Most businesses can forgive temporary service interruptions. Production lines get a chance to rest and the equipment cools down. Everything is put on pause. Conversely, a system disruption that affects a temperature-controlled environment is bound to cause alarm.
Protecting Perishable Commodities
Freezer and coolroom scenarios are designed to maintain a chilly climate around the clock, but the system is only as good as the sum of its parts, which means that any weak link could be enough to cost a business everything. Once humbled, the equipment is just an insulated room, a sealed space where food will spoil and sensitive pharmaceutical compounds will chemically corrupt. In short, the mechanical parts that sustain a frosty environment must be built from high-quality materials so that the equipment remains reliably functional.
No Room for Substandard Parts
If food and produce, medical materials and pharmaceutical products are to be stored properly, the freezer and coolroom storage spaces we’ve described so far must comply with a rigorous set of health and safety guidelines. Similarly, every section of the storage area, every seal and insulating wall panel, has to be designed with a solid bias towards quality and constancy. And, on remembering the weakest link principle, that same design ethic necessarily extends to cover every structural component, all the way down to the humblest fastener and vent screw.
Active System Components
Even as top-notch insulating components and structural parts keep the chilled atmosphere constrained, the active machinery works to efficiently pull air in and quickly drop the temperature. The fan belts on a two-stage cooling unit are often seen as a chink in the cooling armour here, but engineers design their drive belts to work flawlessly in the cold by manufacturing the belts from engineering plastics, polymers that won’t crack or rupture when the temperature falls below freezing point. It’s the same with the bearing housings and the metals used in the refrigerant coils, with newer alloys eliminating corrosion and maximising cross-sectional area coverage to deliver fully optimised cooling power.
Storage rooms and cabinets that exhibit accurate climate controlling abilities are designed to do a handful of tasks, but this design always highlights one feature. The reliability factor is what’s being referred to now, a feature that has to work reliably when the temperature is low or airborne moisture content is high. Built from the best materials and tested to the point of destruction, these parts matter because they must maintain the freezer and coolroom storage temperatures at all times.
In leveraging every square centimetre of available space in a coolroom, business owners adopt a three-dimensional storage strategy. They do this to save energy and maximize freezer and coolroom capacity. First of all, if the stored items, food or other perishables, were to be placed on the floor, then thermal leakage would take place unless the floor was insulated. So we return to the notion of raising storage upward, of adding shelves and specially designed racks. The eddying currents of cool air do the rest, circulating around the enclosed chamber. Of course, these are no ordinary storage racks.
Maximize Floor Space
A temperature-regulated zone works best when specially designed furnishings are installed. The wire-thin materials efficiently hold meat and produce while ensuring no energy-blocking walls obstruct airflow. Freezer and coolroom capacity is further compacted by adding mechanical assemblies to this condensed but open shelving configuration. One idea is to place the racks on a series of rails and casters. The space between each unit can then be adjusted manually to optimise airflow. This, on top of high-density wire shelving, keeps productivity on the up while thermal losses sink below the point where they’d incur a red mark on an energy audit.
Evaporators and vents are strategically installed to take advantage of the layout of a temperature-regulating room. Vertical space takes priority here, with the added height encouraging the placement of taller racks. Take care, too much height only creates a void, an area where stacked shelves can no longer be safely installed. Instead, we’re creating greater energy losses. The best strategy is to balance vertical height against product type and allowable rack stacking height. Reinforce this methodology by installing exterior support structures, if possible, beams that won’t obstruct airflow. The more open the storage area is, the better the cooling system works, but don’t stretch this guideline beyond its practical limits by taking that vertical clearance value too high.
Just as a loading supervisor carefully coordinates the stacking of frozen product in a refrigerated truck, freezer and coolroom capacity must be properly managed. It’s not advisable to overfill a commercial-grade freezer room, for example, because this is a work area, a place where staff members and forklift trucks must have access, but access corridors should be limited. Partner this layout strategy with hooks, wireframe shelves, and plastic-coated alloys to maximize capacity. Then, when the cooling unit activates, less energy will be required to take advantage of this condensed layout.
C&M Coolrooms can create a custom solution for your specific needs. Talk to one of team members today.