What Is Individual Quick Freezing(IQF) and How Does It Work?

What Is Individual Quick Freezing(IQF) and How Does It Work?

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October 7, 2022

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Looking for superior and quicker food freezing technology for your business? Your search may end with IQF or individual quick freezing! It is a known fact that fresh produce, be it fruits, vegetables, seafood, or meat products, loose freshness over a period of time due to oxidation and microorganism growth/activity. Standard refrigeration systems do not prove efficient here.

Frozen food items have excellent quality and nutritive value. In fact in many cases, especially for green peas and sweet corn, the frozen item may have a superior taste to the fresh produce. IQF frozen fruits and vegetables appeal to businesses because of their sought-after appearance, flavour and nutrition similar to that of fresh produce. Individual quick freezing makes it possible for businesses to offer ‘freshly picked’ produce to today’s busy consumers in convenient packaging throughout the year.

Let us get into details to understand individual quick freezing.

What Is IQF?

Individual quick freezing is a special freezing method in which each and every product is frozen individually, even if multiple product types are frozen in the same area. For instance, every pea or each corn kennel is individually frozen completely and they do not lump together like a single block of ice. Instead, all products are separate from each other.

IQF frozen peas

IQF is usually performed using blast freezers and is primarily used for products such as berries, peaches, french fries, chicken, shrimps, salmon, peas, corn, fish, etc.

What Makes Individual Quick Freezing Attractive to Businesses?

Here are some of the benefits of individual quick freezing.

  • Faster: As the name suggests, individual quick freezing is faster. This means the freezing time is shorter which prevents the formation of large ice crystals inside the fruit or vegetable cells. In fact, ice crystals that are formed due to slower methods of freezing are larger in size and can do cellular damage, affecting the texture, flavour and quality of the products.
  • Efficient: IQF delivers maximum uptime, meets or exceeds your hygiene needs, and makes processing easier and power efficient.
  • Avoids food wastage: Since each product is frozen individually and items do not cohere, consumers can take out the portion conveniently that needs to be frozen. This means no leftovers and food wastage.
  • Reduces packaging: In many cases, producers package pieces separately to avoid clumping or sticking together. It is not only time-consuming and costly but also an environmental hazard. Individually quick frozen products on the other hand can be packaged together.

How Does Individual Quick Freezing Work

Here’s what you need to know about the working principle of individual quick freezing.

IQF involves ultra-quick freezing, i.e. the products are frozen quickly at very low temperatures for terminating the microbial activity that can lead to food spoilage. In this technology, each piece is frozen using a fluidization method in which the product is in high-velocity air. This freezes the product within a few minutes instead of three to four hours. Controlled turbulence at the start of the freezing process speeds up heat transfer and ensures fast, gentle crust freezing when the food product is most fragile. Crust freezing locks in product moisture before the final core freezing, as well as preserves product weight, appearance and quality. A unique thumbing system in the pre-cooling section avoids the lumping of pieces being frozen.

How Is Rinac Changing IQF Landscape?

Rinac offers two types of IQF freezers—straight belt or spiral belt. Usually, Rinac’s IQF freezer unit comes with a matching refrigeration package and consists of the following parts or equipment.

  • Modules of varying capacities ranging from 500 to 5000 kg/hr.
  • Enclosure made of sandwich panels with RPUF core and stainless steel/pre-painted GI metal lamination inside and outside.
  • Stainless steel finish floor with built-in drain system.
  • Single or multiple belt units of SS/PE/POM.
  • High static fans for excellent fluidization.
  • Variable speed drive with motor control VFD.
  • Varying fin type cooling coil of SS tubes/aluminium fins suitable for ammonia liquid pumping.
  • PLC-based control panel with touch screen and product-based operation modes.
  • Automatic air defrost system (for Straight line IQF) with unique Frost Buster.Staright line IQF

Spiral line IQF

Unique features:
Rinac’s straight belt series comes with the following features.

  • Factory-finished SS Floor with built-in drain arrangement.
  • Automatic air defrost system which ensures over 18 hours of continuous operation without water defrost.
  • The electrical control panel with user-friendly PLC touch screen, and an emergency stop system along with VFDs and UPS control power.
  • Individually adjustable double belt system for different product processing.
  • High-velocity airflow inside freezers ensures high quality of freezing. The airflow is controlled to perfectly suit each product which gives an even temperature throughout the freezer and uniform high product quality.
  • Operates as a complete stand-alone or option to operate in combination with other systems.

Rinac’s spiral belt series offers the following features:

  • Factory-finished SS Floor with built-in drain arrangement.
  • Electrical control panel with a user-friendly PLC touch screen, and an emergency stop system together with lighting control, located outside the freezer.
  • Adjustable belt speed through frequency-controlled motors in order to adjust holding times.
  • Designed for continuous production
  • High-velocity airflow inside freezers ensures high quality of freezing
  • Food grade MOC ensures a high standard of hygiene
  • In-built stainless steel deflectors help to direct cold air over the product
  • Can act as a complete stand-alone or in combination with other systems.

Final Words

Individual quick freezing technology has transformed the food industry. This method is not only faster and more energy efficient but also maintains the quality, texture, and flavour of the product. When making a decision for your frozen food or food processing business, make sure to consider the capacity, features, and, and energy efficiency of the IQF freezers.

To know more about how Rinac can help you adopt the right IQF freezer with the much-needed functionalities, get in touch with us today!

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