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Food Consumption Trends & HVACR

The expression ‘food’ covers many items of consumption belonging to the ‘perishable’ category. At normal ambient temperatures, perishable food products like vegetable and fruits need to be transported speedily from the farm to the customer to be good enough for consumption. Such speedy transportation is possible when the producer and the consumer are located near to each other.

Today, rapid urbanisation of India with fast changing situation and needs of the Indian consumer have changed the dynamics of logistics substantially. Conventional practices of collection, transportation and retailing at ambient temperatures still persist, albeit with a severe strain on the supply chain to reach these products to the points of sale without spoilage. Distress selling by farmers, spoilage and wastage are common occurrences today. Challenge to maintain hygienic standards in the case of other food products like dairy, poultry, fish and meat with conventional practices are serious indeed.

Consumers today demand ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat items that require processing of food. Facilities that carry out this operation need hygienic temperature-controlled halls and cold storage for raw materials and finished goods.

It is now recognised that we need a cold chain – a complete logistics system consisting of refrigerated storage of various sizes and refrigerated transportation to face fast changing demand pattern.

Cold chain consists of temperature (and humidity) control at the points of collection with ‘pre-cooling chambers’. Pre-cooled product is transported in insulated trucks where distances to be covered are short. Refrigerated trucks are necessary for longer journeys. To reach the product to various points of retail sale in time, Distribution Centres are needed at strategic locations. These centres feature refrigerated Cold Stores for fruits and vegetable and frozen chambers for poultry, fish and meat. Other facilities like temperature-controlled processing halls, ripening chambers etc may also be featured.

Points of sale like large supermarkets feature refrigerated chambers and display cabinets.

HVACR industry is today at the centre of food logistics activity in the country with these changes in lifestyle of urban India. In the process, the industry is helping to prevent enormous quantities of food from spoilage and waste.

Apart from the cold chain, cold stores to store imported products like fresh and dry fruits and export commodities like turmeric, chillies, tamarind, raisins, fresh flowers are widespread for scientific storage to international standards.

Innovative insulation solutions for F&B sector

Refrigerated enclosures like cold stores and other components of the cold chain need very efficient envelopes to prevent ingress of heat through a scientific and efficient insulation system. Unwanted heat in-leak caused by poor insulation adds extra load on the refrigeration machinery causing extra power consumption. Maintaining the chambers at the desired temperature, even when there are interruptions in supply is a role played by good insulation.

Lloyd Insulations has specialised in the field of thermally efficient envelopes for the cold store industry, providing solutions for over five decades in this country. Its high-quality insulating materials and dedicated infrastructure of engineers and skilled installers country-wide are what have given its leadership in the market.

The company’s LLOYDPANEL system featuring pre-insulated sandwich panels with highest efficiency insulating core qualify to cater for all required internal temperatures going down to (-) 40-degree C. These structurally strong panels are self-supporting and need minimum structural support and have made it possible to construct cold stores ranging in size from very large chambers down to small walk-in facilities. Over 5 million square metres of panels are produced in three plants to cater to any project located across the country.

Lloyd’s design teams have interacted with users and specialist consultants to meet every operational requirement of a cold store facility forming part of a cold chain, food park or a distribution centre project. Special needs as called for including Controlled Atmosphere (CA) stores, stores with irradiation facility, projects with washing, cleaning and packing lines, ripening chambers, frozen cold stores with quick freezing units have all been met with specific and relevant offerings.

Lloyd Insulations has identified the need for farm level cold store to prevent spoilage at the source and also to help the grower to avoid distress selling when faced with delay in arrival of the buyer. Since power supplies are erratic in these rural centres, they were powered them with solar panel systems with sufficient storage capacity. The robust and rugged design with plug-in modules took care of reliability and easy maintainability. Lloyd SolerCool units were placed in service in farms for extended periods to get a measure of long-term reliability. These units are now fully operational in various parts of the country as well as in many overseas locations like Africa, South America etc.

N. Srinivas
Lloyd Insulations (India) Limited