Based in Congrella, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Chester Wholesale Meat was founded 25 years ago and has grown to provide packaged and processed meat and poultry products to markets worldwide.
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 and affecting the working environment of the plant.
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 meat 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 a considerable formation of frost on the coils, entrance, walls and floor of the freezer, as well as on the 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. For the client to be more efficient and successful, a moisture-free holding area and frost-free cold stores were needed.
Controlled climate – key to success
In order to alleviate the problem, Chester Wholesale Meat contacted Munters. The two companies had a four-year working partnership previously.
Munters initiated a third project phase. In each phase, Munters chose to apply its IceDryTM application using its 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.
Energy reduction equalled sustainable solution for bigger savings and better product
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. Ice also caused Hysters to slip, resulting in expensive repair to fridge panels, shelving and racking systems and damage to the Hysters themselves. The dangers of water or ice slippage and injury provided a significant occupational safety concern.
In addition, temperature fluctuations affected the longevity of the product. Frozen moisture in and on the product caused damage to product packaging, thus affecting product presentation.
What does Munters do?
Munters IceDryTM application using its desiccant drying technology absorbs moisture from the air on a molecular level, using high-performance Silica Gel in its patented Rotor Technology.
Because moisture is removed using the sorption process, the energy consumption is fractional. Typically the energy used for a Munters MX system to remove moisture is 11 times cheaper than for the ammonia plant to remove the same moisture at -25°C. With today’s energy cost and availability, it is a necessity to introduce the sustainable alternative.
Range of dehumidification products
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.
Owner of Chester Wholesale Meat Nicky Criticos was recently talking to a colleague in the industry that was experiencing similar problems with ice and he recommended that the colleague speak to Munters, which would solve the problem for him.
Your business is our business
Munters has been working with logistics and cold-storage businesses worldwide for many years. That’s why it has the right answers to your growing problems.
There are more than 1000 Munters IceDryTM applications installed globally applying this innovative solution, a winner of the European FoodTec Award to ensure an efficient, reliable, and easy-to-operate climate for your growing business.