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.
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.
Several features of this application are noteworthy:
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.
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.