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Refrigeration techniques in the food industry

Always the right climate in your production

Impeccable food safety starts with the right temperature at every stage of the production process. A controlled production climate is therefore of paramount importance, but comes with an unavoidable energy cost.

At Equans, we know how to translate the idiosyncrasies of your process and building into installations that are performant, reliable and, above all, economical, allowing you to pass the strictest quality standards at the lowest operating costs.

Specific challenges in food production

Producing food brings its own very specific challenges. Geert Van Der Veken, Department Manager Cooling/HVAC at Equans : "The environment in which food is produced must in no way compromise quality and food safety. Two elements are important in this respect. On the one hand, air treatment to ensure the desired moisture content and prevent food from coming into contact with contamination. On the other hand, cooling and heating to ensure that they are exposed to the right temperatures at every stage." As a multi-technology partner, Equans boasts more than half a century of experience to come up with an appropriate solution to these challenges."

Planning crucial in air treatment system integration

When it comes to air treatment, Geert sees planning as the main focus. "We have the techniques at our fingertips. Whether the customer needs clean piping, laminar air velocities... We always work out a concept tailored to the requirements. Only then do we start looking for suitable suppliers who can best meet them in terms of delivery time and specifications."

But because HVAC installations have to be integrated into the construction along with the building, many parties have to work together in a coordinated and meticulous manner to achieve the desired result. Timing is everything. "Equans' strength is the size of our organisation. If more capacity is needed to meet the deadline, we can switch quickly with our teams. Additionally, as a BIM expert, we are a perfect partner for architects and study firms."

Energy-efficient cooling systems

Cooling production is one of the biggest cost items on the energy bill. Therefore, the importance of energy efficiency cannot be underestimated today. "The customer can always count on the most economical installation. For Equans, that is always the starting point. We have been working for years on total solutions where we use the residual heat from our cooling installation in places in production where heat is just needed. Integrated solutions, in other words, which are calculated in detail by our engineering office DESS (Development of Energy Saving). That way, we can achieve the best efficiencies."

To maintain the highest quality, however, companies cannot afford downtime in their cooling plants. "We therefore build redundancy into critical systems. By putting them together from multiple circuits, for example, so that even if one fails, work can continue. We also rely on remote monitoring. If a parameter (temperature, pressure, current, etc.) is no longer within certain limits, we can intervene immediately. In most cases, our technicians on duty solve the problem online themselves. If they do have to go on site, they already know what is needed to carry out the repair," says Geert.

Unburdening the customer completely

In terms of air treatment as well as cooling and heating, we can also provide maintenance and after-service. "We want to be a partner. The aim is to completely unburden the customer throughout the life of the installation. Problems can arise at any stage. Customers can rely on us to always put everything right. Because when it comes to air treatment and cooling, there can be no compromises. The installations must work and deliver the promised performance."

Article published in Foodtec magazine on 10 October 2022.


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