Dehumidification in the food industry

We are pleased to share this informative article by Phil Laking, Projects Manager at Humidity Control Systems Ltd, dehumidification supplier to Penmann.

Air humidity is an essential quality factor for food production. From producing the ingredients, to the display in the shop. Controlling humidity ensures a high level of hygiene and presents a clean and fresh product to the consumer. A sorption dehumidifier can in many cases also increase the production capacity, especially during the warmer months of the year.

Moisture problems

Bacteria thrives in high humidity, therefore it is essential to keep a controlled humidity level in the production areas and dry out areas quickly after washing. Condensation and even frost can be stopped by sorption dehumidifying, keeping the raw food fresh and making it easier to put labels on the packaged food. Mould will also be prevented in a dehumidified area. A dehumidifier can also create a problem free pneumatic conveying without clogging in corners or cold spaces.

When a production room is dehumidified, the quality of the products are not affected by seasonal variations in the weather. Instead, the ideal temperature and humidity are maintained for production all year round. Which means that production and quality are increasing and that the maximum production level is achievable year-round.

Applications

Brewery

Condensation on cold surfaces and the formation of bacteria can be prevented by maintaining the dewpoints of production areas below cold surfaces such as tanks and exposed pipework.

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Fluidized bed

In many cases the capacity of fluidized beds can be increased with a sorption dehumidifier. A dehumidifier will also be able to control to a constant production output, regardless of outdoor weather and seasons.

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Packaging

To prevent finished and packed food products from soaking up moisture and losing quality, the relative humidity in the room can be controlled. This also eliminates the risk of cartons being destroyed by condensation and moisture.

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Ice cream

Frost on the ice cream and its packaging can be prevented by controlling the humidity from the freezer to the packaging area.

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Meat production

In meat processing, large amounts of water are used for cleaning, which can create undesirable moisture in premises that may result into condensation. Dehumidifying the room will improve hygiene and safety and prevent the formation of mould and bacteria.

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Cold Storage

A common problem in cold storage is that the doors open and close often. As warm moist air enters the freezer it condenses, resulting in fog and ice forming on surfaces and products.

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Pneumatic transport

In pneumatic transport, a lot of hygroscopic materials such as flour and sugar are transported with the help of air. However, if the transport air is too moist, the materials will stick to the pipe, causing product quality issues and machinery downtime.

Spray drying

Sorption dehumidifying creates warm and dry air which is perfect for spray driers. Production capacity can be significantly improved on many installations.

Raw materials

Hygroscopic materials should be stored in RH controlled spaces to prevent sticking and clumping. Silos containing sugar and flour can be kept dry by installing a dehumidifier on the filling line ensuring the head space is kept dry at all times.

Dairy

If it is too damp within dairy factories, labels that are placed on packages may fall off due to the fact the glue will not stick. Also, cheese stored in waxed envelopes can start to grow mould on the outside which can destroy the cheese inside.

Drying of food

Maintaining flavours of food products during drying and curing processes are often very temperature sensitive. Sorption dehumidifiers can enable you to dry products at low temperatures ensuring optimal drying times are achieved without loss of product quality.

Freezers

Frost inside spiral-freezers or other types of freezer can be minimized with a desiccant dehumidifier controlling the moisture contents at the inlet and outlet of the freezer. The frozen product will look much fresher and will not be damaged by melting frost when it is thawed again.

Can Penmann advise you on any challenges you may have in this area?