Go into any food processing or distribution plant and the first thing you notice will probably be the drop in temperature as you enter. Food keeps freshest and retains its nutritional qualities best in cooler environments, while lower temperatures also help to reduce bacterial activity and therefore maintain hygiene standards.
Not surprisingly there are strict regulations in most countries surrounding temperature and hygiene control in food handling areas. Typically, thermometers are located at strategic places around food sites, notably near doors and access points, which are read and logged automatically. In many cases these will alert managers if temperatures go out of tolerance for extended periods of time.
Food companies therefore need to keep their production areas – possibly even the entire building – cooled, which can lead to significant refrigeration and air conditioning costs. Obviously, insulating the walls and ceilings will help maintain the desired temperature, while high speed automatic doors will minimise the thermal fluctuations as people, trolleys and vehicles enter and exit the temperature-controlled spaces.
Food processing and distribution companies that need to keep large spaces cool and hygienic, often also face the dilemma of requiring access for large vehicles. These entryways can be fitted with doors to help maintain the internal temperature while the design of the doors can be optimised to meet the particular needs of their duty.
sara LBS offers several industrial door and loading bay solutions which offer high levels of insulation. These tend to be fitted with high speed automatic drives so that the amount of time they are open is minimised. Further, they can also be designed for good hygiene regimes through the use of stainless steel and other materials able to withstand regular washdowns and steam cleaning and by designing out dirt traps.
Amongst food companies, sara LBS’s Sprint range of high speed curtain doors is a popular choice, possibly because they offer the fastest operating speeds on the market. As a whole the Sprint range is suitable for most indoor and some outdoor industrial applications, while specialist versions are available for food industry applications and even for certified cleanrooms.
The sara LBS Sprint range offers market leading opening speeds (up to 2.2 m/s) and closing speeds (1.0m/s), yet through controlled acceleration and deceleration profiles minimises wear and tear over time. Other optional features much appreciated in the food industry include battery backup, a curtain tensioning system, a door line photocell, dual opening heights, electrical safety contact edge, fall down protection, and a combined cable guide and hygiene cover. Sprint doors can be set up to integrate with a traffic light control system, particularly useful in installations where large vehicles are present.
In addition to the Sprint range, sara LBS offers specialised sliding doors for refrigeration and freezer applications. Typically, this would be lined with 100mm to 150mm of insulation to reduce heat transfer as much as possible. Such doors are generally powered and automated so that operatives cannot leave them open for unnecessary periods. The use of timers, presence detectors and temperature sensors ensure optimum operation and safety and enable full data logging of operations for traceability records.
Doors can play a very effective role in maintaining hygiene levels in food facilities, whilst also helping to control energy usage for cooling. sara LBS engineers have a wealth of experience specifying and installing doors in many different environments so can help identify the best door for any given situation.