Seafood and fish processing

BUCO Falling Film Chiller in seafood and fish processing

With decades of experience in refrigeration, we strive to provide the best solutions for customer applications in the fish industry. The ice water temperature of 0.5°C of our Falling Film Chillers is the optimal medium for pre-cooling cooked seafood, controlled temperatures for fish or shellfish growth in aquacultures, as well as for the species-appropriate slaughter of fish.

The following customer problems have been successfully solved with falling film chillers and give a good overview of the above advantages in practice:

  1. Cooling of shrimps, squid, octopus and cooked seafood in general.  
  2. Control of fish or shellfish growth at constant seawater temperatures in aquacultures
  3. Slaughtering fish in an animal welfare friendly manner

1. Cooling of shrimps, squid, cuttlefish and cooked seafood in general

Customers‘ problem

After cooking in water (water temperature 60°C to 95°C), all these products need to be cooled to -20°C, mostly in IQF freezers (Immersion Quick Freezers). The product must be pre-cooled as quickly as possible, preferably down to 0°C or near to it, to ensure low energy loss and minimal loss of product flavour and colour in IQF freezers. The basic problem of contaminated return water with product particles in conventional water chillers is filter handling problems due to frequent filter cleaning during the day and monthly replacement of the plate heat exchanger gaskets. To ensure the required process times, the water chillers cannot be switched off for cleaning purposes.

Falling Film Chiller solution

The product is cooled as quickly as possible with direct ice water contact. In production, for example, cooked shrimp is pre-cooled from 60°C to 3°C in 5 minutes with an ice water temperature of 0.5°C. At 3°C, the shrimp went into the IQF freeze dryers, which significantly reduced energy consumption. If they had entered the IQF freeze dryers at higher temperatures, energy consumption and processing time would have increased. A BUCO Falling Film Chiller can also cool the seafood cooking water, which contains all these particles, to pre-cool them. This ensures that colour, flavour and weight losses are negligible. Small product particles as well as herbs and spices can easily recirculate in the falling film cooler.

Air cooling, just to express the difference, brings all the problems mentioned above. Loss of weight, colour and flavour. These have to be added artificially during the process. After or even during the product process, the BUCO Falling Film Chiller can be easily opened as it is accessible from all sides for cleaning according to hygiene regulations. No spare parts need to be replaced, which means no additional costs in the future. The dimensions of Falling-Film allow units to be installed above any assembly line.

2. Control of fish or shellfish growth through constant seawater temperatures in aquacultures

Customers‘ problem

The temperature of seawater fluctuates throughout the year, so aquaculturists want to keep the temperature of seawater as constant as possible to manage the growth of fish according to the demand of their markets or end customers. Fresh seawater always contains algae, recirculated water in tanks containing fish scales, fish glue or or other excrements cause serious cleaning problems in conventional plate heat exchangers if not filtered with great effort, e.g. daily filter cleaning and monthly replacement of plate heat exchanger gaskets. To control water temperatures, chillers cannot be easily shut down for cleaning purposes.

Falling Film Chiller solution

Water is cooled to constant temperatures. Minimal cleaning due to the self-cleaning effect of the plates due to the constant falling film. After or even during the product process, the BUCO Falling Film Chller can be easily opened as it is accessible from all sides for cleaning, if necessary, in compliance with the hygiene regulations for fish farming. Product particles in the water to be cooled do not freeze or get stuck in hard-to-clean places. No spare parts need to be replaced, which means no additional costs in the future.

3. Slaughtering fish in an animal welfare friendly manner

Customers' problem

The slaughter of fish should not only be carried out under animal welfare aspects, but also under consumer protection and economic aspects with regard to technical feasibility. The methods must be practicable for farms slaughtering quantities ranging from a few kilograms to several tons per day. Most of the methods used so far are not animal welfare compliant, which may lead to a lack of regulations and alternative methods.

Falling Film Chiller solution

Recent developments for fish slaughter (especially salmon) have shown good results in meeting extreme fish slaughter requirements.  The ice water of close to 0°C brings the temperature of the fish down ideally for an animal-friendly death.

Customer tests prove the combined following advantages of the Falling Film Chiller

  • Water cooling down to 0.5°C.
  • Open system, cleaning possible at any time even during operation, thus optimal hygiene.
  • Product particles in the warm return water do not lead to freezing. There are no inaccessible corners and angles that make cleaning difficult.
  • Icing due to irregularities in the compressor cannot cause mechanical deformation.
  • Simple system, no seals, no spare parts, i.e. no additional costs due to running times.
  • Minimal cleaning effort due to self-cleaning effect of the plates due to constantly falling water film
  • Can be easily installed above any assembly line.
  • All parts made of stainless steel. Complies with all hygiene standards worldwide.

We have always assimilated engineering science and thermodynamics optimally in the various manufacturing processes.

Thermodynamicists,mechanical engineers and welding engineers define the dimensioning, design and construction of customised heat exchanger panels and systems in materials ranging from mild and austenitic steels through to titanium, and ensure successful distribution of their work worldwide.

In doing so they fall back on production engineering expertise and calculations developed in the course of the past hundred years that are still being continuously optimised in an ongoing process.

In the perception of our customers, the Buco product stands for:

Technical and process-oriented consulting
Thermodynamic efficiency
Quality and longevity