In 2013 when we made the decision to Increase our IQF capacity at Willamette Valley Fruit Company we began an in depth search for the best IQF freeze tunnel we could find. After researching every option we chose the OctoFrost™. For us it was an easy choice. We do not have the luxury of a huge processing facility with lots of extra square feet for equipment. The footprint of the OctoFrost™ was much smaller than other freeze tunnels with the same throughput capacity. So it just fit best.
In addition to that we were drawn to the idea that we could control fan speed and bedplate agitation which would give us an advantage in freezing fragile fruit. Another detail that was important to us was ease of operation, long run times between defrost and quick and simple sanitation. During our peak season when the berries are being harvested any down time is production loss that we can never get back. Another advantage that we were drawn to was the claim that there would be less dehydration loss through the freezing process in an OctoFrost™. So those advantages, along with the attractive price tag led us to choose OctoFrost™.
Our interactions with the OctoFrost™ Team were very good and their explanations of how the system worked were very detailed. The ordering process was simple and they shipped the unit to us on time and it arrived when they said it would. This was very important as we had limited time to get the new system online and running before the coming berry season. An added surprise was the ease of unloading, rolling the unit in place and making the refrigeration, electrical, air and water connections. The OctoFrost™ Team sent us very helpful and detailed manuals. In addition to that we had several meetings over the phone where they went through the details of set up and connections.
We were very impressed with the operation of our new OctoFrost™. We actually exceeded the stated capacity of the tunnel which was not expected and we were able to run 22 hours between defrosts on wet, sloppy blackberries! Being able to remove the front bed plates and exchange for clean ones once the airflow holes get plugged with juice is just brilliant! Later on in the season during blueberry production we were able to achieve up to 48 hours of run time between shut downs for defrost. The coil blower that keeps the snow build up off the coil is a huge advantage and it also doubles as a coil defroster during defrost mode which speeds up the defrost cycle considerably. And right away we noticed better finished product yields over our older freeze tunnel due to less dehydration loss.
So in 2014 when we decided to install another freeze tunnel in our operation the choice was an easy one. We got a second OctoFrost™. We had the same kind of great experience and got a new tunnel with some even better features which included new and improved acetyl bedplates for less product friction, a wider bedplate which improves capacity 10% with the same refrigeration, and even more fan speed control.
We couldn’t be happier with the performance of our OctoFrost™ freeze tunnels.
Scott Dunn, Operations Manager
Willamette Valley Fruit Company, USA