Types of Cold Room: A Complete Guide

As the market economy grows and modern logistics systems improve, the global demand for cold rooms continues to rise. Whether for small-scale personal use or large-scale commercial operations, having the right cold room that meets your needs is essential. This guide will certainly be of help to you.

There is a wide variety of cold rooms available on the market, which can be classified based on size, temperature, use, functionality, and structural features. Here are some of the common types of cold rooms, which I will introduce to you one by one.

Cold Room

Classifying Cold Rooms by Size

Classifying Cold Rooms by Size

Small Cold Rooms

Small cold rooms typically have a room capacity of less than 1,000 tons. These cold rooms are compact, customizable to specific needs, and occupy minimal space. They are simple to install and cost-effective, making them an excellent choice for individuals or small businesses.

Medium Cold Rooms

Medium cold rooms are sized between small and large units, typically offering a refrigeration capacity of 1,000 to 10,000 tons. These cold rooms generally require a land area ranging from 500 to 3,000 square meters. Medium cold rooms are well-suited for medium-scale commercial or industrial needs.

Large Cold Rooms

Large cold rooms have a significantly higher room capacity, typically exceeding 10,000 tons, and generally require an area of over 5,000 square meters. These cold rooms are designed to meet large-scale room demands and are commonly used by large supermarkets, food processing plants, logistics centers, and supply chain management centers. Due to their extensive room capacity and substantial footprint, large cold rooms often feature advanced automated management systems to ensure efficient operation.

Classifying Cold Rooms by Temperature

Fresh Cold Rooms

Fresh cold rooms typically maintain temperatures between 32°F and 50°F (0°C to 10°C). These are primarily used to store products that need to remain fresh, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and floral plants. Managing humidity is also crucial in these environments to prevent mold and decay if the humidity is too high, or dehydration and quality degradation if it is too low.

Freezers

Freezers typically maintain temperatures between 5°F and 32°F (-15°C to 0°C). This temperature range meets the room needs of many products, making freezers widely used in supermarkets, food processing plants, logistics centers, and supply chain management centers for storing chilled and frozen foods, such as meats, seafood, and frozen beverages. Additionally, freezers are also appropriate for storing pharmaceuticals and biologics that require low temperatures. For those looking to store meat products short-term, a freezer with temperatures kept between 30°F and 25°F (-1°C to -4°C) and a relative humidity around 90% can extend the freshness of meat for about 10 days.

Low-Temperature Freezers

Low-Temperature Freezers

Low-temperature freezers typically operate between -0.4°F and -13°F (-18°C to -25°C). These are used for storing temperature-sensitive products that do not require ultra-low temperatures, such as in supermarkets, food processing plants, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and biological labs. Compared to freezers, the colder environment in low-temperature freezers more effectively prevents the growth of bacteria and microbes, making them suitable for long-term room of various frozen products, like frozen meats, seafood, ice cream, and biologics.

Ultra-Low Temperature Freezers

Ultra-low temperature freezers usually maintain temperatures between -40°F and -112°F (-40°C to -80°C), or even lower. These are essential for products requiring extremely low temperatures, such as in pharmaceutical production, biological labs, and certain industrial applications. Ultra-low temperature freezers not only store biologics needing very low temperatures but also serve critical roles in some industrial production processes, providing a stable, ultra-cold environment that ensures smooth operation and maintains product quality.

Classifying Cold Rooms by Use

Food Cold Rooms

Food cold rooms are widely used in the food industry for storing various types of food, including fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, and beverages. Depending on the specific room needs of different foods, the temperature in these food cold rooms can range from normal temperature to ultra-low temperatures.

Floral Cold Rooms

Floral cold rooms are extensively utilized in the fresh flower market for storing and preserving fresh flowers and other plants. These floral cold rooms help maintain the freshness and quality of flowers and plants, enhancing competitiveness in the floral market. Different species of flowers require specific optimal room temperatures: typical fresh flowers are stored at around 41°F (5°C), tropical flowers at about 50°F (10°C), and flowers from colder climates at approximately 23°F (-5°C). When designing floral cold rooms, it is important to segment the space according to the characteristics and room conditions of different flower types, setting appropriate temperatures and humidity levels for each area. Additionally, care must be taken to ensure that the cooling equipment does not blow directly onto the flowers, preventing rapid moisture loss and wilting.

Pharmaceutical Cold Rooms

Pharmaceutical Cold Rooms

Pharmaceutical cold rooms are crucial in the medical industry for storing medicines and biological products. Some pharmaceuticals and biologics require room at specific temperatures to maintain their medicinal effects, thus these cold rooms ensure the quality and extend the shelf life of these products.

Chemical Cold Rooms

Chemical cold rooms are vital in the chemical production industry for storing chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, petroleum, and other chemical products. These products often need to be stored in a cool environment to reduce chemical reactions and degradation. For the room of flammable, explosive, or corrosive chemicals, cold rooms also need to incorporate explosion-proof and corrosion-resistant features to ensure a safe and reliable room.

Laboratory Cold Rooms

Laboratory cold rooms are widely used in scientific research, biomedical experiments, and pharmaceutical research. They store experimental samples, reagents, and biologics. The temperature in laboratory cold rooms needs to be adjustable to meet the specific requirements of different experiments. Due to the precise temperature needs of these experiments, besides standard temperature control systems, monitoring and alarm systems are also necessary to alert if the temperature exceeds safe limits. Some experimental reagents are flammable or explosive, or have corrosive properties, hence laboratory cold rooms also need to consider explosion-proof and corrosion-resistant treatments.

Classifying Cold Rooms by Function

Controlled Atmosphere room

Controlled Atmosphere room

Controlled Atmosphere room (CAS) is a specialized type of food cold room, currently considered the most advanced technology for preserving fruits and vegetables globally. It operates by adjusting the composition of gases within the room, such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, and ethylene, to inhibit the respiration of fruits and vegetables and slow down their metabolic processes, thereby effectively maintaining their freshness.

Compared to standard fresh cold rooms, CAS has significant advantages in preserving the freshness of fruits and vegetables. It can extend the room life of fresh produce and increase the shelf life after they are removed from room, typically three to four times longer than conventional room methods. However, the superior preservation capabilities also mean that CAS is more complex to construct and come with higher costs. Therefore, when choosing a cold room solution, it’s important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of CAS to make an informed decision.

Blast Freezers

Blast freezers are designed for rapid freezing of products, maintaining temperatures between -0.4°F to -31°F (-18°C to -35°C), or even lower. These are extensively used in the food industry. Blast freezers quickly lower the temperature inside to extremely low levels, ensuring that the food retains its quality, texture, and nutritional value during freezing.

In addition to conventional blast freezers, there is a specialized type known as the tunnel blast freezer, which is widely used in the food industry for large-scale production freezing. Tunnel blast freezers consist of an input area, a freezing tunnel, freezing equipment, an air circulation system, and an output area. Food enters the freezing tunnel for rapid freezing and then moves to the next stage of food processing. Compared to conventional blast freezers, tunnel blast freezers offer fully automatic control, improving production efficiency and reducing labor costs.

Explosion-Proof Cold Rooms

Explosion-proof cold room is a specialized type primarily used in the chemical industry for storing flammable and explosive materials. To reduce the risk of explosions during room, these explosion-proof cold rooms incorporate additional explosion-proof features.

Explosion-proof cold rooms use explosion-proof refrigeration equipment, electrical systems, and materials to prevent the generation and spread of sparks or static electricity. This minimizes the factors that could trigger explosions, thereby reducing the risk of explosions and ensuring the safety of personnel, equipment, and products.

Classifying Cold Rooms by Structural Features

Classifying Cold Rooms by Structural Features

Civil-Constructed Cold Rooms

Civil-constructed cold rooms are typically built from reinforced concrete, bricks, and other high-strength structural materials. Thanks to their thick concrete walls, ceilings, and floors, these civil-constructed cold rooms offer excellent insulation and durability. However, compared to prefabricated cold rooms, civil-constructed cold rooms have longer construction periods and higher costs. Once built, they are not easy to move or modify, making them more suitable for long-term, large-scale room needs.

Prefabricated Cold Rooms

Prefabricated cold rooms are usually assembled from pre-manufactured modular insulation panels. These panels include EPS (Expanded Polystyrene), PIR (Polyisocyanurate), PU (Polyurethane) sandwich panels, and rock wool panels. Compared to civil-constructed cold rooms, prefabricated cold rooms offer benefits such as easier installation, faster construction, more flexible design, and lower initial costs. Prefabricated cold rooms can be custom-designed to meet different size and temperature requirements, making them widely applicable across various room needs.

Jacketed Cold Rooms

Jacketed cold room refers to a conventional cold room structure that includes an additional jacketed structure, typically involving pipes embedded within the walls, ceiling, or floor. The refrigerant flows through these embedded pipes to cool the air inside the room space. Jacketed cold rooms provide better cooling effects and can better preserve product quality, although their construction costs are higher than those of conventional cold rooms.

Mobile Cold Rooms

Mobile Cold Rooms

Mobile cold room is a portable refrigeration solution typically used for short-term or temporary cooling needs, such as outdoor events, fresh produce logistics, and product exhibitions. Here are some common types of mobile cold rooms:

Container Cold Rooms

Container cold rooms are converted from standard shipping containers, usually outfitted with insulation materials and refrigeration equipment inside. They offer flexible usage and are easy to move, although their storage capacity is somewhat limited due to the size constraints of the containers.

Trailer Cold Rooms

Trailer cold rooms are mobile refrigeration facilities installed on trailers, which can be towed to required locations by vehicles. This type of cold storage is practical for transporting perishable goods over distances while keeping them cool.

Mobile Refrigerated Truck

A mobile refrigerated truck is equipped with refrigeration units inside the cargo area, transforming the vehicle into a mobile cold room capable of preserving perishable items during transit. This solution is ideal for direct deliveries and catering to immediate cooling needs across various locations.

Conclusion

There are various types of cold rooms, each with its own unique features. When selecting a cold room solution, it is important to consider a range of factors including cost, construction time, and cooling efficiency based on specific needs.

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