blast freezing

Looking to Aerospace to Save Produce

February 08, 2020

Protect the produce.

Among the numerous commodities we handle, Lineage receives crops from farmers and brings them straight into our facilities for storage before they are transported to supermarkets worldwide. First things first, Lineage cools the fresh product from field temperature to frozen via blast freezing, an essential step in the cold chain process that has been practiced for generations. Once placed in big rooms called blast freezers, we “blast” very cold air (between -35F and -25F to be exact) through the product, effecting the freezing process and allowing for safe storage and transport.

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The necessity of invention.

Recently, a Lineage customer in Central California had a bumper crop. They came to Lineage with an unprecedented volume of product, more than anyone in the region could handle. There was simply too much to blast freeze within the required amount of time. Lineage put our Applied Sciences team on the case.

Over a weekend, the team deployed to solve this puzzle. They started from square one, challenging and testing fundamental tenets of the blast-freezing process that had been widely accepted for decades.

Lineage's Applied Sciences team brings some of the brightest minds in Silicon Valley together to help feed the world.

Food physics.

The team used advanced calculus and simulation to analyze the situation. They conducted airflow simulation models to determine how air flows in the blast cell and through the packaging. They looked at every angle – and their findings resulted in the reimagination of blast freezing as we know it.

As a result, Lineage redesigned both the blast freezer and the customer’s packaging, reducing blast-freezing time by 40%. Lineage saved the customer’s crop, reduced energy consumption and reinvented the age-old process of blast freezing along the way. Lineage can now blast freeze more than 5 million pounds of product per day at a single facility.

Blast cells have typically been used the same way by everyone. Lineage found a better way to do it. Lineage now has a patent for this technology—with 15 more innovative patents in process for a variety of new technologies and approaches.