QFR Zone® – The Perfect Balance Between Freeze Quality and Utility Consumption

Tippmann Group’s QFR Zone® is the most energy and labor efficient solution for freezing palletized product. The QFR Zone® provides the perfect balance between product freeze quality and utility consumption. The three primary factors in the freezing balance include: product type and packaging, environment temperature, and air flow.

Product type is the first factor to be considered in freezing; however, freezing any product is greatly affected by these aspects:

  • Case & packaging material
  • Case height
  • Pallet spacers
  • Pallet build
  • Type of product being frozen

In our experience, pallet design is rarely influenced by freeze requirements, therefore these other factors should be considered before the freezing process. Knowing we cannot modify the product to improve the ability to freeze, we set out to design a system robust enough to handle product in the real world environment. Product comes in the doors on different spacers, too hot, soaking wet, compressed and with numerous other issues. Our system is designed to overcome all issues the real world provides.

In the past, the solution to decreasing freeze time has predominately been to drop the environment temperature. While it is important to maintain a negative temperature difference from the freezing environment to the product freeze goal, it is easy to lose the balance of heat transfer to the freeze environment. With the QFR Zone® we do not manipulate environment temperature until we have reached diminishing returns on air speed (heat transfer). The reason we design with this in mind is primarily due to cost. Running a system at -40°F air temperature results in 2.66 Horsepower/ton of refrigeration efficiency on a 2 stage system, while running at a -10°F air temperature results in 1.73 HP/TR efficiency on a 1 stage system. To put this efficiency difference into perspective, freezing one truck per day all year at -40°F paying $0.07/kwh cost approximately $27,986 compared to -10°F which cost $18,200. That is just utility cost. There are many other important factors to consider, such as operating conditions for labor, capital cost for a 2 stage system or CO2 system, and product purge from freezing with such a high temperature differential.

The difference between our QFR Zone® and the competition is consistent airflow combined with the ability to manipulate air speed. First, we start with a top-of-the-line, fully structural, pallet rack and plenum structure with pallet seals to provide the necessary seal to fully control the airflow from the top of the top pallet to the bottom of the bottom pallet. Second, we team up with an industry leading fan company to ensure that we have the right fan for the job; a fan that will not stall or start a hurricane effect under increased static pressure and will provide consistent airflow. We design each system to maximize airflow to the product characteristics and environment temperature.

Knowing that we cannot control the product, our focus is on what we can control—the air flow and environment temperature. We have always known that it is much cheaper to move air than to cool air and that is exactly what the QFR Zone® does. It simply balances airflow with environment temperature to provide cost effective, quality freezing of palletized product.

Current trends in the industry are also showing a great need for thawing product. Utilizing the same concepts and methodology as the QFR Zone®, Tippmann Group has developed the QTR Zone® (Quick Thaw Racking Zone). This technology has proved to be very attractive to many companies trying to optimize their production. The first install of the QTR Zone® is scheduled to be completed before the end of 2016.

For more information on either the QFR Zone® or the QTR Zone®, please contact us via email or at (260) 490-3000.