Chester Wholesale Meat, based in Congella, Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, was founded some 25 years ago, and has grown to provide packaged and processed meat and poultry products to markets across the nation. Chester is a significant importer of meats with wholesale outlets and a retail chain of 15 butcheries. It has also recently expanded into commercial cold-storage. While Durban’s moist and warm climate is an attraction for tourists, it provided a challenge for Chester Wholesale Meat, raising production costs as well as affecting the working environment of the plant.
In order to alleviate the problem, Chester Wholesale Meat contacted Munters, with whom they had a four-year working partnership, in order to initiate a third project phase.
In each phase, Munters chose to apply their IceDryTM application using their highly efficient Munters MX2700 Desiccant dehumidifiers. In total, four dehumidifiers were utilised – one each in Phase One and Two. For Phase Three, Munters again recommended the installation of MX2700 Desiccant dehumidifiers - one to be used in the Holding Area and one in the Cold Store.
Payback was immediate. By means of the dehumidification process, Munters award winning IceDryTM application enabled Chester Wholesale Meat to reduce the refrigeration plant load eleven times more effectively by using the MX2700 units, rather than allowing the plant itself to dehumidify the air. This resulted in significant savings and an environmentally-friendly reduction in power usage.
How did Munters save the client money?
Because of the insulation barrier formed by the build-up of ice in the past, refrigeration had had to run longer in order to obtain heat transfer through the ice. Defrosting was necessary on a more regular basis – which utilised more expensive energy.
The MX2700 (2700m3 of air per hour) unit used at Chester Wholesale Meat removes as much as 25kg of water per hour in this cold environment, with an extremely small energy footprint. The MX2700 is the smallest of the MX range of units, ranging from 2700 to 9000m3 per hour. The MX are the largest stand-alone dehumidifiers in the Munters range, while the MDU, Modular Dehumidification Units, process as much as 80000 m3 per hour.
What the client says...
Operations Manager Steven Shrewsbury says that while he had had great expectations before the Munters system was installed, the impact of the system has actually exceeded his expectations.
He says the cleanliness of the plant now, with the absence of water and ice, is great for hygiene and provides a good working environment. Corrosion and maintenance costs have come down, which has had a positive effect on the attitude to housekeeping. The maintenance costs on Hysters in the plant are reduced, while the shelf life of product and packaging in the freezers has increased.
Nicky Criticos, the owner of the Chester Wholesale Meat, was recently talking to a colleague in the industry, who was experiencing similar problems with ice and he recommended that the colleague speak to Munters, who would solve the problem for him.
The problem was caused by moist tropical air moving inwards from the truck loading area and condensing in the holding dispatch section, which is kept at 10˚C. In addition to blinding mist, large amounts of condensation on the timesmeat product, walls and floor caused a slippery build-up of water and provided a potential hazard for the workforce. This became so problematic that the area earned the nickname ‘the fish tank’.
Beyond the holding area, moist air made its way to the cold store, which, at -25 ˚C, caused it to cool and flow downwards to the store floor. The result was considerable formation of frost on the freezer coils as well as the freezer entrance, walls, floors and on product. Not only was this energy-inefficient, requiring multiple defrost cycles per day and high refrigeration plant load, but the formation of frost was destructive to product packaging and to the Chester product itself.
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