The manufacturing cooling process often means products are too hot for packing and need to be cooled. A cooling tunnel or spiral cooler often cools products to room temperature with cool air.
During the cooling process the product may re-absorb moisture from the cooling air if the relative humidity exceeds the equilibrium for the desired product moisture content. Dehumidifying the air to maintain relative humidity at or lower than the equilibrium prevents re-absorption of moisture.
Re-absorption of moisture can soften products making them less desirable and reducing shelf life.
- Prevent moisture re-absorption
- Uniform quality
- Less throw away
- Improve product consistency
- Reduce mould growth
- Extend period between cleaning
Manufacturers can experience product problems with cooling tunnels and spiral coolers, as the temperature inside the cooling tunnel/ spiral cooler is often lower than 10°C, which can lead to condensation dropping on the cooling product and cold surfaces.
Not only does this result in damaged product, but it causes delays as the product is removed or re-worked. It also presents a HACCP risk as high moisture levels are ideal for mould and bacterial growth. Such risks lead to frequent and expensive tunnel/cooler cleaning.
The cooling tunnel can become a production bottleneck as the humidity rises, the tunnel becomes clogged and separating damaged product from undamaged is costly.
Munters desiccant dehumidification systems operate below 10°C, preventing condensation occurring by removing moisture from the air and creating a dew point below 4°C. At this level, even the cooling coils, the tunnels/coolers coldest surface, are immune to condensation. The lower dewpoint means any product or tunnel surface needs to be below 4°C for condensation to form, as this does not occur, quality and hygiene of the product remains unaffected by the moisture in the surrounding air
With correct tunnel conditions there is no risk of moisture corruption, or reject product and improved product consistency. Planning production schedules is easier as tunnel/coolers can operate at the same temperature year-round. Increasing production is also easier as you can lower the tunnel temperature without the risk of condensation.
Lowering cooling tunnel relative humidity significantly reduces the chances of biological and mould growth. The improvement in hygiene means a dramatic reduction in downtime, with the time between cleaning periods extended, and the time taken to dry tunnels/coolers after cleaning shortened.