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Better chocolate storage with energy efficient dehumidification

At Mondelez chocolate factory north of Stockholm in Sweden, confectionery products are being produced, stored and distributed to European customers, with the automated store handling 160,000 pallets each year. In 1984, a Munters desiccant dehumidifier was installed at Mondelēz’s 50,000 m3 automated chill store to prevent condensation issues, avoid hygiene issues like mould and chocolate bloom, protect packaging against softening and keep the product quality high. Thanks to a long period of successful operation, Mondelēz approached Munters once again to find a replacement solution.

The climate in the store is controlled and verified daily, keeping conditions strictly at +5°C/55% relative humidity (RH). Under these conditions the products keep their original quality and freshness, with no product waste due to humidity.

The most common issue when handling chocolate is “chocolate bloom”, experienced by consumers as a whitish colouring of the product. This problem occurs either when sugar crystallizes on the surface because of high humidity after condensation or when the cold product is moved into warm surroundings and cocoa fat crystallizes in pure form on the surface.

Before distributing the goods from Mondelēz to customers, the products are moved to another store at 15°C/60% for one weeks conditioning before loading into trucks, thus preventing condensation occurring when cold products are placed into warmer trucks

Energy efficiency is key

Energy consumption is a key issue for Mondelēz, where great efforts are being made to reduce energy consumption. The target is to reduce all consumption by 35% over 3 years. The 24-year-old Munters dehumidifier still worked, but after years of wear and tear the drying wheel capacity was reduced and, in comparison to today’s dehumidifiers, the energy consumption was high.

Munters MCD dehumidifier replaced the old system, and provides energy efficiency which is considerably better than competitors. It was the obvious solution thanks to its low energy consumption and special rotor design for optimized energy utilization. For further energy savings, an external heat exchanger was offered as part of the solution from Munters.

Competitors’ best solutions showed a power consumption of 1,8 kWh per kilo of water removed, compared to the Munters MCD-units which use 1,43 kWh ( at 84kW effect) and occasionally use as low as 1,31 kWh during periods with lower humidity loads (60kW). The new Munters MCD 155 secures a controlled and constant climate in the store, with energy savings of minimum 32% compared to the old dehumidifier. The new system also has a nominal airflow at 15,300m3/h with a maximum regeneration effect of 102kW.

To optimize the energy efficiency, the regeneration effect has been reduced to 90kW which grants sufficient dehumidifying capacity under most circumstances – and in periods with extreme humidity loads, the remaining 12kW can be used as a buffer. Functioning at 84kW the dehumidification capacity is 44.2 kg/h at 5°C/55% RH. Thanks to the MCD’s incorporated modulated heater, the effect is automatically adjusted depending on actual needs.

“To our great satisfaction Munters took care of all the details, from the difficult cut-up and removal of the old unit to completing all ductwork and power installation,” says Jonny Hagenbjörk, responsible for construction and energy at the Mondelēz factory. “That made life a lot easier for us as we only had to communicate with one supplier. We now look forward to taking advantage of the benefits of the MCD, and we feel confident that our products will be perfectly preserved, helping us meet hygienic demands, such as the HACCP regulations.”

Storage of products in a chill store requires strict control of not only temperature but also relative humidity. This is essential for avoiding condensation, which effects the quality of products and potentially creates hygiene issues like mould. The consequences of condensation can lead to expensive scrapping of products and collapsed packaging. By reducing the relative humidity with a Munters dehumidification system, the relative humidity can be constant regardless of outdoor deviations.

The principle of Munters desiccant dehumidifiers is very simple. Moisture is absorbed onto a slowly revolving desiccant wheel as air passes through it. The air leaving the other side of the wheel is dry, and another airstream drives off the moisture which has been collected on the drying side of the dehumidifier and discharged elsewhere. Munters’ new generation of MCD desiccant dehumidifiers is an extremely energy efficient solution which offers optimum protection of stored products.

Lyhyesti

  • Prevent condensation and avoid mould growth
  • Stop chocolate bloom
  • Protect packaging and energy efficient storage
  • Ensure high quality and year-round protection

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