Seagate vacuum-dries our fruit, vegetable and marine raw materials as part of the process of creating powder concentrates and extracts. We have 2 large freeze-dryers in our plant in Ensenada that do this work. The original one, vacuum tank #1 shown below is fully assembled. It was built by Seagate in 1994 in a local machine shop. Depending upon the raw material, this tank can hold up to 2 tons of wet product.
Every 5 to 8 years each vacuum tank undergoes maintenance. With freeze-dryer #2 showing in the background, the inner stainless tank has been removed in order to access the heating tapes and insulation covering the product’s chamber.
The shiny insulation covers the heating tapes. A worker above is removing the horizontal strips covering the heat tapes. The heat tapes are necessary to pump small amounts of heat into the product chamber to allow the product to evaporate its moisture directly from the frozen state into water vapor.
In the photo above, Jose (with the shiny head) is replacing the wiring and cleaning the electrical contact surfaces. It is very difficult to transfer power to a rotary drum inside a vacuum chamber in order to maintain the exact control over the product’s temperature during production. Notice that the worker next to Jose is wearing a protective mask. This work is being done during the height of the Covid epidemic. Fortunately our safety protocols have been strictly followed and no one working in the factory has gotten sick.
Freeze-drying and vacuum-drying are methods that Seagate uses to remove moisture from our raw materials without altering the quality or potency of these products.
If I had the choice, I would rather be diving right now inside the dome of the extinct volcano in the center of Santorini’s bay rather than dealing with production, the virus, and keeping the crew safe and the customers happy. Unfortunately due to Covid-19, right now Americans are banned from travel to Europe. Due to the depth and the distance to the subjects in this photo, the water appears to be blue, although it was really crystal clear. However, this was an interesting shot of the unique location with a diver in the foreground.