What to think about when planning your cold storage facility
Managing the doorways into and around your cold storage facility can be a challenging balance between enabling fast and safe movement of traffic, while maintaining critical temperature control and reducing ice formation within the facility.
There are a number of critical factors you should keep in mind when you're planning or installing doors into a freezer or cold storage facility.
We detail these five considerations and also offer a free downloadable whitepaper at the end of this news post.
1) Consider the environment of your application
What is the temperature within the facility? On any day, what is the ambient temperature outside? Remember to consider the changing seasons.
Ice or condensation will form on any surface that is not heated or is colder than the moisture droplets in the air. This can cause cold storage and freezer doors to malfunction, and ice or moisture can be a slip hazard.
2) Ensure your doors control air infiltration
Modern cold storage and freezer transport systems in high-bay cold storage or warehouses require very high opening and closing door speeds to prevent the entry of warm air from outside.
Fully automatic doors (both horizontal and vertical) feature extremely high speeds and are suitable for frequent use and easy integration in any transport system.
Whether your facility has automatic doors or not, while doors are open to allow access for staff, vehicles, forklifts etc, warm ambient air enters the facility. This mixes with air conditioned air and creates a fluctuation in temperature, which is not good news for your frozen or cold storage goods.
By controlling the air on the warm side of your cool room or freezer, the effects of condensation can be significantly mitigated, and the operational efficiency of
the doors are improved.
3) Consider an airlock to mitigate air infiltration
To reduce the influx of warm air through your doors, a typical control can be to build airlock chambers or rooms in front of openings to coldrooms or freezers. The temperature and humidity in the airlock can then be controlled with additional refrigeration units or air dehumidification.
Additional doors between the airlock and ambient areas can be interlocked to ensure freezer or coolroom doors cannot be open while an outside door is open.
4) Does your facility need to install an airlock?
An airlock is composed of two doors that are electrically interlocked in such a way that the two cannot be opened simultaneously. Airlocks are used in a variety of situations, but essentially their purpose is to control air flow from one area of a facility to another.
Airlocks may be used to control the entry of personnel to a secure area such as a cleanroom, where dust or small particles may be a problem. Similarly if a constant temperature must be maintained then an airlock can be invaluable in reducing temperature fluctuations when doors are opened.
5) What are the alternative solutions to an airlock?
If you do not have an airlock to your chiller / freezer door, and the door opens to ambient, humid air, you will see condensation and ice form on surfaces that are colder than the incoming air.
Some options to mitigate these effects can include;
- Install the chiller/freezer door on the warm side of the room. This will ensure that the components of the door are closest temperature to the incoming air.
- Ensure the door blade is insulated. Remax Movichill or Thermic curtains offer an insulated barrier between temperature zones, and reduce the ice or condensation formation on the warm side of the door.
- Circulate the air in front of the door opening. By circulating the using air curtains above the door, or wall mounted fans, the warm/humid air is blown away from the cold surfaces and reduces moisture formation.
- Install PVC strip curtains on opposite side of the door to the coolroom, to create a virtual airlock
- Install heated frames. By running low wattage heaters in the door frames, you can prevent ice forming on critical parts of the door.
- Install a heated threshold. By heating the threshold of the door opening, you can reduce slip hazards and melt ice that falls from the door or wall above the opening. Consideration needs to be given to floor drainage for the melted ice/condensation.
- Exclude windows in the door. Windows in high speed doors are typically made from PVC which has a low thermal value
We have created a eBook that addresses some of the questions which we often get asked as experienced doorway specialists and to address some of the challenges faced by cold storage facilities along with industry best practice for effective management.
Get more info about freezer and chiller doors
To find out more about the ideal freezer or chiller doors for your facility, contact Remax Doors online or call us on 1800 010 221.