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5 Things To Consider Before Designing A Cold Room

5 Things To Consider Before Designing A Cold Room

Cold rooms are highly effective in preserving meat, vaccines, vegetables and other items, and they vary in size and cooling rate. Designing cold storage facilities to suit your exact business features and conditions will save you both energy, construction and installation costs.

Are you considering building a cold room for your business? I’ll be sharing some important factors to consider before designing one. But first,

What are the major components of a cold room? 

The basic components of a cold room are:

1. Insulated panels 

They are versatile, durable, lightweight, and energy-saving materials with thermal insulation qualities. One of the major benefits of cold room panels is that they are efficient at controlling the storage temperatures of your refrigerated room.

2. Compressors 

They are the main components that run the cold room. It is the only device that needs energy to run. The compressor consumes almost all the power in a cold room. It is used to raise the temperature and pressure of the refrigerant vapor coming out of the evaporator.

3. Condenser units 

They are required to remove the heat from the refrigerant and the circulating water. It carries out the phase change of the condenser from gas to liquid at high temperature and pressure. The condenser acts as a heat sink, and its heat exchange efficiency determines the efficiency of the cold storage plant.

4. Evaporator 

This is where the cyclic process that lowers the temperature of the items stored takes place. It absorbs heat from the storage compartment or the environment that is supposed to be cooled. The heat from the compressor is then used to evaporate the liquid refrigerant. This way, the food items are cooled and preserved.

5. Valves

 It uses a throttling device to lower the temperature and pressure of the refrigerant. The throttling process involves friction, and a change in the temperature and pressure of the refrigerant occurs.

Source: Intarcon

How does the cold room work?

A cold room’s working principle is based on cooling the room by transferring heat from a high temperature to a low temperature. Through an artificial air flow, the warm air is condensed using a condenser.

The compressor lowers the boiling point of the refrigerant by raising its temperature and pressure. The condenser removes heat from the refrigerant as it transitions from a gaseous to a liquid state. The refrigerant has now been moved to the reservoir for storage. The refrigerant is then transferred to an expansion valve to lower the temperature and pressure in the liquid state. The final stage occurs in the evaporator, where heat from the surroundings is used to convert the refrigerant back to a gaseous state, resulting in the cooling effect. This cool air is circulated by the blower.

5 things to consider before designing a cold room

When designing a cold storage facility, there are some major factors that need to be considered. Follow me closely as I take you through these factors:

1. Type of cold room

We have different types of cold storage facilities with different temperature ranges, so it is important to clearly define the temperature of your product before designing. We have five major types of cold rooms:

i. Pre-cooling chamber: used for pre-cooling of products in the range of 0 to 8 °C.

ii. Cold storage room (cool room): Used for cold storage in the range of +8 to +14 °C.

iii. Cold storage chamber: used for cold storage in the -1 to 8 °C range.

iv. Frozen storage chamber: used for the preservation of frozen products in the range of -18 to -24 °C.

v. Blast freezing chamber: -25 to -40 °C used for range blast freezing.

Whatever temperature you want, consult your HVAC/R experts.

2. Cooling goals with respect to products

When designing a cold room, the calculation is done according to the type of products to be stored. Mismatched products and temperatures can lead to shorter storage and shelf lives of the products. They are useful for a variety of products and food processing or preservation, such as frozen product storage, cooled product storage, blast freezing, processing rooms, fruit or vegetable pre-cooling, fruit ripening, beef or cheese ageing, wine storage, convenience stores, medical tests or products, industrial material preservation, and so on.

3. Ecological regulations 

There are refrigerating procedures and pieces of equipment that use cooling gas, which is extremely harmful to the environment. This is why you must comply with the regulations; otherwise, you risk incurring costs and environmental fines. Make sure environmental regulations are in check.

Today, many businesses are considering this not only because it is necessary but also because it helps them to significantly cut their energy costs.

What are environmentally friendly natural cooling gases?

These gases include:

i. Carbon dioxide (Co2), or R-744, is a low-damaging gas commonly used in the automotive industry.

ii. Ammonia (NH3), or R-717, is a cooling gas primarily used in industries. It can be used either on new equipment or on an already-existing one.

iii. Hydrocarbon (HC)-based cooling agents A3-ranked cooling agents, i.e., flammable gas-based These are applied to several small-scale cooling systems.

 What are synthetic cooling agents?

They include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). It’s well known that these chemical agents are environmentally harmful, especially for the ozone layer and the consequent greenhouse effect and global warming. Their use is strictly regulated, and they are rarely used.

4. Storage capacity

The room’s proportions are defined by the required capacity, area, and regulatory condition. Different products need different cold room capacities. The decision to cool and export food immediately or to store it for a period of time is frequently influenced not only by the type of fruit and market conditions but also by the availability of storage space in the facility.

However, highly perishable produce requires less storage space than less perishable items because it cannot be held for long periods without losing quality. Therefore, when designing a cold room, adequate storage space should not be overlooked. 

5. Location and Layout. 

The location chosen for the cooling facility should reflect its primary function. If you intend to sell fresh produce at retail from the facility, it should be located near public roads. 

If, however, the primary function of the cold room is to cool and assemble wholesale lots, ease of public access is less important. In this case, the best location may be close to your product source. 

Regardless of how it is used, the facility will need access to electrical power and water. For larger cooling rooms needing more than about 10 tons of refrigeration in a single unit, access to three-phase power will be necessary. The location of existing utility lines should be considered, as connection costs can be prohibitive in some rural areas. Before you begin construction, familiarise yourself with any applicable laws, regulations, and codes pertaining to construction and electrical systems, worker health and safety, and the handling and storage of food products.

Common mistakes made when setting up cooling equipment

The following are the most typical mistakes made when establishing or designing cold rooms:

1. Use of non-insulating materials in the ceiling or walls, such as non-PUR bricks or panels.

2. Cold rooms or cooling chambers with extremely small dimensions that limit flexibility and product storage.

3. Poor equipment design or product selection for preservation and/or storage.

4. Cooling chambers without an appropriate access system, resulting in high temperature variations that could be damaging to the product.

Wrapping Up

Today, preserving your products that make your business run is a requirement that must be satisfied by any means possible in order to meet quality assurance, savings, and eco-friendly standards.

Whatever your design ideas are, Ofin Global  can accommodate them. If you have a pre-existing or functioning cold room, we can also talk you through our nationwide maintenance service. We are ideally located to serve businesses across the country with cold room parts and repairs. Hit us up today!

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