cold room refrigeration
For many manufacturing, packing and storage processes, reliable cooling is essential for both production and storage that is tightly controlled, hygienic and efficient.
Cold Room Refrigeration can take on many different forms and sizes, from small rooms not much bigger than a large American style refrigerator to vast warehouse expanses, and temperatures from +13°C to as low as -40°C.
In the industry, these rooms are usually referred to as ‘walk-ins’ – literally because they are large enough to walk inside.
Chill Room, Cold Room, Freezer Room, Blast Freezers – What’s the difference?
From the outside there is very little difference and they can look identical. The real difference is quite simply the temperature inside.
Chillers are similar to your domestic fridge at home and usually operate within a temperature range of +13°C to +2°C. Their primary function is to store consumables and products that will be used within a few days. They are also often used in process areas where staff receive goods in prior to moving them on to the relevant cold rooms or freezers. For instance where supermarkets receive large deliveries by lorry load or in fish factories where staff vacuum pack product prior to delivering to customers. Chillers are cold but can have staff working inside them constantly or regularly.
Cold Rooms usually operate within a temperature range +5°C and -2°C. Their primary function is to store consumables and products that will be used within a few days to a few weeks. They are used where a large stocks of fast perishing items need to be kept very cold, and in some cases just below freezing. Unlike chillers, cold rooms are loaded by staff as and when required but not occupied for extended periods.
Freezer Rooms are more self explanatory and usually operate within a temperature range -18°C and -22°C, similar to your domestic freezer at home. Their primary function is to store consumables in a deep frozen state that can extend the product life for months or even years.
Blast Freezers can operate as low as -40°C. Their primary function is to freeze cooked food as quickly as possible. Their extremely low temperature and fast freezing action significantly prevents bacteria growth in cooked foods and greatly preserves the quality and taste of the product over conventional freezing.
Can a cold room also function as a freezer room?
While a cold room could function as a chiller, a freezer cold room requires different refrigeration equipment to achieve the much lower temperatures. Just like the outsides of the different types of rooms can look identical, so can the equipment that powers them, but there are vital differences.
These are mainly the type of refrigerant used within the system, and the additional features used to keep freezer cold rooms from icing up. Freezer cold room evaporators have additional electric heaters inside them to defrost the cooling coils. They also have heaters in the the fan cowlings, drain trays and drain pipes to prevent them from becoming blocked with ice. While chillers and cold rooms often have plastic drains that don’t need heating or lagging, freezer cold room drains are usually copper, chrome or stainless steel wrapped in heater tape and lagged to keep them warm.
Where is cold room refrigeration usually used?
From storing your food, beer & flowers to storing your medicines, vaccines and body, cold room refrigeration plays a huge and often unseen part in every day life:
- ► Food & Drink Manufacture, Process, Storage & Retail
- ► Fish & Shellfish Process & Storage
- ► Farm Crop Storage
- ► Flower storage
- ► Breweries & cellar storage
- ► Restaurants & Catering
- ► Distribution Centres
- ► Warehouses
- ► Pharmaceuticals
- ► Hospitals
- ► Mortuaries
What Sizes are available?
Whatever type of cold room you require, they are available in any size or shape. From off the shelf standard sizes to bespoke made to measure rooms to suit the available space.
Smaller cold rooms are available as easily assembled cam lock bolt together packs which can be erected in a few hours. The smaller types tend to have self contained monobloc coolers that are cut in to the side of the cold room and simply wire in to an isolated power supply. The benefits of the monobloc systems is their simplicity, ease of install and the fact they don’t need an outdoor unit. One drawback however is that the hot air rejected by the unit is blown in to the room that the cold room is in. This can cause an issue in summer time when the room is hot already, and may necessitate the need for additional extractors in the room to remove the additional heat.
Medium sized rooms can also be bolt together but usually need larger refrigeration plant with an evaporator on the inside piped and wired to a condenser situated outside the building.
Larger rooms are usually custom built on site by the manufacturers and may have numerous evaporators inside piped and wired to several smaller or one larger condenser pack outside.
How much do they cost?
A small modular cold room of 1340mm x 1340mm x 2200mm (2.94m³) would cost approx £3,500 + vat installed. The same size freezer room would cost approx £4,000.
A medium sized modular cold room of 2540mm x 2540mm x 2200mm (11.75m³) would cost approx £5,000 + vat installed. The same size freezer room would cost approx £5,500.
A larger sized modular cold room of 3990mm x 3990mm x 2160mm (30.30m³) would cost approx £8,000 + vat installed. The same size freezer room would cost approx £9,500.
Bespoke made cold & freezer rooms are available to any size requirements and range from £7,000 upwards.
Sample Torr Engineering installations…
Where can I get further information?
For free, no obligation quotes and advice, please drop us a line at Torr through our contact page.