Insulated commercial curtains for food storage & distribution applications

Food warehousing can demand a wide range of storage conditions

Depending on the product, these may include:
  • Temperature control – to maintain at freezing, refrigerated, or ambient.
  • Humidity control – to maintain from very dry to 90% plus.
  • Environment control – to exclude dust, off-gases, and other contaminants.
Insulated curtain walls can help provide the needed conditions for any product or mix of products. And they can do it more simply, economically, and flexibly than other options.
food storage
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Many food products need special conditions

Frozen or refrigerated storage is indicated by the nature of the product, but some items that appear to be non-critical in fact do need some controlled storage conditions.

Although the food in cans is cooked at high temperatures, its quality will be degraded if stored at elevated temperatures. The best temperature is between 50° and 70° F. Dry foods should also be kept in the same temperature range with humidity below 55%.

People think of military MREs (Meal, Ready to Eat), as being non-perishable since they’re meant to support troops under rugged and varied conditions. But, like other foods, they can be degraded if stored improperly. Research shows that temperature is highly related to MRE shelf life—which can be surprisingly short. It varies from 60 months or longer at 50 °F to as little as 1 month at 120°F.

Many other food products need even more highly controlled conditions; such as lard (which needs a temperature of 35°F–40°F, never over 60°F) and chocolate (which not only needs a combination of 65°F–70°F temperature and humidity of less than 55% to keep well but also absorbs odors of whatever is stored nearby).

Fresh produce presents a particularly complex set of requirements. There are lengthy tables of temperature/humidity values for individual vegetables and fruits. They range from cool with high humidity for such as lettuce and spinach to moderate and drier for such as garlic, pumpkins, and winter squash. Fruits add a third factor—since they give off ethylene gas—a ripening agent for both fruit and vegetables. To avoid premature ripening of vegetables, fruits should always be stored separately from them.

Temperature & humidity control with industrial thermal curtains

The temperature and humidity of the air in an enclosed space are directly related. With no exchange of air, relative humidity will rise as temperature declines until, at 100% humidity, water will begin to condense on objects and surfaces in the space. Conversely, increasing temperature will lower the relative humidity and tend to draw moisture from objects in the space when humidity reaches low values.

That’s why climate control equipment is installed in buildings; not only for creature comfort but also to maintain favorable conditions of storage and prevent spoilage of goods. However, the energy to operate that equipment can be expensive. So, it pays to isolate those parts of a warehouse where specific atmospheres are needed to maintain product quality.

Insulated thermal curtains can be a simple, economical, and flexible means to subdivide a large space and confine the expense of atmospheric conditioning to just the areas where it is needed.

Logistics Thermal Warehouse
Large warehouses can be divided between different categories of goods using industrial thermal curtains

Product isolation with insulated warehouse curtains

This space could have been enclosed with a structural wall of studs and sheathing or with metal panels. Both of those approaches would have:
  • Been more expensive.
  • Taken longer to install.
  • Been more disruptive to operations during installation.
  • Not provided the flexibility to reconfigure or move the enclosure as needs change.

Several features of this application are noteworthy:

  • This is a thicker, stationary insulated curtain wall for a higher temperature difference between the general warehouse and the enclosed space.
  • The bottom of the curtain itself hangs about 1” above the floor. A flexible floor sweep is attached to close the gap and prevent air movement under the insulated
    warehouse curtain. (Floor sweeps are single on thinner curtains and double on the thicker ones.)
  • The top of the curtain is extended to the underside of the roof using valences around the bar joists—also to prevent air exchange.
  • The opening is covered with a clear flexible strip door which allows movement in and out of the enclosed space while blocking a direct path for air leakage.
    Alternative closures include swing, bump, and roll-up doors which can block air exchange more effectively.
  • The vertical edges of the curtain are sealed to the walls of the warehouse.
How to Use Thermal Curtains
An example of a fully enclosed sub-space in a warehouse

Other applications may call for a retractable, insulated soft curtain wall that will allow greater flexibility to access the stored product or to close doorways and other openings that are not in constant use.

Both stationary and retractable insulated warehouse curtains best keep a controlled temperature when air leaks are eliminated. In addition to the features mentioned above, flexible foam may be used to fill gaps such as at corrugations, and Velcro strips can seal curtains to fixed surfaces while allowing for temporary movement.

All of AmCraft’s Thermal Insulated Industrial Curtains include the following features:
  • Meet ASTME-84 Class A flame rating and NFPA-701.
  • Soft insulated curtain walls also provide some noise absorption.
  • Vinyl surfaces are waterproof and washable.

A wide range of insulated commercial curtains is available to meet your specific needs

AmCraft offers 1” to 5” thick insulated curtain walls with R values spanning from 4 to 25 or more, if needed. These can provide for temperature differences from 22°F to 60°F between adjacent spaces that the wall separates. Those R values can be thought of as measuring the material’s resistance to heat flow and thus the magnitude of temperature differences the material can separate.

AmCraft also offers loading dock door seals to prevent leakage while material is moving between warehouse and truck. They keep inside conditions separate from the outside.

Find out more about how you can use Insulated Industrial Curtains in your facility. Our representatives will help you determine the best R value, mounting option, and layout to create a custom solution for your business.