Swiss dry ice and CO2 recovery plant specialist Comtecswiss has exclusively revealed to gasworld the launch of its new oil-free dry ice machine, described as a ‘world innovation’ in this ever-growing market.
The TRIPLE-ICE102 EMD Series and TWIN-ICE102 EMD offer a wide range of significant improvements on existing technologies, such as oil-free operation, no need for any hydraulic drive, and a snow/gas chamber made in one piece and with integrated snow/gas separation for long-life operation without any removable parts/devices.
Such innovation sets a brand new path forward in dry ice production technology, against the traditional backdrop of hydraulic forced-based systems that the industry is so used to.
It also comes at a time when the dry ice markets are known to be in high growth mode globally, with this inherently cool, cryogenic product in hot demand across a range of applications.
A solid form of carbon dioxide (CO2), dry ice is an incredibly dynamic material and demand for it has been growing significantly in recent years. Physically unique in that it sublimates from a solid to a gas, while providing refrigeration value, its growth has primarily been associated with its increased usage in food processing plants as well as in portable refrigeration of food products.
Examples include the salmon industry using dry ice for the cooling of fresh salmon; the poultry industry using dry ice after the packaging line; and the wider meat packaging industry using dry ice for many years.
There are also applications in shipping pharmaceutical products worldwide, while dry ice blasting is one of the most renowned end uses and continues to be an increasingly popular cleaning method across multiple industries.
These are just a few examples, and an onsite production solution ensures business continuity at the company by delivering dry ice on-demand.
The future is now
Delivering dry ice via onsite machines has traditionally been achieved by systems that are driven by a hydraulic force, using oil to generate the enormous pressing force to compress dry ice snow into dry ice slices, dry ice blocks and a variety of pellet sizes.
Using hydraulic power means that the system is driving the hydraulic pistons to feed the generated dry ice snow from liquid CO2 from the snow chamber, into the pressing chamber where the dry ice form is formed.
Comtecswiss Managing Director Mario Principe explained, “As an industry, all our dry ice machines which we have been producing and distributing to the international markets have produced all forms of dry ice for food cooling, for dry ice blasting, for airline catering services and so many other applications, driven by the use of a hydraulic drive.”
“We have offered various solutions to reduce the noise emission of hydraulic systems and take precautions to avoid that hydraulic oil contaminating the produced dry ice.”
All that could be about to change, however, with Comtecswiss now unveiling its new oil-free dry ice machine to the market, powered by Germany-based Cryonco GmbH, and Principe describing it as a ‘world innovation in dry ice production’.
“With our newly developed electro-mechanical drive, optimised snow/gas separation chamber made out of one piece, without any screws holding the chamber in position and together, no additional gas/snow separating filters, and a significant reduction in assembled parts, the TRIPLE-ICE102 EMD is a completely newly designed, multi-functional dry ice machine,” he says.
“Thanks to the very good relationship with our national and international customers, we have always welcomed their inputs, experience and wishes for new adjustments to their needs.”
All of which has culminated in theTRIPLE-ICE102 EMD Series and TWIN-ICE102 EMD offering. In addition to a patented oil-free operation, no hydraulic drive, and a snow/gas chamber made in one rigid piece (also patented), other significant improvements to the technology include newly developed liquid CO2 injectors which produce granular snow for better separation of the CO2 gas – which improves the overall conversion ratio from liquid CO2 into dry ice snow – and exchangeable extruder plates at the side of the machine.
The system reduces the overall pressing force from 40 tonnes down to 23 tonnes, meaning less stress is placed on the machine, while its modular construction and well-engineered parts ensure maximum quality. “Thanks to this high precision manufacturing, the need for additional grinding and surface finishing machines have become complete obsolete,” Principe says.
Other features include all connections (such as for liquid CO2 inlet or CO2 gas outlet) ‘nicely positioned’ at the upper level of the machine to give way and space at the rear side of the machine, an electrical cabinet installed at the rear side of the unit and an air conditioning device for the electrical compartment included as standard.
“The TRIPLE-ICE102 technology has been tested and is based on the know-how gained from customer feedback and the current state of the machine building standard,” Principe adds.
“Improvements, new and proven drives, a clearly structured approach in development and good cooperation with international customers enable us to realise the ideas in accordance with our motto, Realizing Ideas.”
Describing the future as being here now, he concluded, “With the TRIPLE-ICE102 EMD we have taken another big step forward in technology and created a great successor to the TRIPLE-ICE and TWIN-ICE Series.”