What exactly is an aluminium checker plate? It’s a strange term, but it translates readily enough. These panels of lightweight metal are installed in work areas as high-traction floor plates. Laid in a grid pattern, they’re adorned with raised edges, which serve as tiny groups of anti-slip outcroppings. Just to emphasise that point, the treads serve a purpose; they’re not there to provide an ornamental overlay for the floor.

Coolrooms at Ground Zero

Ideally, their metal floors are dry and clean. More likely, there’s a very fine film of water on the ground. That liquid is going to be slippery. Not to worry, a maintenance crew can soon get rid of the water. But what if this happens overnight? What if the water cools and turns to black ice? In the morning, some unwary staff member comes in with a food trolley. Still thinking about the day’s meal preparation work, the poor kitchen worker doesn’t see the ice. There’s a trip, a moment of pain, and then there’s a visit to the hospital to clean out a nasty cut. And that’s just with a watery film. Other substances could be on the floor, especially if a cleaning schedule is running late. They include animal oils and fatty substances, all of which are slick and slimy.

Aluminium Checker Plates: Raising the Game More precisely, the patterns of raised metal edges raise the soles of a coolroom visitor’s shoes above the floor. Ever so slightly, but enough to make a difference, the treads lend site foot traffic an anti-slip advantage. If a loaded trolley, heavy with cold meat or canned beverages, tries to slip and slide away, it can’t; the prominently embossed diamond slivers lift the rubber casters above the treacherous flooring. Why, even if the floor is dry, the aluminium checker plates still have much to offer. Let’s say a structure is on a very slight incline. That’s not a problem, not when the three-dimensional plate projections are there to slow or even stop roving trolleys in their tracks.

Made out of tough aluminium plating, the floor panels won’t corrode. They’re loaded with surface-stamped dimples, which can assume numerous shapes. Those different patterns also exist for a purpose. They elevate foot traffic, increase operator traction, and they even perform a limited role as a fluid drainage mechanism. That means, instead of providing a base for a slippery pool of water and food oils, the dimples function as fluid channels. Naturally funnelling water before it can turn to ice, the high-traction aluminium flooring keeps staff and mobile carts on an even keel.

In order to estimate the dimensions of a business-ready cool room, begin with a sheet of paper and an open mind. Find a quiet space to think and begin by writing down all of the items that’ll be stored inside the refrigerated room. Impacted by the size of the installation site, let’s make sure this initial design factor doesn’t influence the size of the cooling envelope too much.

Splitting the Cool Room

One single space maximizes the available installation area. The modular walls and insulated fittings drop into place around the room’s own walls, so there are no extraneous fixtures or doubled-up compartmental setups in the design blueprint to steal precious site real estate. Alternatively, a two-room configuration provides a convenient dual-role layout, with one sealed room performing as a workspace while the second room functions as storage space. Things become a little more energy inefficient when multiple cool rooms line up together. With each independent cooling space adding its own walls, the available space is no longer exploited in a practical, energy-smart manner.

Circumventing Spatial Limitations

The size of the room, which is probably located close to a working kitchen, affects its dimensions. That’s true enough, but there’s a way around this obstacle. If a refrigerated space needs to be large enough to store a set amount of perishable items, why not take the problem outside? Indeed, outdoor-situated cool rooms are becoming popular, although they’re built from more expensive materials. Weatherproof and impact-resistant, these exterior models are still an option if a restaurant or hotel doesn’t have enough room for a large cooler.

Operational Impact: Assessing Internal Factors

Workflow-wise, there needs to be a passage running through an operational cool room. Is there space for a wide trolley and to access all of the room’s stored food? Can the stainless steel shelves in there be switched out for a set of wire-framed shelving? And that brings the designer around to another question, an issue that concerns air current circulation. Large or small, there must be enough excess space in a cool room to allow its cooling energies to penetrate the entire chamber.

Posed to begin work, the insulated panels and cooling systems can’t begin assembling until the spatially assessed project has been finalized and approved by the business owner. There’s the open room, all ready for the walk-in cooler, but the area hides a number of installation obstacles. Observing those size-determining installation impediments with a keen eye, an installation professional sees them as manageable design factors. For poor venting hindrances, some light construction work takes care of matters. Then, opening a line of communication with you, the business owner, it’s time to see whether a single room or dual-space cool room layout will suit your workflow.

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