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How to pick the right cryogenic chilling systems for your food plant

Posted by Simon Shamoun | Sep 25, 2015 11:33:22 AM | Food Chilling & Freezing

If you're a seafood, red meat, poultry or pork processor who wants to move from other methods to cryogenic chilling, but are confused about which cryogenic technologies are the best fit for your operation or process, look no further. Here is a rundown of a few of the most commonly used cryogenic chilling systems used by protein processors and their pros and cons. If you are in the commercial baking industry, click here to learn more..




Carbon Dioxide (CO2) snow horns

Pros: The quickest and easiest option for processors who want to move beyond water and dry ice pellets, with the least amount of capital investment. Snow horns are easily adapted to most chilling equipment, and deliver a step change in a processor's ability to obtain optimal temperature and product firmness while also saving on labor costs, since the need to manually shovel dry ice is eliminated.

Cons: When used on mixers or blenders, the risk of creating hot and cold spots in the batch remains. There is also the risk of contamination caused by accumulated moisture on the snow horn dripping onto the product.  A better solution is CO2 bottom injection chilling.


CO2 Snow Generators

Snow generators take CO2 snow horn technology to the next level by generating large quantities of dry ice snow on-demand.

Pros: Snow generators give processors the ability to produce dry ice on demand, eliminating the need to buy it and the space required to store it. The generators typically have an integral exhaust enclosure; which acts as a safer alternative than a traditional dry ice storage bin. And the on-demand function reduces wasted product due to sublimation over periods of non-use over purchased pellets.

Cons: Capital cost of buying or renting the generator. Manual labor may still be required to move and shovel the snow to where it is needed. 


Automated combo-bin chilling

Pros: A better way to achieve accurate and consistent temperatures than filling bins manually with water or dry ice, which is labor intensive. Automated batch systems provide a more efficient, consistent and safer way to chill, because the cryogen is evenly dispersed in uniform layers to ensure it is chilled to its final, desired temperature.

Cons: This technology has a higher capital cost, but payback typically is short. Carbon dioxide suppliers often will rent the equipment, which reduces capital expenses.


Bottom injection

Pros: One of the quickest and most efficient ways to chill product when mixing or blending. Removes heat more efficiently and rapidly as the cryogen -- nitrogen or CO2 -- circulates through the batch. Other benefits of bottom injection include:

  • Fast temperature equilibration
  • Shorter cycle times and enhanced product quality
  • Reduced cryogen use compared with top injection to achieve the same desired temperatures.

Cons: Somewhat higher capital cost but the payback is usually quick. Existing mixers can be retrofitted with new injectors to reduce cost. An option to rent also reduces CAPEX.

Check out this guide focusing on just chilling for mixers, blenders or even kettles for cooked products. 

Download our Mixer Chilling White Paper


Box chilling

Chills finished product in boxes so it stays cool as it travels along a conveyor prior to use elsewhere in a plant or through the shipping process .

Pros: Automated box chilling systems eliminate the manual labor, dripping water and venting of CO2 that results from chilling with water, ice or dry ice pellets. It provides a more accurate and consistent use of CO2 by gently distributing CO2 snow into open boxes or totes and adapts to most conveyor lines

Cons: Somewhat higher CAPEX but typically offset by labor savings, improved safety and product aesthetics.



Download our Chilling White Paper


  • For a personalized view of how cryogenic chilling can drive efficiency in your production process, request a free in-plant assessment.
  • To learn more about carbon dioxide and how it is made and distributed to you, click here.  

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