A fresh outlook on cold room systems

The demand for refrigerated food has continued to grow in recent decades and this trend is set to continue as demand for fresh produce continues to escalate. With refrigeration much more widely available, it is unlikely we will return to the now less popular methods of food preservation, like pickling or canning, despite the introduction of the refrigerant GWP quota within the F-Gas regulations. The requirement for refrigerated spaces will no doubt continue to grow for the foreseeable future and James Trant of TEV looks at the impact.


raditional packaged integral fridge-freezers have very limited use as they are tailored towards applications with a low to medium food turnover rate, such as typical households. This makes them only suitable for instances where the door is open for short periods of time, limiting their use in fast-paced environments. For applications that require high amounts of food storage or food preparation, a cold room is a much more suitable option. A cold room is a refrigerated, walk-in storage area that is usually kept at a constant temperature by a refrigeration system. Cold rooms, like domestic fridge-freezers, can maintain temperatures above and below freezing depending on the requirement. Typically, refrigerated food is kept at the standard condition SC2 (0°C air and -8°C evaporating temperature) and frozen food at SC3 (-18°C air and -25°C evaporating temperature). Cold rooms are specifically designed for environments where produce turnover is rapid and frequent, making them ideal for food holding facilities in supermarkets, warehouses and smaller applications like restaurant kitchens, where food preparation needs to take place.

Although configuration and layouts can differ per requirement, a functioning cold room usually consists of three standard components: a well-insulated room or space, a cold room evaporator and a condensing unit suitable for the application. Each component plays a crucial role

20 July 2018

in maintaining temperature, however it is down to the evaporator and condensing unit to provide the necessary cooling to refrigerate the produce within. For some cold rooms, the evaporator and condenser are supplied connected together as a monoblock unit, which is an adequate solution providing you are not concerned about the heat gain in the area surrounding the cold room. More often, it is better to opt for a split system where the heat can be ejected into a suitable location.

Cold room evaporators and refrigeration condensing units are readily available from a wide range of manufacturers, meaning that customers will often search for the lowest price units and purchase them from two different suppliers. This is made possible thanks to the information supplied with each unit, however it remains the responsibility of the individual who matches the equipment, either the refrigeration contractor or distributor, to ensure the equipment is a correct match for the application. System matching has now become more complicated with the introduction of new refrigerants alongside the F-Gas regulations. These refrigerants have been introduced as replacements for R404A, but they have a larger glide, making selections more difficult. The most effective method of system selection would be to purchase a full split cold room refrigeration system from a single manufacturer. One of the main advantages of this is that the units are guaranteed to be compatible. Providing the

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