Cold storage units are used in a variety of industries. Restaurants, farms, grocery stores, and food service businesses need cold storage systems to preserve the freshness and quality of the food that they handle. Cold storage rooms are vital to vintners, allowing the wine to age at the proper temperature. Pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics utilize cold storage units to preserve the efficacy of many medications.
Cold storage systems for food ensure the safety of such consumables. No cold storage unit completely prevents food from spoiling. Some amount of bacteria is present on all food due to the amount of handling it endures from field to shelf. Cold food storage simply slows the rate at which the bacteria can grow. Chilled food must be stored at five degrees Centigrade or colder.
Frozen food must be stored at minus fifteen degrees Centigrade or colder. Walk-in cold storage rooms operate with industrial compressors, high-grade insulation, and automatic closing doors to keep the unit’s temperature at the optimum level. Glass-fronted display cold storage units allow customers to see the products while maintaining the proper temperature. These systems require frequent temperature monitoring, as they lose some of their cold air each time a customer opens the door.
Redundancy is the key to cold pharmaceutical storage. Medications must be stored at a specific temperature. The active ingredients may increase or decrease in potency when not stored at the proper temperature. Multiple generators, air compressors, and dehumidifiers are linked in a chain, so that if one system fails its back-up is triggered automatically.
Even when working with frozen foods, ice is the enemy of freshness. Freezer burn occurs when the humidity in the air attaches to the food and freezes. Freezer burn affects not only the appearance of the food, but its taste. Several systems combat this problem. Some such systems attack the problem at the loading dock, reducing the humidity that surrounds the food as it is transported from a refrigerated truck into a cold storage system. Other systems combat the moisture that enters the air in the cold storage unit itself. Industrial dehumidifiers draw moisture out of the air, eliminating ice that has already formed on the food and preventing new ice from forming.
Cold storage systems utilize a number of different components. Air curtains blow a steady stream of air at the door to the cold storage facility, forcing the warm, humid air of the adjacent room away from the entrance to the cold storage room.