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A cold room consists of specific components and technical requirements to make it a functional refrigeration chamber. This second part of the Beginner's Guide series dives into the technical aspects of a cold room and what businesses should look out for to better understand how a cold room works. 

Cold rooms function to keep temperature-sensitive, perishable items like food and pharmaceuticals like vaccines. Cold rooms' sizes range from small walk-in rooms to large warehouse storage areas, and they can be found almost anywhere and used by many businesses you see today. 

The five main factors in this article are heat load from the outside environment, how the room will be loaded and produced stacked, how often the door needs to open, local authority requirements and the vapour barrier on the flooring.

Factor 1: Heat Load from the Outside Environment

Cold rooms are built with insulated walls, floors, and ceilings to help them run efficiently. The insulation material, usually some form of foam, is in between thin walls, typically made of steel or aluminium. Insulating the cold room separates the temperature inside and outside, requiring less work from the evaporators and condensers to keep the temperature regulated and save electricity costs. An insulated floor is also essential to prevent temperature and water leakage.

Berg's Tip +

Ensure that the cold room is always dry and the materials used are waterproof

Businesses commonly use palletised unit loads in cold storage handling systems. This way, air circulation can be consistent with the skid orientation during loading and produce stacking. Ideally, band together the secured loads within steel frames or corner posts. The stability and dimensional accuracy of unit loads have become increasingly important. Thus, it is essential to be precise, concise, fast and efficient to help make it an automated process.

Factor 2: Loading and Produced Stacked in a Cold Room

Factor 3: Frequency of Opening the Cold Room Door

The frequency of opening and closing a cold room's door can significantly impact the temperatures inside. Convectional heat loss is difficult to avoid when doors regularly open and close throughout the day. Having a small door for foot access and a roller door for forklifts can help reduce cold air loss. Another way to improve efficiency is to use strip or air curtains at the door. The heat from the outside enters the cold room whenever an employee enters or exits it. As a result, the system must use more energy to decrease the temperature. Curtains help to keep the cold room's temperature stable.


Factor 4: Local Authority Requirements

Due to the different nature of businesses requiring cold rooms, they should first seek approval from local authorities. To handle and store goods such as food, medical products and electrical devices, each country has a specific guideline that businesses need to follow before setting up a cold room warehouse. There are even additional requirements to adhere to if businesses are transporting animal origin products, food establishments and air circulations as it coincides with air and temperature circulation in the location of the cold room.


Factor 5: Vapour Barrier on the Flooring

There are several advantages to using a low permeance vapour delayer or barrier to protect cold room facilities and are even more vital when food or sensitive products are stored. In these cases, it is critical to keep these goods from any forms of contamination, soil organisms, or harmful gases. A vapour barrier on the flooring can help prevent moisture, soil organisms, and toxic gases from entering the cold room. Businesses can save energy and money when there is lesser diffusion of water vapour in the cooled interior space.

In summary, there are many aspects businesses should look into before considering setting up a cold room. Having an eye for details can help them save up a lot of money and increase the efficiency of operations in the long run. From understanding heat load, loading and produced stacked, frequency of door opening, local authority requirements to vapour barriers, businesses can take full advantage of a well-designed and equipped cold room.

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