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This had major consequences for the company and the entire Älvsbyn was affected. About 200 employees, many of whom had worked at Polarbröd all their lives, perhaps for generations, lost their jobs.
“Some of the products e.g. the classic Polar Cake could at the time only be produced in Älvsbyn, while some other products we could bake at short notice in the bakery in Bredbyn. The sandwich production that was in the building also burned down”, says David Greisman Lundberg, Project Manager at Polarbröd.
It was decided to set up a temporary facility to restart the production of sandwiches.
“The first idea was to build the same as before, with an ammonia plant and gyro freezer, but we realized quite soon that this would take far too long to get into operation, about 6 months. Our goal was to start sandwich production again after 10 weeks. Then we contacted Linde, who could offer a solution that matched our schedule and an exciting technology that would be effective for us”, continues Greisman Lundberg.
Linde contributed with proposals for alternative technical solutions, such as cooling with liquid nitrogen.
Tests of the proposed technology were carried out in Linde's freezer lab in Helsingborg. It was important to ensure that the cooling did not adversely affect the product in any way, i.e. that the taste of the sandwiches was not affected and that the packaging was not damaged. Polarbröd also wanted to be sure that the products were cooled down completely in an efficient way, as the durability of the products can otherwise be negatively affected.
“The tests were positive and that made it easier for Polarbröd to decide that the technology suited us. This was also crucial for the choice of Linde as supplier. Quick decisions in the process were also of great importance. Support and reliability were additional important factors and that personal safety with liquid nitrogen could be solved”, explains Greisman Lundberg.
A gas tank was installed in record time. Linde coordinated the possibilities of bringing in a standard tank temporarily to later install a larger and permanent tank.
“Linde has been very accommodating and innovative in finding solutions that suit our needs. The fact that equipment was already available both for testing and for installation in a short time meant that we could go from start to finish and make a quick decision on a collaboration”, concludes Greisman Lundberg.
Facts about Polar bread
Polarbröd is a family business with roots in Älvsbyn since 1879. The company is owned by children and grandchildren of the founders of the modern Polarbageriet in Älvsbyn, Greta and Gösta Nilsson. The CEO is Karin Bodin, the fifth generation in the family. She is active in the Polarbrödsgruppen. Polarbröd's CEO is Anders E Johansson.
The parent company Polarbrödsgruppen works with long-term external monitoring. The Group's energy company Polarkraft AB produces renewable energy, primarily wind turbines from four of its own wind turbines, for the Group's needs.