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Article Date: 23rd August 2013

Munters - Meat Wholesaler Cuts Energy Cost with MX2700 Dehumidifiers

De Humidifiers - De Humidification - Climate Control - Humidity Control

Munters Warehouse

Chester Wholesale Meats in South Africa provides packaged and processed meat and poultry products. Chester is an importer with wholesale outlets and a retail chain of 15 butcheries. It has also expanded into commercial cold-storage. Durban's moist and warm climate raised production costs as well as affected the working environment of the plant.

The problem was caused by moist air moving inwards from the truck loading area and condensing in the holding dispatch section, which is kept at 10°C. In addition to blinding mist, large amounts of condensation on the meat products, wall and floor caused a slippery build-up of water and provided a potential hazard for the workforce. This became so problematic that the area earned the nickname 'the fish tank'.

Beyond the holding area, moist air made its way to the cold store, which, at -25°C, caused it to cool and flow downwards to the store floor. The result was considerable formation of frost on the freezer coils as well as the freezer entrance, walls, floors, and on product.

Not only was this energy-inefficient, requiring multiple defrost cycles per day and high refrigeration plant load, but the formation of frost was destructive to product packaging and to the Chester product itself. For the client to be more efficient and successful, a moisture-free holding area and frost-free cold stores were needed.

Chester Wholesale Meats used Munters highly efficient desiccant dehumidifiers - one each in phase one, two and three - one to be used in Holding Area and one in the cold store.

Payback was immediate. Munters systems enabled Chester Meats to reduce the refrigeration plant load eleven times. This resulted in significant savings and an environmentally-friendly reduction in power usage. Because of the barrier formed by the build-up of ice in the past, refrigeration had to run longer in order to obtain heat transfer through the ice. Defrosting was necessary on a more regular basis - which utilised more expansive energy.

Ice also caused Hysters to slip, resulting in expensive repair to fridge panels, shelving and racking systems and damage to the Hysters themselves. The dangers of water or ice slippage and injury provided a significant occupational safety concern.

In addition, temperature fluctuations affected the longevity of the product. Frozen moisture in and on the product caused damage to product packaging, thus affecting product presentation.

Munters desiccant wheel (rotor) technology absorbs moisture from the air using high-performance rotor technology. Typically the energy used for Munters MX system to remove moisture is 11 times cheaper than for the ammonia plant to remove the same moisture at -25°C. The MX2700 (2700m³ of air per hour) used at Chester Meats removes as much as 25kg of water per hour in this cold environment, with an extremely small energy footprint.

Operations manager Stephen Shrewsbury says "the impact of the system has exceeded my expectations". He says that "the cleanliness of the plant now, with the absence of water and ice, is great for hygiene and provides a good working environment. Corrosion and maintenance costs have come down, which has had a positive effect on the attitude to housekeeping. The maintenance costs on Hysters in the plant are reduced, while the shelf life of product and packaging in the freezers has increased".

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