The Importance of Dehumidification in your Cold Storage Distribution Centre
May 17, 2019
Ice formation in cold storage distribution centres is a major issue. It’s not only a Health and Safety concern but also can drastically affect workflow. Changes in legislation suggest that that monitoring of temperature and humidity is essential to ensuring safe storage in both warehouses and in transit. Involving staff in the removal of snow and ice impacts directly on costs through decreased productivity, yet is essential if Health and Safety requirements are to be met. Evaporator defrost cycles (either by electricity or hot gas) can also be costly in terms of energy and the possible impact on cold store temperatures.
By the very nature of these facilities, goods are constantly entering and leaving the cold store. Every time a truck docks, moisture enters the facility in the form of warmer and ‘wetter’ ambient air. This mixes with the air within the facility and condenses on all the cold surfaces it comes into contact with. Where the temperature is below freezing, this condensation manifests itself as ice (and snow) on all internal surfaces, from fork trucks, through racking and to the actual product itself.
This build-up of ice and snow is constant. Cleaning of walls and ceilings becomes a regular and time-consuming exercise to avoid the risk of trips and slips, forklift incidents and frozen evaporators. In addition to this obvious, visible issue, is the effect that ice can have on electronics on MHE and weighing equipment. Ice can track down cables leading to shorting or ghosting of signals if care is not taken to prevent the build-up.
Active dehumidification of the air entering the facility is a highly effective method of controlling this problem. With internal and external temperature differentials ranging from -28 to as much as 30°C in summer, the attendant differences in moisture held by the air at these extremes are considerable.
In the height of summer, the external ambient moisture content can be as high as 14g/kg or even higher. By comparison, saturated (100%RH) air at typical -220C cold store temperatures can only hold around 0.5g/kg. This excess moisture has to go somewhere, and it condenses on cold(er) surfaces and freezes if that temperature is below 00C.
By capturing the incoming moisture and effectively removing the moisture through a dehum unit, the air contains far less moisture and condensation and freezing is all but eliminated. This conditioning usually takes place within the marshalling area, capturing the moist air from above the outloading doors and removing it through a dehum unit before it can become an issue.
Dehumidification within cold storage distribution centres can, therefore, be good for productivity, energy costs, bottom line profit and Health and Safety. It saves on the labour involved in the removal of ice and snow manually, leading directly to savings in manpower and wages. It maintains product and equipment quality and dramatically increases the efficiency of your operation.
The potential dangers inherent in using equipment with ice buildup are clear. Removing these potential dangers creates a more efficient process.
In conclusion, the simple installation of a dehum unit in these facilities will save money in the long run, reduce downtime on plant and MHE and create a safer more pleasant working environment for your staff.
For more information on how Dehum can help with your cold storage distribution centre please visit https://www.dehum.com/applications/ice-prevention/ or call us on 01926 882624.
For over twenty-one years, dehum (Sorption Wheel Services Limited) has been a major supplier of humidity control systems. We are a true Engineering Company, designing, supplying and coordinating installations of equipment alongside complementary services. Our global client list spans across all industries, including food & drink, pharmaceutical, nuclear, automotive, aviation, chemical processing, ice prevention/cold storage, car storage and archives