Frigo Block Inc. and Frigo Mechanics Inc. Board Member Levent Aydin notes that successful applications in industrial cooling systems directly affect the quality and shelf life of red and white meat products.
Can you briefly introduce Frigo Block Inc. and Frigo Mechanical Inc. to provide information about your activities?
Frigo Block Inc. It was founded in 1991. In the first years, he served the sector as an engineering company with foreign engineering services and focused on production in the following years. Frigo Block has now become a production center that has completed its integration in the production of industrial cooling systems with automatic sheet metal processing line, paint line, electrical panel production, heat changer lines, test units and R&D center. Besides its position among the leading companies in domestic field, it exports to approximately 75 countries abroad.
Frigo Mechanical Inc. was founded in 1989 and has continued to work on industrial cooling projects until today. Today, it has gained the leadership of the company in our country and in some foreign markets. As an engineering and contracting company, it has reached more than 100 staff, including 30 engineers. It serves logistics, chemistry, tourism, sports and entertainment sectors, especially food production facilities. Our company creates projects in line with the needs, supplies or produces equipment, assembles in the field, operates the plant and then provides service services. In other words, it briefly builds turnkey cooling systems.
"WE ARE TRYING TO INCREASE OUR VOLUME IN EXPORTS"
What kind of year has 2019 been for you that we are preparing to leave behind?
Can you tell us about your investments and projects this year?
Like all sectors, we have been affected by the economic tremors that began in the past year. The air conditioning sector is a sector with high export potential. It has an export capacity of 40 percent and a domestic market capacity of 60 percent. In this case, contractions and economic problems in the domestic market also affect air conditioning sector players. As the air conditioning sector, we have previously achieved export growth accelerations that have increased to 15-16 percent levels, but we see that it has decreased to 2-3 percent recently. However, we can say that we are more positive than many sectors. But we're behind the old momentum.
In 2019, we can say that we maintain our domestic market share and increase our market share abroad.
Turkey's image in international markets and our relations with other countries are also very important. There's been a lot of damage to these things lately. These all, unfortunately, affect the industry. Frigo Block is our production company, while Frigo Mechanical is our committed engineering company. We are a group that makes both production and application on the industrial cooling side. If I have to make an assessment for both; While we are currently trying to maintain our share at home, we are trying to increase our volume by obtaining new markets abroad. This is the first strategy that all companies should follow anyway. When there is a contraction in one market, we need to move forward by strengthening in other markets.
"COOLING IS ESSENTIAL FOR MEAT PRODUCTS"
What are your products in your portfolio for the red and white meat industry as a company?
Can you tell us about the companies that use your products and cooperate with in the sector in question?
In the red and white meat sector, industrial refrigeration products are needed in all areas from slaughterhouses to distribution chains and outlets. It is essential that the products reach the consumer without breaking the cold chain. Successful applications in industrial cooling systems directly affect the quality, waste quantity and shelf life of the product. If we look at it as a public institution, we serve the Meat and Dairy Institution, which is the largest institution in Turkey. In recent years, all cooling systems of the Meat and Dairy Institution's Ankara, Erzurum, Erzincan and Van slaughterhouses have been made by our company. These are all very large capacity slaughterhouses. In the private sector, the red meat side; Akşeker, Aytaç, Bereket Döner, Pınar Et, Iqbal, Trakya Et and Kayarlar are among the companies we serve. And on the white meat side; Beypilic, Bak Chick, Plenty of Turkey, Erpilic, Hastavuk, Keskinoğlu, Pınar Hindi and Yemsel companies are among our customers.
WHAT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED DURING COOLING?
How high are red and white meat cooled, what are the differences in cooling red and white meat? What should be considered during the cooling process?
In both red meat and white meat products, the product temperature after slaughter is around +38°C. This product should be reduced to 0/+4 °C within the required time with rapid cooling. In the red meat sector, cold rooms with monorail system are generally created. Carcass meat is hung in this monorail system and left to cool. Different cooling times are planned according to the case of the carcass being full, half or quarter, or if the live animal is a cattle or small head. In the white meat industry, cold rooms are created, which are expressed as air chillers. These rooms feature a monorail system. Entering this room hanging from the monorail, the slaughtered full chicken moves through the room, cooling off and out of the room. In other words, this process continues continuously on an uninterrupted line. During pre-cooling, cooling capacity, cooling time, defletion rate, blowing temperature and air speed functions should be well planned and the right products should be selected.
How to plan a cold storage of meat and what should be their layout plan? What do you recommend to industrialists at this point?
First of all, the housing temperature of the product is the main function. In both red and white meat products; room temperature of 0 °C in fresh housing and -18 °C in frozen housing should be planned. In order to ensure homogeneous temperature in the room, the number and characteristics of evaporators must be selected correctly. Air speed and the way air circulates are important. The product should not be dried. No water should be taken from the product during the cooling operation.
This affects both product quality and the amount of waste. When designing cold room dimensions, it is important to avoid unnecessary space and heights. An unnecessary volume both increases the cost of investment and increases the cost of energy. All functions such as monorail, rack system, pallet size, evaporator height, forklift working area should be analyzed with precision and room measurements should be determined in the light of this information.
All detail materials of the cold tank such as floor insulation of cold storage, pressure concrete and floor covering on floor insulation, cold room door, panel thickness, heat permeability coefficient of panel filler material, panel surface material, fire resistance of cold room panels, lighting equipment in the room should be selected correctly.
Finally, can you tell us about your new investments and goals in your agenda for the food sector, especially meat products, in the coming period?
The main factors to be considered in the design of industrial cooling plants; the first investment cost is energy efficiency, maintenance and repair expenses, environmental sensitivity and product and human adaptivity. In the past, the first investment cost was at the forefront, and now the concept of "lifetime cost" has come to the forefront. The concept of lifetime cost is energy efficiency, service, maintenance and spare parts costs, failure risks, operational costs due to failures, product risks. Given the lifetime costs when designing industrial cooling systems, ammonia, carbon dioxide, glycol water fluids come to the forefront instead of classic Freon-derived refrigerants.
As Frigo Block and Frigo Mechanical companies, we follow technological developments in the world and plan our engineering efforts with a focus on the result of "customer advantage".
Why is pre-cooling important in meat businesses?
In both the red meat and white meat sectors, the pre-cooling operation after slaughter is vital. During the pre-cooling operation, all functions such as cooling capacity, cooling time, densuffle rate, blowing temperature and air speed must be perfectly designed. The pre-cooling process determines product quality. One of the most important factors determining shelf life is the pre-cooling operation. If the pre-cooling system is not designed as needed, product quality is affected, the color of the product changes and drying can occur on its surface, shelf life can be shorter and the amount of waste increases. We have facilities that process hundreds of tons of meat every day in our country. Imagine that even a waste difference of 1% in this production would cause huge financial losses for manufacturers.
"Journal of Food Technology" December 2019 interview