What is Cold Room? Ultimate Guide for Your Business

Cold room is crucial in quality control for products like food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and scientific experiments. If you’re looking to gain comprehensive knowledge about cold rooms from every perspective and choose the best option, this guide is perfect for you.

cold room

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What is Cold Room?

The cold room is a type of refrigeration equipment, comprising a fixed space assembled using various insulating materials. It functions by controlling the temperature inside the space with refrigeration units and adjusting the cooling environment necessary for different stored products to either preserve or freeze them. Widely utilized in the warehousing and logistics industries, it is now an indispensable part of the supply chain.

Whether you’re storing fruits, vegetables, flowers, meats, or pharmaceuticals, and require high, moderate, low, or ultra-low temperatures, simply selecting the appropriate refrigeration unit and the suitable thickness of insulation materials will ensure that your stored goods are maintained within your ideal temperature range.

cold room with shelving

 

 

How Does a Cold Room Work?

Cold room shares a similar refrigeration principle with refrigerators but offers a much larger storage space.

The refrigeration equipment in a cold room is key, including components like evaporators, compressors, condensers, and expansion valves. These components circulate refrigerant to expel heat from inside the cold room. The refrigerant absorbs heat in the evaporator under the action of the compressor, turning into low-temperature, low-pressure vapor, and then releases this heat through the condenser. This process is repeated continuously, maintaining the temperature you set inside the cold room, ensuring that your stored items are kept in the required environmental conditions.

Additionally, the insulation of the cold room’s walls, ceiling, and floor is crucial. It helps maintain the set temperature inside during the refrigeration process and significantly reduces the intrusion of external heat, an important aspect of its functionality.

cold room work principle

 

Types of Cold Room

Based on their function and purpose, cold room units are categorized into several types:

Meat Cold Room

Typically, the temperature in a meat cold room ranges between -18°C to -23°C. At -18°C, microbial activity on the meat’s surface is temporarily halted, offering a longer preservation period. If you need to store meat for an extended period, you can further lower the temperature.

meat cold room

Fruit and Vegetable Cold Room

The temperature for storing different types of fruits and vegetables, considering their ripeness and storage duration, is generally controlled around 0°C to 10°C.

 

Seafood Cold Room

For turnover and short-term storage of seafood, the usual temperature is around 0°C to 10°C. Long-term seafood storage typically requires temperatures between -18°C and -23°C. A special type of cold storage, necessary for storing expensive tuna, operates at ultra-low temperatures around -60°C, which temporarily stops the activity of bacteria and enzymes, inhibiting their growth and reproduction.

 

Pharmaceutical Cold Storage Unit

Cold storage is essential for pharmaceutical products like vaccines, medications, and blood. Maintaining appropriate temperatures is crucial to control their stability and reliability.

Pharmaceutical Cold Storage Unit

Chemical Cold Room

Chemical cold storage is widely used in industrial fields, usually maintained at lower temperatures. It includes the storage of biological products and special solvents like dimethyl sulfoxide, dimethylacetamide, and sodium hydroxide. High-sensitivity reagents, such as nucleic acid and protein test kits, also require this type of storage.

 

Floral Cooler

Floral Cooler requires specific temperature and humidity levels. Under these conditions, flowers can remain fresher during storage and transportation.

florist flower

Wine Cellar

In wine storage, temperature and humidity are the most important factors. The taste and aroma of the wine can be best preserved and enhanced only under certain temperature and humidity conditions.

 

 

Cold Room Advantages

Our high-quality lifestyle is closely linked to the application of cold rooms across various sectors.

 

Extending Product Shelf Life

Various perishable items, such as fruits, vegetables, meats, pharmaceuticals, and dairy products, require strict storage temperature and humidity conditions. The cold room helps in regulating these factors, achieving longer preservation periods.

fruit walk-in freezer

Reducing Waste and Lowering Costs

Extending the shelf life of products is the best way to reduce waste and lower costs, offering an effective solution to enhance your business efficiency.

 

Facilitating Transportation and Saving Space

The cold room plays a vital role in the efficient management and turnover of perishable items, maintaining the stability and safety of products. For retailers, utilizing this type of cold chain transportation is the optimal choice for reducing storage space for perishable goods.

 

Customization

Whether it’s a walk-in cold room or a large-scale cold room unit, the cold room can be customized to fit the space available and meet your specific size and specification requirements.

 

 

Common Insulation Materials

If you’re looking to build a perfect cold room unit, start by choosing the right insulation materials for the walls, roof, and floor, all of which must have excellent insulating properties

Polyurethane (PUR) and Polyisocyanurate (PIR) Sandwich Panels

These are currently the most common insulation panels used. They consist of a polyurethane insulation layer in the middle, with surfaces made of PPGI color steel, aluminum, or stainless steel. Polyurethane and polyisocyanurate are formed by one-time foaming, characterized by low thermal conductivity, minimal moisture absorption, impact resistance, and durability. They are widely used in cold room insulation. Polyisocyanurate offers better fire resistance compared to polyurethane.

cold room pu panel

Polystyrene (EPS) Sandwich Panels

These have a similar composition to polyurethane panels. They exhibit good thermal conductivity and low water absorption. However, their thermal conductivity is slightly inferior to polyurethane and polyisocyanurate, but they are more affordable.

 

XPS Insulation Boards

If your stored items are heavy and require forklifts or other equipment to move around, the flooring needs to be reinforced with concrete. Underneath this concrete layer, XPS insulation boards should be installed to minimize heat transfer and enhance the cold room’s insulating performance.

xps foam panel

 

Doors and Entry Systems

Common types of cold room doors include manual sliding doors, electric sliding doors, swing doors, and free doors. The door panels are made of polyurethane insulation panels and high-strength aluminum alloy frames, with surfaces available in materials like stainless steel and color steel plates. This structure ensures the cold room doors remain deformation-free over long-term use.

In a low-temperature cold room, heating wires are installed around the edges of the door leaf. These work in conjunction with the heating wires around the door frame to provide heating, allowing the door to open easily even in extremely low temperatures.

All cold room doors are equipped with a safety device. In case of an emergency, if personnel are accidentally locked inside the cold room, they can use this safety lock to open the door from the inside.

cold room door

 

 

Refrigeration System

The refrigeration unit plays a crucial role in controlling temperature and humidity in a cold room facility. The two most common types in the market are monoblock units and split units.

 

Monoblock Refrigeration Units

A monoblock unit is a type of cold room equipment that combines the compressor, condenser, and evaporator in one single unit. It is suitable for small-scale cold room due to its simple and quick installation process.

Monoblock refrigeration unit

Split Refrigeration Units

Split units separate the compressor and the condenser. The compressor, condenser, and evaporator are connected through copper piping. In split units, the compressor and condenser are installed outside the cold room, while the evaporator is installed inside. The installation process is more complex, making split units more suitable for medium to large-sized cold rooms.

 

 

Cold Room Accessories 

To correctly construct a cold room unit, each component must be carefully selected.

Temperature Control System

When the temperature inside the cold room reaches the set level, the refrigeration unit will stop operating. Conversely, when the temperature exceeds the set level, the refrigeration unit automatically starts cooling.

Temperature Control System

Electrical Control Box

The electrical control box plays a role in controlling, protecting, and adjusting related equipment.

 

Piping Fittings

The piping fittings in cold room construction include elbows, tees, crosses, reducers, etc. These can be selected during the installation process to suit the direction and layout of different pipelines.

 

Valve Fittings

For controlling the flow and pressure of the refrigerant in the cold room, fittings like globe valves, ball valves, and check valves are needed.

These fittings are essential components of a high-performance cold room system.

 

 

Application of Cold Rooms

As the quality of life improves, the application of cold rooms is expanding in various fields, such as

 

Food Factories

The cold room is most extensively used in the food industry. Fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and dairy products require a low-temperature environment to maintain their freshness and quality.

cold room for Food Factories

Pharmaceutical Companies

Medications are a vital part of our lives. Only through proper temperature control can the therapeutic effectiveness and safety of pharmaceuticals be ensured.

 

Chemical Plants

Many chemical products need to be stored in low-temperature environments. Chemicals are very temperature-sensitive and require a constant temperature to perform their high-efficiency reactions.

 

Restaurants and Supermarkets

Supermarkets need to store perishable food items, ensuring each type of food maintains its optimal quality. Restaurants prioritize the safety of food the most.

 

Logistics Companies

Whether in international shipping or short-distance urban transport, cold chain logistics is a crucial component.

refrigerated container 20 and 40 foot

Florist Companies

The shelf life of flowers depends on the environmental temperature. Varieties like roses, lilies, tulips, violets, and carnations can maintain their freshest and most vibrant appearance.

 

Laboratories

The cold room provides laboratories with a reliable constant temperature and humidity environment, ensuring the accuracy and reliability of experiments.

Laboratories

Overall, the cold room offers the optimal environment for perishable items and products requiring special conditions, extending their shelf life and controlling their stability and safety.

 

 

How to Design the Cold Room?

If you want to construct an effective cold room unit that can enhance your business and save on operational costs, good design is crucial.

 

Needs Analysis

Determine the type of items to be stored, their size, quantity, volume, and weight. Consider whether the construction will be indoors, outdoors, or in a basement. The variety of items and their expected storage duration will help ascertain the required temperature range and capacity of the refrigeration equipment. Environmental temperature and humidity are also critical design considerations.

 

Space Planning

Based on the basic information, design the needed cold storage size, determining the length, width, and height. If your cold room requires forklift access, an outdoor equipment work area should also be planned.

 

Temperature Control

Different perishable items require varying storage temperatures to remain fresh. Cold room temperatures range from -5°C to +7°C for fresh produce storage, -10°C to -23°C for chilled storage, and -23°C to -30°C for freezer storage.

 

Insulation Materials

Based on the storage temperature, calculate the thermal conductivity of the cold room walls, roof, and floor to determine the appropriate material thickness.

 

Refrigeration Units

Design the refrigeration unit according to the size and temperature range of the cold room. Choosing a unit with the right power capacity to match your cold room’s cooling needs can save significant operational costs later.

refrigeration unit

Shelf Systems and Storage

A well-designed internal space, with properly divided storage and work areas, facilitates the turnover and circulation of items. The height, number of shelves, and load-bearing capacity should be based on the size and weight of the items. Use 304 stainless steel shelves for food storage and plastic shelves for acidic chemical products.

 

Doors and Seals

Whether you choose sliding or swing doors, they must fit tightly with the cold room walls. Apply high-durability, cold room-specific sealant inside and outside at every joint to prevent gas leaks and reduce energy consumption.

 

Lighting

Choose high-quality, low-temperature-resistant, and explosion-proof LED lights to decrease replacement frequency and lower usage costs.

 

Pressure Relief Valve

The primary function of a pressure relief valve in a cold room is to balance the internal and external pressure, ensuring smooth operation of the doors.

Ventilator For Cold Room

The selection of each component must meet the requirements of the stored items and the temperature. Incorrect design can lead to significant losses, so it’s essential to choose a professional manufacturer.

 

 

How to Install Cold Room?

Here are the steps for installing a cold room unit

Preparation for Installation

Plan the installation site and prepare all necessary materials, such as cold room panels, doors, refrigeration units, evaporators, and corresponding accessories.

Assembling the Shell

Assemble the insulated walls and roof of the cold room. Ensure the flooring is slip-resistant and that all joints are tightly connected. Install the cold room door and use a high-durability sealant at all joints to ensure proper sealing.

Refrigeration Equipment Installation

The installation of refrigeration equipment is particularly crucial. Confirm the installation positions of the outdoor compressor and condenser, and the indoor evaporator, then secure them in place. Install shock-absorbing pads under the compressor to ensure sufficient space for maintenance. Keep the area around the equipment unobstructed to ensure smooth air circulation.

Piping Installation

Connect the copper pipes according to the fixed position of the refrigeration equipment. Weld the joints and promptly clean any internal oxides to prevent clogging the compressor. To prevent cold leaks in outdoor conditions, wrap the copper pipes with 2cm thick insulation to reduce energy loss.

copper pipe install

Electrical and Temperature Control System Installation

Connect all refrigeration equipment to the electrical control system, lay electrical conduits, and secure them with clamps. Connect the internal LED light switches to the control box. Install the temperature sensor in the center of the cold room for accurate temperature readings throughout the unit. Label all connection points for easy maintenance and inspection.

Adjustment, Testing, and Operation

Finally, continuously test and adjust the installed cold room to ensure that all parameters meet the design requirements.

 

 

How to Maintain and Clean Cold Room?

Proper maintenance and care can extend the operational life of equipment.

Regular Inspections

Periodically check the operation of the refrigeration units, monitor for any unusual sounds in equipment operation, and ensure that the cold room panels and seals are leak-free.

Regular Cleaning

Keep the interior and exterior of the cold room, storage shelves, and equipment units clean, removing stains and dust. Ensure that the equipment is in a ventilated environment, free from obstructions, to facilitate air circulation and efficient heat dissipation.

Temperature Monitoring

Monitor the temperature inside the cold storage to ensure it stays within the set range.

Cold Room Doors

Regularly lubricate and maintain the door handles, chains, and tracks of the cold room doors to ensure they open and close easily. If the door’s sealing strips are leaking cold air or not sealing properly, they need to be replaced promptly.

cold room door

Frost Removal

Regularly check the condenser and evaporator coils for frost and clean them promptly to maintain efficient operation.

 

Disinfection and Deodorization

Regularly perform mold removal and sterilization to ensure the quality of stored food, especially if there are odors inside the cold room. Thorough cleaning and the use of deodorizing agents for disinfection can be effective.

 

Emergency Power Supply

Regularly test the emergency power supply to ensure it is always ready for use.

 

FAQ

Why Does Cold Room have Condensation?

When the external air of a cold room unit encounters the cold air inside, condensation can form on the walls or floor. Check the walls, roof, and doors to ensure they are sealed and there are no leaks of cold air.

 

How is Cold Room Powered?

The electricity required for the cold room is industrial-grade. It can be supplied through a city’s industrial power grid to the cold room’s electrical control box, or it can be powered directly by a generator. Most operate on voltages of 380V / 440V / 3 phase, or 110V /220V single phase, 50/60HZ.

 

What Humidity Control Range Can Cold Rooms Be Used at?

Typically, the humidity in general food cold rooms should be maintained between 85%-95%. For the vaccine, the normal humidity range is between 30%-60%. Pharmaceuticals have a humidity range of 60%-70%, while electronic products maintain humidity levels between 40%-50%.

 

What is the Right Refrigeration System for a Cold Room?

There are various types of refrigeration units: air-cooled, water-cooled, screw-type, and centrifugal refrigeration units, with air-cooled units being the most commonly used.

 

Conclusion

As industries across the board rapidly develop, cold room facilities have become essential. They offer vital support and assurance for the growth of modern sectors like food, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals.

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