SOURCES OF HUMIDITY IN COLD STORES
Ice and condensation stem from air laden with undesirable moisture, undergoing a phase change when certain specific conditions arise.
The most common sources of such moisture-laden air are:
- Points of entry where doors/barriers are open for too long and/or close too slowly
- Inappropriately sealed doors/openings in the outer structure
- Ineffective sluices and other areas where goods are “in transition”
- The goods stored within the facility
- People and vehicles present within the facility
- Pressure equalizer set-ups.
WHERE ICE AND CONDENSATION FORM
Unwanted ice and condensation can cause a wide range of costly problems in cold storage facilities.
First of all,
PRODUCT QUALITY AND CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
Melting ice or pooled condensation can damage the packaging of goods in the cold store facility, consequently,
- Greater waste reduced profit margins and negative effect on customer relations
Undesirable moisture can result in both damage and contamination of goods in the facility, hence,
- Health risks, greater waste, reduced profit margins, and negative effects on customer relations
Depending on conditions, moisture can condense on the strip curtains through which people and/or vehicles and goods-moving equipment enter/exit the facility, therefore,
- Possible cross-contamination of other goods passing through the curtains
Any cleaning/washing of the interior of the cold store at temperatures above 0 °C can affect the viability of the freezing chain, consequently,
- Damage to the value/quality of the goods stored, including bacterial growth
FIRSTLY, SAFETY ISSUES
Ice and condensation result in slippery floors, therefore,
- Staff can slip/fall, forklift trucks, pallet movers, and other equipment can skid and cause accidents and injuries as well as damage goods, equipment, and fixtures
Humidity in the air can cause mist and reduced visibility, hence,
- Accidents affecting staff, vehicles, goods, equipment, and fixtures
Ice deposits can fall, as a result,
- Injuries to staff and damage to goods, equipment, and fixtures margins and negative effect on customer relations
SECONDLY, REDUCED PRODUCT HANDLING EFFICIENCY
Ice and condensation can result in many small hindrances to effective, error-free transport, stacking, and logistics, hence,
- Reduced product handling efficiency and higher costs
Ice can form on the barcodes on products, packaging, and pallets, therefore,
- Product IDs/labels fall off or cannot be read/scanned effectively, resulting in non-productive time and workflow inefficiencies margins and negative effects on customer relations
THIRDLY, POOR WORKING ENVIRONMENT
The formation of ice makes it difficult to close cold-room doors and other openings properly, hence,
- Draughts, additional ingress of moisture-laden air, etc.
Staff experience a cold working environment with high levels of humidity as colder/more uncomfortable than an environment with the same temperatures but low humidity, consequently,
- Lower staff morale, higher absenteeism statistics
WASTED MAN-HOURS AND REDUCED PRODUCTIVITY
Once formed, ice needs to be removed and condensation needs to be dried up before it freezes to ice, hence,
- The constant need to use manpower for non-productive purposes ice and condensation result in slower movement and more accidents
- Lower productivity and higher manpower costs for treatment/compensation/insurance, etc.
FINALLY, HIGHER ENERGY BILLS
Ice and condensation in cold stores need to be removed, therefore,
- Additional energy consumption for defrosting of fixtures, fittings, and refrigeration equipment
Evaporators work inefficiently when iced up, hence,
- Additional energy consumption
In some cold stores floors are heated to avoid icing, consequently,
- Additional energy costs for heating as well as for the cooling system needed to remove the heat again afterward margins and negative effect on customer relations
HOW DO TACKLE ICE AND CONDENSATION IN COLD STORAGE?
We are going to write about it in our next article. See you!
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