THERMAL INSULATION IN FOOD PROCESSING PLANTS
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THE IMPORTANCE OF THERMAL INSULATION IN FOOD PROCESSING PLANTS
Food processing plants leverage numerous thermal processing techniques that operate above and below ambient temperatures. Frying, roasting, and pasteurization are commonplace on production lines, generating temperatures as high as 657°C on non-food contacting surfaces. At the other end of spectrum is the likes of refrigeration, blast chilling, and freezing where temperatures routinely drop as low as -18°C.
These operating temperatures are crucial to key operations in the food manufacturing process. Without the ability to rapidly chill fresh produce, manufacturers would be unable to inhibit bacteria growth which could lead to spoiling in storage conditions or transit, ultimately leading to profit loss. Likewise, poor thermal efficiency in roasting processes can directly contribute to costly energy losses.
Thermal insulation subsequently plays a crucial role in food processing plants, protecting profitability while enabling the key processes that allow global consumers to enjoy fresh goods from all over the world.
Where Thermal Insulation Fits into Key Food Processes
Food processing techniques vary dramatically, but some common examples that rely on efficient thermal management include baking, emulsification, fermentation, pasteurization, and roasting. Already this encompasses an extremely varied range of process equipment from industrial ovens to pressure vessels. Fortunately, the integration of thermal insulation is a relatively simple matter. It is one of the easiest solutions to deploy for preventing heat loss from hot surfaces and gain in refrigeration systems.
Case Study: Thermal Insulation Curtains
An effective thermal insulation solution in food processing plants is the use of lightweight, thermally insulated curtains which are used to partition specific workstations. They are also used in storage applications to preserve ideal ambient temperatures for packaged food goods. Thermal insulation curtains may be used to screen entryways and docking bays in cold storage, for instance. This prevents temperature fluctuations as employees move in and out of the refrigerated environment.
Thermal Insulation: The Benefits Beyond Temperature
This is merely one example of how thermal insulation may be deployed in food processing plants, but there is really no limit to how high-performance insulation may be leveraged in processing environments. High-performance fabrics can be jacketed around pipework. Oven doors can be sealed with precision gaskets.
Each of these applications will call for a specific thermal insulation solution that not only meets specific thermal requirements but also stringent hygiene specifications while satisfying individual use parameters. Fabric jackets for refrigerated pipework must be highly moisture resistant to handle the likely occurrence of condensation and frequent wash downs from regular cleaning. Oven door seals must contend with regular abrasion from contacting metal surfaces while mitigating the egress of emissions from the hearth.
So, although the importance of thermal insulation in food processing largely centers around food quality and profitability, there are countless reasons why insulation materials provide rich returns in the food processing industry.
If you are looking for insulation solutions for specific thermal processes, why not contact a member of the Mid-Mountain Materials team today?
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Mid-Mountain Materials, Inc is an insulation manufacturer providing heat resistant fabrics and thermal insulation that provide environmental protection, emissions control, and energy conservation.
We use a wide range of different materials for our heat-resistant fabrics to ensure we can provide a cost-effective solution for many different applications, including aerospace, robotics, and welding.
Our products can provide thermal insulation at temperatures of up to 5000oF, and can also provide protection against chemicals, molten splash, and abrasion.