What is a chiller fridge?

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29/04/2024

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In the realm of industrial cooling solutions, walk in chillers and serve a fundamental purpose in maintaining cool temperatures. However, each one has different characteristics tailored to specific applications. It is important for businesses to understand the differences if they are seeking optimal storage and refrigeration solutions. In this article we will be exploring all aspects of cold rooms, walk-in chillers, and walk in freezers including their features and functionalities.

Walk-in chillers are commonly referred to as walk-in fridges, although the term “chillers” can also refer to a process chiller. It should also be notes that walk-in cold rooms, walk-in cold stores, and walk-in chill stores all refer the same appliance.

The primary distinguishing factor between a walk-in chiller and walk in freezer lies in the internal temperatures they maintain. This is an important element to consider when selecting the ideal cold room solution that aligns with your specific needs and preferences. Thus, having clarity on the disparities between these cold room options proves advantageous in making informed decisions.

What temperature should a walk-in chiller and walk in freezer be?

The functions of a walk-in chiller differ from those of a walk-in freezer, primarily due to the temperature variance between the two spaces. Walk-in chillers often maintain temperatures above freezing, typically 3-5C but anywhere between 0C – 15C, depending on the product being stored. They are most suitable for preserving items such as fresh food and medical supplies in hospitals.

A walk-in freezer operates at much lower, sub-freezing temperatures typically around -18C but anywhere between 0C – 25C. to extend the shelf life of various perishable goods and materials. They prolong the viability of food items and pharmaceuticals while preventing the decay of laboratory specimens. This preservation mechanism relies on the ultra-low temperatures to deter microbial growth. Walk in Freezers often need to be built thicker insulated panels

Advantages of using Walk in Chillers and Walk in Freezers

Storage

Walk-in refrigeration systems provide an efficient alternative to standalone units that consume more space. Their customizable nature allows for the creation of units with multiple shelving and intelligent racking systems, catering to various levels of perishable goods.

Energy Efficiency

Standalone fridges and freezers can significantly impact energy bills, but this can be mitigated with walk-in units. These units can incorporate energy-efficient condensers and compressors, creating an environmentally friendly system. If your establishment is suitable for a walk-in unit, it’s worth considering saving on operational costs.

Accessibility

Walk-in coolers and freezers, designed to occupy entire spaces, can be tailored precisely to your needs. Their layout can optimize accessibility, allowing for easy navigation and movement of products.

Blast Chillers and Blast Freezers

Blast chillers and blast freezers are specialized cooling and freezing devices used in commercial kitchens and food processing facilities to rapidly lower the temperature of food. Blast chillers quickly cool food from around 70°C (158°F) to 3°C (37°F) or lower within 90 minutes, ensuring food safety by minimizing bacterial growth and preserving quality. Blast freezers, on the other hand, rapidly freeze food to temperatures as low as -40°C (-40°F) or lower, forming small ice crystals to maintain the food’s texture and nutritional value over long storage periods. Both are crucial for meeting health regulations, extending shelf life, and preserving the quality of food products.

Safety requirements for Walk in Chillers and Freezers

Personal protective equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements for walk-in chillers and freezers are essential to ensure worker safety in these cold environments. Employees should wear insulated gloves and boots to protect against frostbite and cold burns. Layered, thermal clothing, including insulated jackets and pants, is necessary to maintain body warmth. Head protection, such as insulated hats or hoods, and face protection like balaclavas or face masks, are important to prevent exposure to extreme cold. Additionally, non-slip footwear is critical to prevent slips and falls on icy surfaces. Safety training on proper PPE usage and emergency procedures for cold environments is also crucial for worker safety in walk-in chillers and freezers.

Heater maps and Insulation

Walk-in freezers need heater mats and insulation in the floor to prevent the build up of frost and ice, which can compromise the structural integrity and efficiency of the freezer. Heater mats help to maintain a stable temperature and prevent the formation of ice on the floor, which can create hazardous, slippery conditions for workers. Insulation in the floor is crucial to minimize heat transfer from the ground into the freezer, ensuring consistent low temperatures and reducing the workload on the refrigeration system. Together, heater mats and floor insulation enhance energy efficiency, prevent structural damage from frost heave, and maintain a safe working environment inside the freezer.

Door Heaters

Walk-in freezers also require door heaters to prevent the doors from freezing shut due to the accumulation of moisture. When warm, moist air from outside the freezer meets the cold surface of the freezer door and its frame, the moisture can condense and quickly freeze, forming ice. This ice build up can cause the door to stick or freeze shut, making it difficult or impossible to open. Door heaters, typically electric heating elements installed around the door frame and gaskets, provide gentle heat to prevent condensation from freezing, ensuring that the door remains operational and can be opened and closed smoothly. This not only maintains accessibility but also helps preserve the integrity and efficiency of the freezer.

Pressure relief valves

Pressure relief valves are often used in walk-in freezers are essential for equalizing pressure differences that can cause the doors to become stuck due to a vacuum effect. When warm air enters the freezer as the door is opened and then rapidly cools, it contracts and creates a vacuum, making it difficult to reopen the door. This pressure imbalance can also cause warm air to penetrate the joints in the panels, leading to ice build up and potential damage. Pressure relief valves prevent these issues by allowing air to flow in and out of the freezer, maintaining balanced pressure, ensuring door functionality, and protecting the structural integrity of the freezer panels.

Which Cold room solution is best for me?

The decision between a walk-in cooler and a walk-in freezer depends on the type of perishable goods you need to store. If your inventory consists mainly of fresh produce, dairy products, and other perishables requiring cool temperatures, a walk-in cooler is the optimal choice for your business. If your inventory primarily comprises frozen goods such as meat, seafood, and frozen desserts, a walk-in freezer is the more suitable option. Take a look at some of our recent case studies including The design and installation of a walk in chill store and the maintenance visit to a walk in freezer 

Cold room installation and maintenance from ICE

ICE has the specialist knowledge and experience to complete a turnkey cold room project that meets your needs. That includes building of the insulated enclosure itself and refrigeration systems to maintain the required temperatures, right through to the lighting, alarm systems, and door automation. We only install state-of-the-art refrigeration technology, incorporating energy-efficient measures, and the latest refrigerants. As well as installing your cold room, we also provide a regular maintenance service to ensure your cold room is functioning at an optimal level.

Contact us to find out more about professional cold room installation and how it can benefit your business.

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