The sanitation systems used in restaurants are arguably more important than any other eatery feature. Coolroom designers are fully aware of that fact. All things considered, the food processed by an eatery must be safe to consume. Now, to regulate food safety, there are pages and pages of hygiene-centric text on the subject. Being conversant in coolroom tech, though, we’re tackling the matter from a more machine-oriented perspective.

The Food Safety Mandate

The kitchen manager has marked out the storage areas and separated them from the food-processing rooms. Everything is safely segregated. The chance of cross-contamination is low. Even the dry food is safely boxed and stored in a sealed pantry. It’s dry here, and the temperature never rises above 15°C. Next, the coolroom installer initiates a food storage program. The goal now is to stop the food from deteriorating. Freshness is a concern, of course, but it’s a secondary concern when compared to spoilage issues. Used as an umbrella term, spoiled perishables can lead to food poisoning. That’s because bacterial growths are multiplying as the food warms. They cannot be allowed to flourish. Among the possible threats, salmonella and E.Coli can endanger lives.

Temperature Control Safety

The thermostats in a coolroom or freezer are set at suitably low temperatures. Easy enough to figure out, the temperature in a freezer shouldn’t rise above 0°C. Icy deposits and frost patches have formed. Bacteria and parasites become inactive at this frosty mercury level. Taken even lower, those tiny microorganisms quickly perish. For refrigerated food, where fluids cool but do not freeze, soft animal tissues and produce are kept at or around 4°C. Meanwhile, the kitchen crew keep things clean. Approved sanitation chemicals and hot soapy water are the tools of their trade. After the cooking is done, the mops and buckets come out. Vermin traps are laid, sanitation inspections are put into effect, and damp patches are logged. The refrigerators and freezers are incorporated into this program. Think of the thermostats, which are monitored daily. Beyond this measure, alarms are connected to back-up temperature sensors while periodic energy audits correct less obvious energy consumption issues.

And energy losses are important. A hurting bottom-line can quickly put a new restaurant out of business, after all. Even so, human health is infinitely more important than any bottom-line. The above measures may seem like annoying chores at times, but they save lives. To keep diners freshness-happy, a sanitation program is a nice convenience. To save lives from spoiled food and potential food poisoning incidents, that sanitation program becomes absolutely essential.

To create a flexible doorway, one that’ll wholly protect a coolroom, the barrier material must demonstrate one primary feature. Dropping from threshold ceiling to the floor, from the entryway’s left side all the way to the right frame edge, the chosen material has to hang straight. Thick enough to assure a straight-edged seal, transparent vinyl plastic strip curtains use their dense materials to prevent cross-contamination incidents.

Reinforced PVC Density

Sticking with flexible PVC (Poly-Vinyl Chloride), this rugged plastic stays straight and hard-wearing as long as it’s manufactured in thick rolls. If the plastic’s thickness drops well below 1mm, well, the material curves and warps. In doing so, it’s no longer dense enough to hang straight. Subsequently, a threshold seal is compromised. In this instance, the plasticity of the polymer has prevailed, and a plastic strip curtain can no longer retain enough resiliency, enough solidity, to establish a coolroom’s seal. Furthermore, this barrier doesn’t possess any insulating properties. It’s a seal in name only. To watch it in action, it curls and deforms whenever a breeze rises, and it’ll tear as soon as a pallet truck pushes between the overlapping strips.

Cohesive Hanging Plastic Strips

Because of a nominated plastic’s malleability characteristics, it turns limp and abominably flaccid when it’s manufactured as an overly thin roll. It’s formed into plastic strip curtains, which do feature a high degree of material transparency, but their sealing qualities are less than impressive. Over 1mm thick, more commonly manufactured as 3mm to 5mm thick plastic sheets, the thickness of these more durable strips adds a healthy quantity of material density to the product line. Now, with the plastic strip curtains hanging sturdily, an incorruptible seal forms.

Dealing With Negative Pressure Problems

This flexible entryway configuration has been covered in past posts. We’ve talked about thickness-imbued material insulation, about cross-contamination prevention methods, and about transparency benefits. People and vehicles slip through the curtains safely and easily when these qualities are assessed properly. Here’s another problem, one that disappears when thicker PVC strip curtains are fitted. Simply put, air currents cool when a coolroom is refrigerated. The molecules of the air draw closer. When this happens, negative pressures develop. Fortunately, a dense array of strips defeats such pressure-related complications.

Still thinking about that last issue, everyone has seen this situation crop up at home. On pulling a refrigerator’s door open, there’s resistance. This is because of negative pressure, plus a slightly magnetic door seal. In walk-in coolrooms, this vacuum-like effect forces thin materials to curve and bow inwards. Thankfully, by assuring a minimum thickness, plastic strip curtains easily resist this nuisance effect.

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