25 Types of Cold Rooms: A Comprehensive Guide

The cold room is a refrigeration facility designed to control the indoor temperature, meeting the long-term storage needs of various perishable goods for specific environmental temperatures. When designing and constructing a cold room, it’s essential to select the appropriate type of cold room. This article provides a comprehensive introduction to the types of cold rooms available on the market, making it easier for you to find the cold room that best suits your needs.

Based on Temperature

Positive Temperature Cold Rooms

Typically referred to as refrigerated rooms, these are set at temperatures ranging from 32°F to 59°F (0°C to 15°C) and are commonly used to store fruits, vegetables, flowers, eggs, beverages, pharmaceuticals, and more. They maintain the original quality and freshness of products over an extended period. 

It’s important to note that vegetables, fruits, and flowers continue to respire during storage, making the control of humidity within the cold room equally crucial.

 

Negative Temperature Cold Rooms

These are categorized based on the varying storage needs of different products into medium-low temperature, low temperature, and ultra-low temperature cold rooms.

Medium-Low Temperature

This category includes freezers, which are among the most commonly used, with temperatures set between 32°F to -0.4°F (0°C to -18°C). They are designed to preserve seafood, meats, and other specific goods.

Low Temperature

Cold rooms in this category typically have temperatures ranging from -22°F to 0°F (-18°C to -30°C), and even lower, down to -31°F (-35°C). They are widely used in the food, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries for the frozen storage of products. These units play a critical role in maintaining the quality and stability of products during cold chain logistics transport.

Ultra-Low Temperature

Special biological pharmaceuticals, laboratory samples, and chemicals require storage in ultra-low temperatures to preserve their unique properties. 

Specialized ultra-low temperature cold rooms are used for this purpose, although they are not commonly found in the market. The temperatures in these cold rooms usually range from -76°F to -40°F (-40°C to -60°C), with the option for custom temperatures to be set even lower according to specific requirements.

interior of cold storage

 

Based on Size

Compact Cold Room 

These small-scale refrigeration units are designed for efficiency and compactness, with a storage capacity of less than 2,200,000 lbs (1000 metric tons). 

They boast easy installation, convenient operation, and minimal auxiliary equipment. Available in both indoor and outdoor models, they are ideal for small businesses, industrial applications, and areas where space is at a premium. The size of these units can be custom-tailored to fit the dimensions of your specific space.

 

Mid-Sized Cold Storage Facility

For storage needs ranging from  2,200,000 lbs to 11,000,000 lbs (1000 to 5000 metric tons), a mid-sized cold storage facility is your go-to option. Spanning an area between 5,000 to 32,000 square feet (500 to 3000 square meters), these facilities offer an effective and practical solution for medium-scale production or storage companies. 

Mid-sized facilities are also well-suited for commercial refrigeration, as well as logistics and distribution services.

 

Industrial-Scale Cold Storage Complex

With a storage capacity exceeding  11,000,000 lbs (5000 metric tons) and occupying more than 32,000 square feet (3000 square meters), these large facilities are designed to support the operations of large food processing plants, logistics and distribution centers, agricultural storage, and major pharmaceutical companies. 

It provides a one-stop solution for the large-scale storage of food and other products, facilitating processing, transportation, and turnover. 

The integration of advanced product automation management equipment is a key aspect of these complexes, offering a more efficient operational model for large-scale cold rooms and significantly reducing operational costs.

 

 

Based on Purpose

Industrial Cold Room

Primarily used for storing food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and other products, industrial cold storage facilities are large-scale and utilize high-power refrigeration units along with automated temperature management and storage retrieval systems. This reduces labor costs and effectively maintains the high quality of products while ensuring efficient long-term operation.

 

Commercial Refrigeration

Commonly found in the catering and retail sectors, commercial refrigeration units, despite being smaller than their industrial counterparts, offer greater flexibility.

It can be customized to have separate zones with different temperatures within the same unit, enhancing economic efficiency and speeding up the return on investment.

 

Vegetable and Fruit Cold Room

Cold room for fruits and vegetables is the best method to extend their shelf life, keeping them fresh and reducing losses. 

These units come in various types, including those that cool through refrigerants and others that use controlled atmosphere storage, as mentioned earlier. Depending on your budget and needs, you can select the most suitable option.

fruit cold storage

Floral Preservation

Different flowers require specific storage temperatures and conditions. Floral cold storage units are indispensable if you aim to extend the freshness of flowers, slow down their metabolism, and delay aging and wilting. 

Options include walk-in coolers, reach-in coolers, mobile coolers, and display coolers for flowers.

 

Meat Freezer Room

From slaughter to storage, logistics, sales, and finally to the consumer, every step requires refrigeration and freezing, making meat cold storage crucial. Depending on the storage duration and purpose, options include:

  • Meat Coolers, with temperatures ranging from 32°F to 41°F (0°C to 5°C) for short-term storage of meat products about to be processed or sold.
  • Meat Freezers for long-term storage of meat, with temperatures below -22°F (-18°C).
  • Blast freezers, particularly suitable for slaughterhouses, preserve meat quality by rapid freezing right after slaughter.
  • Distribution centers serve as efficient logistic coolers for short-term storage during distribution to retailers, supermarkets, restaurants, and food companies.

 

Pharmaceutical Refrigerator

Pharmaceutical cold rooms typically maintain temperatures between +36°F to +46°F (+2°C to +8°C) to ensure the efficacy, stability, and extended shelf life of medications under low-temperature storage. 

The cooling system uses an automatic temperature control system to adjust and maintain the set temperature, ensuring the safety of stored drugs.

 

Lab Cold Room

Laboratories are pivotal in exploring the unknown realms of science and academia. These precision-designed cold rooms offer flexible temperature settings for use in chemistry, biology, physics, electronic engineering, environmental science, and the pharmaceutical industry. 

Safety is a paramount consideration, with various types tailored to specific needs, such as explosion-proof, precision instruments, low-oxygen, and ultra-low temperature cold rooms.

Lab Cold Room

Mortuary Refrigeration Unit

A specialized application, these cold storage units are used by hospitals, funeral homes, medical schools, and forensic departments for storing bodies. 

Constructed typically from 304 stainless steel, they use coolers at 32°F to 41°F (0°C to 5°C) for short-term body storage and freezers at +14°F to 0°F (-10°C to -18°C) for long-term preservation.

 

Supermarket Coolers

Supermarket coolers are generally used for short-term storage of food for sale, with temperatures ranging from 32°F to 41°F (0°C to 5°C). Options include walk-in display coolers and coolers made from PUF/PIR insulated panels.

 

Restaurant Coolers

To ensure the freshness and safety of food, restaurants and hotels store various types of food, including meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and semi-prepared processed foods. They typically use walk-in modular coolers, designed for flexibility and customizable to fit limited spaces.

 

 

Based on Function

Controlled Atmosphere Storage (CA Storage)

CA Storage represents the most advanced method of preserving fruits and vegetables, enhancing traditional refrigeration technology by regulating the air composition within the storage environment.

 This involves controlling temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, oxygen concentration, and ethylene levels to inhibit the respiratory process on the surface of fruits and vegetables, slowing their metabolism, and extending their storage period. It’s also an ideal solution for storing fresh flowers. 

Typically, CA Storage can extend the storage period by 0.5 to 1 times compared to conventional cold rooms. When produce is removed from CA Storage, it slowly awakens from dormancy, extending its freshness by approximately 25 days more than other cold room methods. 

As demand for quality of life increases, CA Storage is expected to find wider application.

Controlled Atmosphere Storage

IQF Tunnel Freezer

The IQF Tunnel Freezer, also known as an Individual Quick Freezing Tunnel, is primarily utilized in the food industry for the rapid freezing of various products such as meats, poultry, fish, seafood, fruits, vegetables, semi-finished goods, canned foods, bread, and pastries.

Its structure resembles a long tunnel, consisting of two main parts: the refrigeration cycle system and the ventilation system. The refrigeration cycle is the heart of the freezing tunnel. 

As food items pass through the tunnel on flat trays, hanging, or via conveyor belts, they are cooled with refrigerants like liquid nitrogen, forming a uniform layer of ice on the surface of the food. Then, ventilation equipment continuously recirculates the cold air inside, quickly reducing the temperature of the food to the desired level.

The IQF Tunnel Freezer employs rapid freezing technology to lower temperatures to below 0°F (-18°C) in a very short time, preserving the freshness and nutritional content of the food without loss.

IQF Tunnel Freezer

Blast Chillers

Blast chillers are portable, small-scale refrigeration units mainly used in small-scale catering and food processing industries, as well as in medical and laboratory settings. 

For restaurants and hotels that need to prepare and preserve food in advance, blast chillers can quickly reduce the temperature of hot food to refrigerated or frozen states, readying it for further processing or packaging. This prevents surface bacterial growth and maintains the food’s moisture content and freshness.

 

Remote Cold Room

Remote control cold storage systems utilize mobile apps connected to the internet to remotely control the storage systems, allowing real-time monitoring of temperature, humidity, and other conditions. 

Adjustments to temperature and humidity can be made based on real-time data, enabling 24-hour monitoring, prompt problem detection, and reduced maintenance and operational costs.

 

Central Cold Room

This refers to large-scale facilities used by companies providing centralized refrigeration and freezing services to manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, etc. 

They store a variety of products, including food, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and agricultural products. 

Different products have different temperature requirements, so a central cooling system manages and adjusts the temperatures of various areas to meet the specific environmental needs of the stored products. 

This centralized approach to cold room is safer and more reliable, making more efficient use of refrigerated space.

 

Based on Structure

Prefabricated Cold Room

This refers to a modular, integrated cold room solution that is customized and pre-assembled at the factory based on your requirements. 

Installation on-site merely involves assembling it according to the blueprint, much like building blocks, which makes it incredibly convenient. Thanks to its rapid installation, high flexibility, scalability, energy efficiency, and cost savings, it’s a popular type of cold room on the market.

 

Saddle Mount Refrigeration Unit

This type of cold room features an all-in-one refrigeration unit mounted on the rooftop of the cold room. It is a category of modular and walk-in coolers.

walk-in freezer

Concrete Structured Cold Room

Constructed from concrete and steel reinforcement, this type of cold room is primarily used for long-term and permanent large-scale projects. It’s stable, durable, and has very low maintenance costs and excellent fire resistance. 

However, the construction period is long, the cost is high, and once built, it is difficult to expand.

 

Basement Cold Room

Utilizing the natural insulation of underground environments, this energy-efficient type of cold room is minimally affected by outdoor temperatures, making it suitable for long-term storage. 

When you consider building a basement cold room, you should also consider the construction and maintenance costs, which are relatively high compared to other types of cold rooms.

 

Mobile Cold Room

Essential for cold chain logistics, mobile cold room comes in several types:

Refrigerated Truck 

Used for short or long-distance road transport, equipped with an integrated refrigeration unit powered by the truck.

Refrigerated Container 

Indispensable for international shipping and rail transport, available in 20, 40, and 45-foot sizes, with temperatures ranging from +41°F to -40°F (+5°C to -40°C). 

Common refrigeration unit brands include Thermo King, Carrier, Daikin, and Star Cool.

Refrigerated Container 20ft

Portable Cold Room 

These smaller units typically have wheels at the base for easy mobility and can be used for various events and exhibitions, either moved manually or with a small truck.

Mobile freezer Trailer

This is a trailer-type freezer unit that can be customized to various sizes, with a length of 10 feet being trendy. 

Its walls are made from lightweight, high-strength fiberglass reinforced plastic sandwich panels, and it comes equipped with an integrated refrigeration unit for simple and efficient operation. 

Typically used for small-scale events, such as weddings, gatherings, exhibitions, and parties, it lacks its propulsion and must be moved with a tow vehicle.

Conclusion

This article provides an in-depth analysis of various types of cold rooms. After carefully reading it, you will undoubtedly gain a deeper understanding of the different types of cold rooms available. 

This knowledge will offer you a bit of assistance in selecting the cold room solution that best suits your needs.

 

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