WATT PoultryUSA - October 2015 - 18

18 ❙ WATT POULTRY USA

■ POULTRY PROCESSING
Water systems do have some major disadvantages:
» Moisture fluctuation will cause serious issues with product sizing in whole birds
» Labor costs are much higher as birds must be rehung
after the water chillers
» Market perception in parts of the world is that water
chilling means lower quality than air chilling
» Loss of product identity, as birds comingle and not "first
in - first out" 

Air chilling advantages
While there are few air chill systems in the U.S., there
are many in Canada. Air chilling is preferred in most of
Europe and many other parts of the world. 
There are basically three types of air chillers: the
traditional down flow dry air chillers, multistage air chillers with humidity added, and combination air/water chill
systems. However, almost all new systems are multistage
units with humidity systems that provide much better
performance. In specific applications, the combination air/
water chill systems is increasing in use and giving different results to the other two types.

» Air water chilling technologies can offer the advantages of
more traditional water and air chilling approaches.

» Required floor space can be up to eight times more
» Up to twice as much dwell time is required
» Yield is lower. With traditional dry air systems, dehydration loss in the chill step can be up to 2.5 percent compared to 0.25-0 percent with multistage systems using
humidity cabinets.
» Product appearance can be an issue. If there is cuticle
damage, the birds can have very dry, dark patches after
air chilling. Air-chilled products can look drier and have
a higher value of red and yellow on the skin.
» Microbiological issues cannot be handled as easily

Combination chilling systems
Related story: Good cold chain requires
close monitoring during, post-processing
www.WATTAgNet.com/172279.html
There are clear advantages and disadvantages of dry
air and multistage with humidity compared to water chill.
Advantages include:
» Labor cost improves as carcasses can be auto-rehung
» Product identity is maintained as the birds entering the
chiller first exit first. This allows easier integration with
technology.
» No moisture variation, allowing more precise sizing
» No purged moisture in the finished packaging, particularly an issue in the tray pack product
» Perception in many markets that air chill delivers higher
quality
There are also some disadvantages:
» Initial costs and operational costs are much higher

The combination water/air systems have been
in limited use for several years. 
Some plants use spin water chillers as a first
step and then manually hang on an air chill line.
The fastest-growing and most widely used combination systems are from TopKip, Stork and Meyn, who all
make scalder tank-type water chillers that are part of the air
chill line with no manual rehang necessary. 
They combine many advantages of water and air chill:
» The product can still be classified as air chill if the system is properly operated
» Moisture pickup can be controlled from zero to more
than two percent, allowing an increase in yield
» Maximizes the air chill floor space 
» Reduces dwell time compared to air chill - TopKip
claims over 30 percent dwell reduction with its system
» Provides a medium for antimicrobial application
» Product quality improves as the brown patches and red
and yellow attributes are decreased. ■
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ October 2015


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