WALK-IN FREEZERS & CHILLERS
Running a business that involves perishable foods require a good storage system for food safety and to increase the shelf life of the inventory. Walk-in freezers and chillers (also known as cold rooms) are common storage systems used by F&B establishments and food suppliers as it provides a large space to accommodate all the food and ingredients. And with a large cold storage space, F&B business owners and food suppliers can make bulk purchases and enjoy the related cost-savings.
COMMON USES OF COLD ROOMS AND APPLICATIONS
|Common Uses of Cold Rooms
||Beer, Canned drinks
|Catering / Food Services / Processing Areas / Super Markets / Restaurants
||Fresh & frozen poultry, Vegetables, Dairy products, Ice-cream
|Storage of Flowers
Walk-in freezers are usually built to maintain a temperature range of -18°C to -25°C while walk-in chillers are often kept at a temperature range of -2°C to +2°C.
WALLS, CEILINGS & FLOORS
The walls, ceilings and floors of the walk-in freezers/chillers are assembled by joining insulated panels together. The panels are tightly joined by slip joint system or camlock system (traditional) for good structural stability. A sealant (usually silicone) would be sandwiched in between the two insulated panels for additional support and also to prevent the cold air from exiting the cold room.
|Slip joint system
|Slip joint system uses a male female action on the longitudinal joint to achieve superior tightness and insulation. Through this system, panels can be inserted into place rapidly and easily, giving strong thermal efficiency and structural strength.
||Camlock system uses either steel or PVC hooks to securely hold and lock the insulated panels together. The camlocks are molded and permanently anchored into the injected polyurethane foam core during the manufacturing process.
Food services which require the use of equipment such ask forklifts can opt for the use of reinforced concrete flooring.
To achieve maximum cold room insulation, the same insulated panels installed for the walls and floors are to be used for the ceiling. In applications where ceiling panels are long and large, the insulated panels would be suspended from the building’s main structure. Such panel ceilings will also be constructed such that it is able to withstand the weight of a personnel walking on top for the maintenance of the system. All design and installation would be endorsed by Structural Professional Engineers and submitted to the relevant authorities for approval.
FROST HEAVE PREVENTION
When a cold room is constructed, a thermal barrier under the floor is necessary. This is to prevent the floors from damage due to the effects of condensation and frost heave.
Frost heaves are hazardous especially near the entrance where operators and forklift drivers traverse in and out. This could be eliminated through the use of low voltage heating system.
The system provides sufficient heat to keep the floors or ramps frost-free while drawing very low amounts of electrical power. The low profile heating element will be fitted into a shallow cut-out concrete floor or ramp. Subsequently, the floor or ramp would be covered by a layer of concrete or steel plate.
There are two main types of insulated doors namely swing (also known as hinged) door and sliding door. Swing doors can be in the form single leaf or double leaf. These doors can be open in the outward direction towards the left or right. Sliding doors are often used in applications which require large door openings. The doors will open to the left or right with minimal amount of effort.
SCOPE OF SERVICE
Cold rooms can last for several years if they are properly used and maintained.
Operators should be trained on the proper usage of the system. For instance, insulated doors should be tightly closed to prevent cold air from escaping. It is also crucial that operators observe the temperature of the cold room regularly and highlight to the installers should there be abnormalities.
Forklift operators are to slow down when working near the entrance of the cold room to prevent unwanted collisions with the doors and door frames.
A warm damp cloth can be used to wipe off any dirt found on the insulated panels.
Cold room equipment such as condenser units are to be free from obstruction to provide proper ventilation.
Unit coolers, condenser units and other components are to be regularly maintained to prolong the lifetime of the cold room. Frequent verification on the level of Freon gas should be carried out and refilling should be done as soon as the gas runs low.