FAQS

Freeze Drying Equipment FAQ

What is Freeze Drying?

Freeze drying, also known as lyophilization, is widely regarded as a superior industrial drying and preservation method. By drying at lower pressure, boiling points are lowered which allows products to dried at lower temperatures compared to other methods. This reduces damage to the product and ensures cellular integrity is retained.

Perhaps the key benefit of freeze drying is that all cellular integrity is retained throughout the drying process. The only thing removed from the product is water. This means that products retain the following characteristics from when they're fresh to when they're dry:

  • Size/mass
  • Colour
  • Aroma
  • Nutritional value
  • Appearance
  • Shape
  • Flavour
  • Texture

Other benefits include the fact that vitamins and enzymes remain intact, shipping weight is significantly reduced and shelf-life is extended to over 2 years, providing suitable packaging is used. Reconstitution (rehydration) is almost instantaneous when water is added to the dried product.

General steps to successful freeze drying are as follows:

1.Freeze

Moisture is ‘locked’ into the product by freezing in a separate freezer.

NB: Difficult products can be frozen inside the Freeze Dryer. Shelf freezing reduces the shelf temperature in the chamber to -18°C or lower, but this adds to the processing time.

2.Load

Product is placed into a chamber, which is evacuated to low pressure. As a guide, atmospheric (sea level) pressure is 1017mBar, and the chamber is evacuated to around 1mBar before drying begins.

3.Dry

Energy is then gradually applied to the product over a period of 20-24 hours, although this varies depending on the product and loading. This heat (energy) causes the ice to sublimate – that is transform from ice to vapour without passing through the liquid phase. The water vapour is then attracted to the lower temperature ice coil where it condenses as ice.

4. Pack

Product is removed and packed in air tight sealed bags to prevent rehydration

What can be dried using freeze drying equipment?

Strictly speaking, anything can be freeze dried providing it contains water. Freeze drying is often used for food preservation and also for storing biologicals and pharmaceutical products. Examples include:

  • Vegetables, meat and fish
  • Fruits and juices
  • Aloe vera, echinacea, and neutraceuticals
  • Cultures for use in the dairy industry
  • Water damaged books and documents
  • Viruses and bacteria storage

Find out more about freeze drying applications.

We have a free guide to help you choose a freeze dry. To download this click our link - A Guide To Choosing A Freeze Dryer

Do you take care of installation?

Cuddon Freeze Dry's engineers will travel to your site to install and commission your freeze drying equipment.

At this point our engineers also train your staff to use the freeze drying equipment.

What do I get with the standard package?

All Cuddon freeze dryers are fabricated from T304 stainless steel, include 2 sets of stainless steel product trays, shelf freezing to -20°C, shelf heating to +60°C, CIF freight, installation, commissioning and staff training.

What optional extras are available for purchase?

We can quote a number of optional extras depending on your user requirements. A few common examples are as follows:

  • Lower and higher shelf freezing/heating as required
  • Tray trolley's for ease of handling
  • SCADA data acquisition
  • Air-cooled refrigeration condenser instead of water-cooled
  • Cooling tower for refrigeration condenser
  • Heat recovery system to allow for faster ice coil defrost time
  • Inclusion of remote monitoring facility via modem
  • IQ/OQ validation
Can you alter your freeze drying equipment to meet custom specifications?

Yes we can. Custom modifications can be built in during the manufacturing process. Upon confirmation of your order you’ll be required to submit a ‘User Requirement Form’ which outlines your requirements.

Does your price include local freight and local taxes/duties?

For New Zealand and Australia, delivery to site and taxes/duties are covered in the sale price.

For other countries, the customer is required to facilitate and pay for these components.

How much are Cuddon freeze dryers?

Prices vary according to the freeze drying equipment model and any additional extras required. Please use the freeze dry enquiry form to provide us with further information so that we can supply you with a quotation.

How long is the cycle time on Cuddon freeze dryers?

Most of our customers run our freeze dryers on a 24-hour cycle.

Our factory test before releasing any freeze dryer to market is to sublimate the ice condenser capacity of ice from the product trays to the ice coil. For example, for an FD80 (80kg ice condenser capacity), we’d freeze 80 litres of water in the product trays, sublimate this ice and condense it onto the ice condenser within 24 hours.

Drying cycle times will however depend on the type and amount of product being dried.

Do you offer a warranty?

Yes we do. A 12-month warranty is offered as standard on all of our freeze dryers.

Do you provide after-sales service?

Yes we do. Our team of engineers are happy to work with customers as required. This can be done via email or via remote access to your operating screens using a modem installed upon commissioning.

During the installation of your freeze dryer, Cuddon engineers will sub-contract local tradespeople to assist in the installation (for example, Refrigeration Engineers). This gives local tradespeople an understanding of our freeze drying equipment should they be required to assist in the future.

What are the payment terms?

We require an irrevocable Letter of Credit from your bank, plus 30% deposit on confirmation of order.

Progress payments for the next 60% of total will be invoiced during the manufacturing phase of your freeze dryer. The 90% invoiced to this point will need to be received by our company before the freeze drying equipment leaves our manufacturing plant.

Final 10% is payable upon successful commissioning of the Cuddon freeze dryer at your site.

What is the lead-time for a Cuddon freeze dryer?

Generally the manufacturing time varies between 16 weeks (FD80) and 22 weeks (FD1500). This will depend however on prior manufacturing commitments.

Depending on your location, shipping can take up to another 6 weeks (Europe), or less for Asia and USA (4 weeks).

Installation and commissioning takes from 1 week for an FD18 pilot freeze dryer to 8 weeks for the FD1500 industrial freeze dryer.

Ready to find out more?

Contact us now about your freeze dry enquiry.