
Initial research turned up few new freezing options. Then, Roedl learned about Air Liquide’s ALIGAL FZ cryogenic freezer. Unlike conventional nitrogen freezers, the ALIGAL FZ addresses food plant sanitation concerns by opening in a way that makes all internal mechanisms completely visible and accessible. Plus, all surfaces are self-draining and easy to clean. The unit’s stainless steel construction and molded, gel-coated fiberglass body maximizes convection, widens the freezing zone and increases capacity. 
 
The freezer uses a top-lift system that allows it to open at the touch of a button. Since the unit doesn’t require plant floor space for swing-out doors, Emil’s can increase production without needing extra space. Cryogen usage is minimized through isothermal cryogen injection, and enhanced fan performance offers flexibility for product development. Air Liquide installed the cryogen storage vessel and its associated piping, and supplied training to on-site personnel.
 
In the past year, throughput at Emil’s has increased by 23 percent while nitrogen usage has decreased by 30 percent. Sanitation time and costs have been reduced by a whopping 75 percent. “We save enough in sanitation costs alone to cover the cost of the freezer lease,” says Roedl.
 
For more information:
Linda Krupps; 713-624-8051; linda.krupps@airliquide.com

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Fabulous Food Plant: Paramount Citrus

Learn more about this fabulous food plant in Food Engineering's article, found here.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

What was your favorite part of FA&M 2014?

View Results Poll Archive

THE MAGAZINE

Food Engineering Magazine

Food engineering magazine 2014 april cover

2014 April

Catch a preview of the Powder and Bulk Show in this April 2014 edition of Food Engineering. Also, be sure to check out a coffee stick making a real stir and a major advancement in the the pet food industry.
Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

 

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.pnglinkedin_40px.png