When it comes to food quality control, humidity and temperature are often primary concerns. Left unchecked, moisture can plague a facility with spoilage and mold as well as pose fall risks to employees—challenges that are only exacerbated when a facility’s temperature levels are irregular.
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Explore this issueDecember/January 2019
Managing these risks often begins by managing your facility’s indoor air quality. Establishing consistent air quality throughout the various sectors of a structure—from its cold storage to its packaging areas—is paramount to create a steady indoor climate that will support optimal product and employee safety.
Indoor Air Quality
How exactly is this done? Indoor air quality typically refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures. With proper circulation, a majority of air quality concerns can be eliminated—and HVLS (high-volume, low-speed) fans are particularly adept in this area due to their ability to move large volumes of air with minimal energy.
By consistently providing large-scale airflow, HVLS fans accompanied by HVAC systems are critical tools in regulating a facility’s temperature and humidity while preventing stagnant air and a dust-riddled environment. The fans’ high air turns can also eliminate toxic airborne chemicals at a more rapid pace.
Moisture is a daily concern in many food processing, packaging, and manufacturing environments. With frequent washdowns and products that may contain moisture, managing humidity can feel like an uphill battle. Condensation can easily form on the floor in between two different climate-controlled environments, presenting a significant safety hazard.
By increasing a facility’s air circulation and adjusting HVLS fans to an adequate, steady speed, condensation evaporates much more quickly–reducing the risk of slips, trips, and falls as well as pollutants and bacteria associated with unchecked moisture.
For example, Hunter Industrial worked with an award-winning beverage distributor in central Florida whose loading area often experienced condensation buildup on its concrete floors. The team would attempt to scrub the moisture from the floors, but its efforts only provided a temporary fix.
“Due to the condensation on the floors, our employees were constantly at risk of a safety hazard,” says the distributor’s operations manager. “When our team would operate forklifts, they would need to exercise extra caution because of the machines’ tendency to slip on the damp floors. I had a couple small exhaust fans in the facility, but their air movement was only within a few feet of the fans, which doesn’t help to dry the floors at all.”
After installing two 24-foot Hunter Industrial HVLS fans, the operations manager noticed an immediate difference with the fans operating at just half-speed. There was no longer condensation buildup and employees were able to operate forklifts and execute daily tasks more efficiently.
In another instance, a microbrewery in Tennessee saw a need for better airflow and a proper cooling mechanism in its facility, particularly during the hot summer months. While it had ventilation fans installed on the apex of its roof, there was no way to move the air throughout the 12,000 square foot building. Because of the large amounts of water used in the facility, moisture control was a primary issue; the warehouse floor was consistently wet with stagnant moisture, but installing a 16-foot HVLS fan from Hunter Industrial remedied the issue.
In addition to moisture management, most food manufacturing facilities require set temperatures specific to cold storage, dry storage, packaging areas, and more to maintain optimal product safety and quality. In buildings that are expansive and/or have multiple sectors, maintaining these temperature requirements can be a challenge at best.
With the ability for speeds to be programmed systematically or to fit the tailored needs of a specific space, HVLS fans can be efficient solutions in regulating room temperatures—optimizing the operation of HVAC systems and increasing far-reaching indoor air flow to previously underserviced areas.