High pressure fog humidification keeps humidity at a target set point in order to reduce shrinkage and maintain product weights in refrigerated cold storage environments.
The control of humidity levels at extreme low temperatures presents unique challenges that the MicroCool system is perfectly poised to meet.
Cold stores generally hold large quantities of vegetables and perishable goods, which can deteriorate rapidly in low humidity. The chillers and coolers in these applications “strip” the air of any water, reducing humidity. Fork lift and personnel traffic can also quickly change the humidity level. This water deficit needs to be continually replaced to maintain proper humidity levels.
The amount of water required to raise the humidity level at these low temperatures is extremely small. The MicroCool system uses different stages of nozzles to speed up the recovery process if required.
Five Crowns Marketing
(add humidity to cold storage refrigeration for produce)
Humidification control reduced moisture loss which maintained product weight and positively impacted the bottom line.
Founded in 1985 and based in California’s heartland with a legacy spanning 65 years, Five Crowns Marketing is a family-based grower, packer, and shipper of fresh fruits and vegetables under their celebrated Majesty Brand label. In addition to their own farming operations, Five Crowns partners with other growers to pack and ship fresh, quality produce to markets all over the U.S.
At the heart of Five Crowns’ packing and shipping operations, Crown Cooling includes a solar-powered, 55,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art cold storage facility located in Brawley, CA. Approximately 5,000,000 units of produce pass through the facility every year.
The Challenge: reduce moisture loss, increase grower profits
The cold storage refrigeration process removes moisture from the air. Under these conditions, asparagus, melons and citrus lose water volume and weight. For produce growers and packers, profits are based on weight and product shrinkage results in lost revenue.
Working with a team of in-house engineers, MicroCool provided a customized, comprehensive humidification analysis including recommendations for stabilizing humidity levels across a multi-zone, humidification network. MicroCool’s solution utilized a system of proprietary IBEX Pumps built to UL standards and exclusive ROC stainless steel line, nozzles and fittings that are corrosion and weld-free. The reverse osmosis water treatment option provides humidification which is free of dissolved mineral salts—essential for food production facilities.
The first humidification system for Five Crowns was installed by MicroCool’s team of professional factory technicians. MicroCool’s focus on continuous innovation simplified the installation process allowing Crown Cooling to add a second system entirely on their own.
The specified integrated IBEX pumps, ROC stainless steel nozzles and Reverse Osmosis system
- reduced moisture loss
- maintained humidity to a range of +/- 3% of the target set-point
- maintained product weight that positively impacted the bottom line
Cold Storage Humidification
Humidifier System for Cold Storage of Fresh Produce and Other Perishables
Cold storage facilities are used for preserving a wide array of food products and other perishable goods. When items are securely packaged before leaving the ripening rooms, you do not have to worry about moisture loss. However, in the case of fresh produce stored in an open-air storage space, moisture loss is a major concern.
Cold Air Loses Moisture Content
Air has the capacity to hold a certain volume of water vapor. This capacity increases with the rise in temperature. Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air at a given temperature compared to what that air has the capacity to hold at that temperature. Hot, tropical regions have relative humidity going into the high 80s and 90s. Meanwhile, temperate zones have cooler climates and much drier air as a result.
The same conditions are replicated inside a cold storage facility. The moisture content in the air is constantly getting siphoned off as condensate near the cooling coils. As the air gets dryer, it causes nearby objects to lose water content through the process of transpiration.
Leafy Greens Need High Humidity Level
Fresh leafy greens, and other fruit and vegetables, will lose their water content rapidly under dry, cold air conditions. This can lead to product deterioration, which in turn leads to lower revenues because they haven’t maintained product weight. Sustaining required humidity levels is essential for the proper storage of such perishable goods in cold storage.
If you want to see this in action, all you need to do is open your refrigerator and look at the crisper bin – a space dedicated for the storage of fresh vegetables. It’s designed to retain a higher level of humidity than the other zones inside the fridge.
In large supermarkets and other cold storage facilities storing fresh produce, you cannot rely on crisper boxes to maintain high humidity levels. You need a dedicated humidifier for cold storage with a high-pressure fog system.
Cold Storage Humidifier for Meat & Poultry
Refrigeration is essential for the safe storage of meat and poultry. At the same time, exposure to dry air can leave the meat surface with an unappetizing brown tint. The texture of the meat after cooking also suffers as a result, becoming dry instead of juicy and moist.
Meat Products Need Rapid Cooling
The culprit here is cold air with low relative humidity. Rich in proteins, lipids, and enzymes, meat is a potential haven for microbial activity and oxidation. Fast cooling is required to prevent this right after the butchering process.
The initial cooling process carried out in a slaughterhouse is called primary chilling. When the meat is correctly chilled, it retains its freshness due to the presence of unfrozen water inside. This water can be lost to the air if the cold room suffers from low humidity.
Chilled Meat Has High Water Content
Water loss leads to deterioration of quality, both in terms of appearance and taste. It also makes the product lighter, which inevitably leads to a loss in revenue as it is most often sold by the ounce. Meat has a relatively high-water content between 50% to 75% and requires a high relative humidity of up to 95%.
With the constant condensation impact from cooling coils and other surfaces, maintaining high humidity levels inside a cold storage system is not easy. With a high-pressure fog system, cold storage humidifiers can increase humidity and get the job done, especially in display cabinets and zones with open counters.
The Main Benefits of Using a High-Pressure Fog Humidifier in Cold Storage
- Drastically inhibit the moisture loss in certain fruits, fresh vegetables, and meat.
- Humidity-controlled storage prevents loss in revenues due to product weight loss.
- Helps the food items retain a fresh, attractive appearance for a longer period.
- Precise controls for optimal humidity levels prevent damage due to excessive humidity.
- Ensures longer storage in the facility with improved shelf life.
- High-pressure systems require less water and are more economical.
- Focused nozzles and environmental controllers can maintain separate humidity zones for different products.
- Anti-drip technology prevents messy water leaks from the nozzles.
Trust MicroCool for All Your Cold Storage Humidification Needs
The MicroCool High-Pressure Fog Humidification system is the ideal equipment for any cold storage facility designed to house fresh produce, fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, wines, and a wide array of other perishable goods. We will custom design a system to meet your specific space requirements and product storage needs. To learn more about our humidification and other products, get in touch with a resident fog expert by reaching out online here or calling us at 1-800-322-4364.
Fog Humidification Resources
View Directed Humidification video on right, and/or click link to download documentation (in PDF format) below.
For additional information, please contact MicroCool.