Bakers producing chilled and frozen baked goods know that in order to consistently deliver outstanding quality products they must put hygiene top of their agendas. And rightly so, argues Steve Merritt, managing director of Epsom-based EPP, the company whose stated whose stated mission is to enable bakery innovation.

It is also remains top of the development criteria of Vulganus, the Finnish company that is a leading European manufacturer of spiral cooling and freezing systems for bakeries that demand the efficient, continuous and hygienic processing of their products.

“As result Vulganus spiral cooling systems are open and extremely easy to clean because flat surfaces have been avoided,” explains Mr Merritt.  “Each system is individually designed and manufactured case by case according to the process, product, desired capacity and space available to customers.

He goes on to explain why bakers should seriously consider continuous spiral system.  “Because they streamline the manufacturing process and the cooled products go to packing and distribution in a shorter time. This improves a bakery’s efficiency and productivity and ensures that the final products are fresh and have a long shelf life. It helps maximise the consistency and quality of finished products,” is his reasoning.

Vulganus has been heavily involved with the industry hygiene projects HYGILA (Hygiene Equipment in Food Industry) and EHEDG (European Hygienic Engineering and Designing Group) which set out to improves standard in the food processing sector and provided valuable data to the company which it has been able to incorporate in its development programme.

There are four efficient product lines in the Vulganus range. The Arctic for rapid cooling and freezing: Tropicl for controlled proofing; Clean Line for clean air cooling and Softcool for ambient cooling. 

The Arctic Line is particularly suitable for large volume producers. Product is chilled or frozen quickly and efficiently with fully enclosed air circulation. The rapid process limits the growth of bacteria and its washing system ensures high hygiene levels.  Special attention has been paid to making the air coolers easy to clean and airflow can be from the side or through the spiral belt. “It is also important to remember that rapid processing minimises weight loss and enables improved productivity,” stressed Merritt,

For long shelf-life natural, additive free tin bread, pies and pizzas the highly hygienic continuous Clean Line cooling system with its insulated enclosure where the temperature is continuously monitored and a special clean air filtration unit constantly filters the air is ideal.

With hygiene being the main principle in its development programme it has resulted in Vulganus offering the most up-to-date washing and drying technology. The Steriline CIP (Clean in Place) washing system enables the spiral belt, drum and enclosing room to go through a fully automatic washing cycle at the press of a button. Fixed and rotating spray nozzles are strategically placed and utilised with washing, rinsing and sterilising cycles to guarantee the best possible results,

For those bakers demanding the most rigorous microbiological hygiene standards Vulganus also offers an ultrasonic belt washer as part of the Steriline range. Independent tests showed that the ultrasonic belt washer eliminated all the bacteria on the surface of the belt in less than 20 seconds.

A major advantage of this system is that its sterilising effects reaches even the smallest blind spots said Mr Merritt.

Back to freezing bakery goods, some bakery food manufacturers have to defrost freezers every few days. In some cases where products are made with relatively high moisture content, for example pizza, freezers have to be defrosted virtually every other day.

Vulganus has developed a system, which many have described as truly innovative, to prevent ice building up in industrial freezes which could in some instances pay for itself in an amazing three months.

Called Iceless it can be easily fitted to both new and existing lines to ensure ice free air coolers, belts and process rooms in bakeries. “It allows frozen baked products to be continuously made without the need for regular defrosting which results in considerable energy cost savings,” enthused Mr Merritt.