Freezing and cooling systems

Cool solutions and frost-free freezing for bakery

GEA has consulted with the global bakery industry to provide a range of cooling and freezing systems that will meet the production requirements for cookies, cakes, pies, breads and pastries.

The TOR cooling tower is designed for cooling products on trays after baking. The vertical system of tiers for trays replaces traditional long horizontal cooling conveyors, and can also be used as a tray storage system, with automated loading and unloading. 

The S-Tec and A-Tec spiral freezers and coolers ensure optimum product quality, and can be integrated seamlessly into a full processing line. Offered in a range of belt widths, the systems feature two-stage cooling and freezing, an innovative frost-management system and controlled air balance, temperature and moisture control. 

Cooling coveyors from GEA allow biscuits and other products to cool naturally to ambient temperatures before further processing or packaging. Sets of conveyors can be designed to fit any building layout and footprint. 

 

Storage and cooling tower

The versatile TOR storage and cooling tower from GEA allows products on trays to be stored and cooled naturally after they have been baked, and before injection or depanning and transfer for packaging . Replacing traditional long cooling conveyors, the space-saving TOR tower unit is commonly integrated into a complete production plant, to cool products coming out of the GEA Imaforni oven. The tower unit can also be used as storage for tray recollection, with automated loading and unloading.

The TOR cooling tower comprises an ascending and a descending tier of tray-holding slots into which the baking trays are transferred from the oven to allow their products to cool. After cooling for the specified length of time the trays can then be transported directly to the  injection system for product filling at ambient temperature, or moved on to the depanning unit, before the products are delivered to the packaging section. The vertical TOR tower system saves a considerable amount of space in the production area when compared with a horizontal cooling conveyor.

The versatile TOR tower has a dual function, and can also be used as an automated tray storage, loading, unloading unit, which removes the need to manually load and unload trays when the plant is turned off and on. 

GEA can customize the tray capacity of the TOR tower to match the capacity of your plant. 

 

Product cooling after baking is a key stage in any bakery production line

GEA can provide natural cooling conveyor systems that will match the product requirements, and also fit within the layout of the building or existing line.

As baked products exit the oven, they are directed onto a cooling conveyor and during the time they spend passing on the conveyor, the process of transferring heat from the product into the atmosphere takes place. Cooling is an important stage for ensuring the controlled cooling and loss of moisture in the product so that it becomes cool enough for safe handling and packaging. 

Take off conveyor
Take off conveyor is usually placed after the tunnel oven to transfer the baked product to the cooling conveyors

Products such as biscuits, cookies, cakes and crackers usually need to cool at ambient temperature after baking. A suitable cooling time is recommended to avoid ‘checking’, which occurs when baked products break after removal from the oven, cooling and packaging. To prevent products from checking, they should be carefully cooled and there must also be a low moisture gradient between the outside and the center of the oven.

Some dough cookies and biscuits are very soft as they exit the oven and it can be difficult to strip them from the oven band. To counter this, a sufficient distance after the oven is recommended to allow for natural cooling and setting of the sugary cookie structure. If this post cooling can’t be achieved naturally, due to space constraints, filtered air can be blown onto the product and to the conveyor bottom to accelerate the cooling or setting process.

The use of curves and raised conveyors to lengthen the cooling conveyor may be necessary when the required product cooling time is longer. 

Cooling conveyor curve
Typical cooling system layout with a curve
Raised cooling conveyor
Raised cooling conveyor

Long cooling conveyors usually have multiple transfer points for the biscuits or cookies resulting in multiple transition points increasing the potential for misalignment. This can, in turn, reduce overall line efficiency and cause product damage due to dropping or bunching together. Uniform cooling and carefully designed conveying of products is therefore needed to ensure the highest quality finished baked goods. By allowing baked products to cool slowly and naturally, this helps to ensure maximum overall product quality shelf life.