Cold Stores play a vital role in preservation of perishable foods, fruits, vegetables, frozen food etc. More and more cold stores are being set up now for storing various items. Different climatic conditions create challenges to preserve the food items. Earlier most of the fruits and vegetables were available seasonally as these fruits and vegetables were cultivated seasonally only and was consumed but rarely preserved. Earlier even preserving these fruits and vegetables was neither economical nor feasible. But now with the time, these cold stores are becoming very popular to store many items like seasonal fruits and vegetables both at the producing centre as well as consuming centers. Other than that the frozen foods, ready to eat foods / processed foods, ice cream etc are also being stored now a days.
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Cold stores are divided as per the temperatures being mentioned in two categories:
Medium temperature cold stores (positive temperature stores)
Frozen food stores (negative temperature stores)
Medium temperatures stores maintain temperatures temperature in the range of 0 ~ 8 C. Generally used to store fruits, vegetables, dry fruits, milk products etc.
Frozen food stores maintain temperatures in the range of (-) 4° ~ (-) 30° C. Generally items like butter, green peas, ice cream, meat products are stored in these stores
Humidity control is even though very important is often overlooked because of cost cutting, technology unawareness. During loading / unloading of the product into / from the stores, fresh air enters from loading dock to anti chamber and then in turn to the main cold stores. The fresh air entering the stores is moisture laden air hence when this air comes in contact with the cold surfaces inside the cold stores condensation occurs. The condensation causes the following:
Spoilage of product being stored.
Sogging / soggy cartons.
Mold / mildew / fungus growth leading to unhygienic conditions.
Dripping of moisture from the ceiling.
Wet / slippery floors.
Frost formation (Ice formation) on the evaporator coils.
Ice formation on the walls, ceilings, doors etc.
Ice formation on the plastic strips at the entrance door etc.
Hence Humidity control is very important in cold stores and depends upon products stored humidity levels is maintained.
Advantages of humidity control:
No spoilage of product being stored.
No sogging / soggy cartons.
No mold / mildew / fungus growth leading to unhygienic conditions.
No condensation/dripping of moisture from the ceiling.
No wet / slippery floors.
No fog formation
No frost formation (Ice formation) on the evaporator coils.
No ice formation on the walls, ceilings, doors etc.
No ice formation on the plastic strips at the entrance door etc.
With the help of chemical dehumidifier the humidity can be controlled to the desired levels inside the stores. Dehumidifiers can be installed as stand alone or in combination of inbuilt AHU for temperature control
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