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Vacuum Freeze-Drying Recovery & Restoration

What is Freeze-Drying and How Does It Work?

Why a Freezedry Specialties Freeze-dryer?

Water Damage Items that can be Salvaged using Vacuum Freeze-drying

Pricing Guide for Vacuum Freeze-Drying Recovery

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Vacuum Freeze-Drying Recovery & Restoration

Freezedry Specialties, Inc. is a cutting-edge freeze-dry equipment manufacturer started in 1992 by President Alan Anger. Mr. Anger's background in freeze-drying technology has been over 28 years including international consulting. Freezedry Specialties, Inc. is dedicated to the designing and building of affordable, energy-efficient, freeze-dry systems that produce quality results with ease and simplicity.

Freezing, followed by vacuum freeze-drying is one of the most effective methods available to the restoration specialist for the recovery of water damage items. Freezing is the restoration specialist's first line of defense to stop further damage to water-absorbing books, documents and articles following a water loss. Freezing also buys the restoration specialist an unlimited amount of time to determine with the insurance company and homeowner the next course of action needed to restore the items.

There has been some confusion between the technologies of vacuum freeze-drying and vacuum-drying. The restoration specialist should understand the difference in the technologies. Both methods can remove water but with different results.

Vacuum freeze-drying has a number of significant advantages over vacuum-drying. Water remains in the frozen state during sublimation, a process that removes water from the solid state to the gaseous state. This avoids most of the problems associated with expansion, sticking and wicking of water-sensitive and soluble media. Vacuum-drying, generally considered to be the process that changes a liquid to a vapor, will result in a much greater risk of expansion, distortion, sticking, and staining. Vacuum-drying may allow additional damage during the drying cycle because the item remains in a liquid state until the water is evaporated.

Although both drying methods have been found to produce satisfactory results in a number of disaster recovery events, the preference is for vacuum freeze-dry because it is the least aggressive of the two methods. Vacuum freeze-drying will typically be priced higher than vacuum-drying, averaging 10-25% higher.

Vacuum Freeze-Drying
From the beginning of recorded history, man has struggled to find methods of preservation suitable for the long-term storage of goods and human cadavers. The Egyptians perfected mummification and the ancient Indians of the high Andes Mountains practiced a natural means of freeze-drying. Modern man has employed a variety of techniques including chemicals, mechanical refrigeration, cryogenics, sterilization, irradiation and dehydration to name a few. Of all the practices of long-term preservation, lyophilization (freeze-drying) is the most natural and produces a result that favors extended storage, and preserves biological specimens that mimic nature.

During the Second World War, the development of mechanical and vacuum systems capable of pressures and temperatures cold enough to freeze dry helped develop a means for storage of human plasma. Scientists, museums, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, food producers, taxidermists and florists have all discovered the advantages of freeze-drying, and each industry has developed applications to suit its specific requirements.

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What is Freeze-Drying?

Freeze-drying is a simple process that removes water (moisture) from frozen products, documents or keepsakes while they remain in a frozen state, thereby maintaining shape and biological structure.

How Does Freeze-Drying Work?
There are four basic requirements to freeze-dry a product.

  1. The object to be freeze-dried must be frozen solid. This freezing will lock the product structure firmly into position. The object is positioned before freezing to the shape you want at completion. It is important to note that the product must be frozen solid or it will not freeze-dry.
  2. A condensing surface must be provided which is colder than the product to be dried. This surface is typically colder than -40° Centigrade. This condensing surface helps attract the vapor from the product being dried; it also protects the high-grade vacuum pump from water, oils and fats that come from the product being freeze-dried.
  3. A vacuum pump that will provide a very low absolute pressure must be provided. A vacuum is a space void of air with NO leaks. During freeze-drying, you actually mechanically create vacuum/negative atmosphere lower than the pressure of outer space. These extremely low pressures are required to complete the freeze drying process.
  4. To freeze-dry successfully you need a heat source. This can be provided in many ways such as heat coils, lights, etc. By providing heat, you promote the release of bound water from the product. Bound water is the hardest to get out of the product.

What Actually Happens?
The frozen product is placed in a chamber. The chamber contains or is connected to a condenser. A vacuum pump is connected in series to the chamber and the condenser. The vacuum pump is turned on. When the inside of the chamber reaches the proper pressure, a vapor of moisture leaves the frozen product and collects on the condenser. This process is called sublimation. Sublimation by definition is the process in which a solid (ice) is transferred from a solid state directly to a gaseous state, and then recollected as a solid, without melting or returning to a liquid state. After time, heat is slowly applied to the product, which will help drive off more vapors and eliminate bound water.

What Can Be Freeze-dried?
Freeze-drying is ideal for the recovery of water-damaged documents, books, artwork, keepsakes, and the preservation of whole animals, floral products, food and drugs. Freeze-drying has been used worldwide in schools, museums, laboratories, food manufacturing, nature interpretative centers, taxidermy studios, and many other applications. You may be drinking freeze-dried coffee right now, and most of the food used by NASA in our space programs has been freeze-dried. You may have an idea about preserving something with a freeze-dryer that could turn out to be a fantastic business opportunity just waiting for you to develop it.

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Why a Freezedry Specialties Freeze-dryer?

Freezedry Specialties has spent many years on research and development to produce a product that fits your needs. What this means is that our machine was designed with the following criteria in mind. It has to be affordable. The next design consideration was that the machine had to be small. Most people don't have the luxury of owning big shops, and most people don't want to build a separate chamber. Another consideration we made was the cost of operation. Our system requires only 110 volt current for operation. Your cost will vary depending on where you live, but on average, our machine running every day will cost $10-15 per month. Let's look at the Freezedry Specialties Freeze-dry System in detail.

Model ARA1800 Vacuum Freeze Dryerwith refrigerated vapor trapThe chamber is manufactured out of borosilicate glass. This means boron oxide has been added to silicate glass to make a low thermal expansion glass. This type of glass is very high quality and is used in laboratory applications which must withstand rapid temperature changes. This is known as heat-shock resistance. This type of glass is also porosity-free and stronger than steel. Glass also allows us to place a vapor transfer port in the middle of the chamber, with smooth surfaces that facilitate an even vapor transfer flow.

The condenser acts as a trap to collect the water vapor being released from the product in the drying chamber. Also, because of the extremely high quality vacuum pumping system, we use the condenser to protect the pump from water vapor that could contaminate the pump lubricant. The condenser also helps establish a vapor trail from the freeze-drying product out of the drying chamber. All of our freeze-dryers feature remote condensers. Other manufacturers have chosen internal condensers to lower manufacturing costs. Because of the modular design, our system is portable, while maintaining a higher level of efficiency. We call our condensing unit a refrigerated vapor trap (RVT), and this selfcontained refrigeration unit runs at -60° Centigrade on common household current.

The vacuum pump system provides the means of obtaining the reduced pressures required to freeze-dry. Vacuum pumping systems consist of single or two-stage pumps, rated by volume of displacement called cubic feet per minute (CFM) or liters per minute (L/M). Freezedry Specialties uses the best possible direct-drive rotary vane vacuum pump available. This pump will maintain a high stable vacuum and is extremely reliable. Our pumps are among the quietest available, and operate with very little power consumption. Because of the high quality of our vacuum pump, your system will reach the vacuum pressure required for freeze-drying within three to five minutes.

The freezer serves two functions. First, the freezer can freeze items; as you must begin the process with items frozen solid. Second, the freezer will provide the proper temperature for sublimation. This process starts at -5° F and increases over several days of operation until it reaches 40 - 60° F. Our freezers are modified for the glass chamber, and we add an external condenser coil and change the refrigerant gas. The controls are changed to a multifunction digital temperature control with a readout display. This gives the operator complete control of the sublimation process.

One of the most difficult engineering challenges that we faced in the design of this system was joining these precision components together without a vacuum leak. Remember, you are creating negative pressure well below one atmosphere, lower than outer space! The system must be leak free to operate. We accomplished by using aircraft aluminum and space-age polymers at each connection point, all precision-tooled and formed to ensure the vacuum integrity of the whole system.

A lot of research and development has gone into Freezedry Specialties freeze-dryers. Freezedry Specialties has several aptents pending on its freeze-dryer features and technology. Every Freezedry Specialties freeze-dryer is 100% tested before shipment. All of this means that you are getting a quality freeze-drying system that works very well, with low operating and maintenance costs. All Freezedry Specialties products are warranted for one year, with extended warranties available.

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Water Damage Items that can be Salvaged using Vacuum Freeze-drying

Books and Manuscripts
Leather
Pulp Paper
Vellum
Parchment
Coated Papers
Maps
Drafting Linens
Historical and Collectibles
Certificates
Rare Documents
Porous Board Stock Boxes
Baseball Cards
Stamp Collections
Paper Money Collections

Photographs
Prints
Chromogenic Prints
Gelatin Dry Plate Glass Plates
Albumen Prints
Matte and Glossy Collodion Prints
Photomechanical Prints
Aperture Cards

Family Files and Documents
Birth Certificates
Death Certificates
Passports
Household Records
Contracts
Loan Agreements
Securities
Tax Records
School Transcripts
Appraisals
Textiles
Tapestries
Embroidery
Needlework
Silks
Flags
Keepsakes
Family Collections
Scrapbooks
Baby Books
Newspaper Articles
Recipe Books and Cards
Leather and Rawhide Items
Baskets
Wedding Albums
Photo Albums
Yearbooks
Awards & Achievements

Business Files and Documents
Doctors Office Patient Records
Attorney Client Files
Company Files
   -Employee files
   -Accounts Payable
   -Accounts Receivable
Trade Secret Records
Confidential Records
Product Catalogs
Reference Materials
Plans or Blueprints

Painting and Drawings
Water Colors
Acrylics
Linen Drawings
Drafting Cloth
 
     

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Pricing Guide for Vacuum Freeze-Drying Recovery

The following freeze-drying pricing overview is only a guide. Each restoration firm should determine its own market and pricing structure.

The Ultra Dry 1800 Plus has a 4 cubic foot chamber.


Average 10-14 books per cubic foot = 38-53 books per chamber load

Average 2-4 pounds per book (dry weight) = 20-56 pounds per chamber load

(Books can absorb up to 60% of their weight in water.)

Average 3-6 pounds per wet book (frozen weight) = 30-84 pounds per chamber load

Average drying time per chamber load: 2-4 days

Pricing by the load: $300.00 to $550.00

Pricing by the day: $100.00 to $250.00

Pricing by the cubic foot: $80.00 to $150.00

Pricing by the book: $13.00 to $20.00 each

Pricing by the frozen weight: $6.00 to $10.00 per pound


The pricing shown above is for the vacuum freeze-drying process only.

The packing, pack-out, transportation, storage, restoration services, and returning and re-setting of books or articles are extra services and you should charge accordingly.

In most cases, you will need extra cold storage for freezing your books, documents and keepsakes and keeping them frozen until you start the freeze-drying recovery process. This can be an additional chest freezer, or in some cases, cold-storage facilities may be needed.

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Contact us at:
Freezedry Email

Freezedry Specialties, Inc.
4875 70th Avenue

Princeton, Minnesota 55371 USA
1-800-362-8380
Phone: 763-389-2299
Fax: 763-389-2499