The Use of Aluminium in Cold Rooms

Your supermarket uses it to keep your milk from going sour. Your favourite restaurant uses it to keep your next steak dinner safe. All across the country, it keeps colas cold, ice cream frozen, and beers just the right temperature for everyone. It is a cold room - and it uses aluminium.

A cold room is a storage facility used by commercial establishments to keep their products cold. Basically, it's a walk-in refrigerator. Cold rooms usually operate between 0°C and 5°C. Freezers are a type of cold room, and they operate at lower temperatures between  -20°C and -18°C. While the basic function of cold rooms is the same as a household refrigerator - keep stuff cold - cold rooms are necessarily more complex because of their size and their service to a wider public instead of just a family. They use more energy and need more maintenance to uphold safety standards.

At the moment, many cold rooms and freezers already use aluminium in their constructions. The problem is that it is not being used to its full potential yet. Aluminium is primarily used superficially. It decorates doors as the coating and covering to provide a sleek professional sheen, and the handles of the doors are constructed from aluminium as a sturdy component that is visually consistent with the rest of the door. What manufacturers and consumers alike fail to realize is vast capabilities aluminium has for the rest of the cold room.

All metals have a yield strength, which is the maximum pressure for a metal to still maintain its fundamental working characteristics, and it changes depending on temperature. Yield strength increases as temperature decreases, and some metals become brittle at very low temperatures. Aluminium does not. Even at cryogenic temperatures, aluminium continues functioning as expected. Establishments must constantly maintain a very cold temperature in their cold rooms for the health of their businesses and customers, and aluminium will not fail to deliver consistent results because of its yield strength.

Aluminium is also a highly non-corrosive metal. It does not deteriorate, break down or corrode under exposure to acidic and alkaline solutions. It won't chemically alter the fluids running through it nor will the fluids compromise the metal. Commercial operations using a variety of refrigerants or exposing their cold rooms to different materials won't need to worry about unpredictable chemical changes to either their capital or inputs with aluminium tubing.

With an eye on cost, as most businesses have, aluminium is yet another ideal metal. As stated above, aluminium's stability provides resistance to capital depreciation so that businesses will not have to worry about replacing components of their cold room. Beyond that, aluminium is cheap and abundant, and the process of moulding it into a refrigerant tube is cheaper as well. Flaring and bending the aluminium tubing requires less power and finesse, and brazing the pipes requires less time and gas. Aluminium tubing saves on input costs and extends the life of an initial capital investment.

Aluminium's stability as a metal is ideal for markets and restaurants that depend on their cold rooms and freezers being consistently cold. They have a business to run; they can't be worried about having to replace tubing or whether it has affected their products. With aluminium, they have that assurance, and even better, it comes with its own cost reductions. While aluminium is undoubtedly an attractive metal on the outside of cold rooms, it is also highly functional for commercial operations and their consumers who want their steaks safe, sundaes creamy and beer ice cold.