GEA has announced two new options for its trusted A-Tec spiral freezer for the North American market that provide significant hygiene and practical benefits to its food processing customers while maintaining all the essential and unique performance features of the range. By locating the fan electrical motor outside the freezer, GEA has made the A-Tec much easier to clean and maintain than its market rivals; the company has also added a low profile top drive option that reduces the overall height of the freezer for use in confined spaces.
External fan and gearbox for improved access and hygiene
GEA’s designers have succeeded in locating the fan and gearbox of the A-Tec spiral freezer outside the freezer taking them out of the food area, reducing the number of component surfaces within the unit and significantly improving hygiene. Their external location also provides free access to these key components making cleaning and maintenance much easier, especially as the inside of the freezer is running at -30°C.
Key A-Tec features maintained
These new developments have been achieved without affecting any of the essential and unique features of the A-Tec machines. These include: highly effective horizontal airflow that minimizes the temperature rise from the top to the bottom of the spiral, thereby reducing dehydration of the product and improving yield; the unique, sloped, fully welded, fully insulated floor of the A-Tec that removes the need for under-floor heaters, eliminates the risk of accidental floor damage should heaters fail, and provides a very high level of hygiene; and GEA’s unique sequential coil defrosting system that is simple, effective, easy to clean and allows the freezer to run continuously for up to six days in combination with GEA Static Pressure Control System for perfect air balance control – compared with 8-16 hours for machines without the technology.
“We know how important these features are to our customers,” said Mathieu Nouhin, GEA Product Manager Freezing, “but we also wanted to include the external drive to further enhance hygiene and make maintenance easier. With the A-Tec we have achieved a fully open area that’s easy to access. We have managed to really improve the product without losing any of the features that have made it so popular with our customers in the past.”
Low Profile Top Drive (LPTD)
In a further advancement, GEA engineers have turned their attention to the overall height of the spiral freezer that is important for some users where headroom is restricted. The standard A-Tec rises to around nine meters overall height, however GEA has now introduced the LPTD option that reduces that height by around 1.6 meters. This allows it to fit more easily into constrained spaces.
The LPDT is located on the top of the freezer but is driven by a gearbox positioned externally on the side of the freezer. This alternative configuration also allows easy access for cleaning and maintenance, maintains all the key features of the A-Tec, and reduces the overall height of the unit for applications where this is critical.