Concrete Curing in Freezers

Curing concrete in a deep freezer is a unique experience. Walk-in freezers are crucial to any organization that handles temperature sensitive material. The ability to store mass amounts of cold product in a controlled environment allows for meat, ice cream, cadavers, liquid oxygen and more to be used nearly anywhere in the world, so long as there is a freezer to put it in.

Most often, these freezers have a concrete flooring that is specially cured to handle the frozen environment around it, while keeping the heat from nearby room temperatures out. On top of all this, concrete flooring also needs to be able to withstand everything from footsteps to forklifts in ways that mitigate as much repair as possible.

Image taken from www.garonproducts.com

When preparing and pouring cement for freezer floors, there are several steps that one should consider, especially since this isn’t your usual concrete constructing picnic:

  • Maintain the mix: Be sure that your mix of concrete doesn’t contain too much water. Not only is it likely to cause cracking due to shrinkage, but it can also lead to water freezing within the concrete if it’s not cured enough by the time the freezer begins operating.
  • Seal the deal: The United States Dairy Association has a zero-tolerance policy regarding leaks in the freezer space. Frozen food should be stored at 0°F (-18°), as “freezing to 0° F inactivates any microbes — bacteria, yeasts and molds — present in food.” Any leakage would lead to moisture invading the freezer, potentially allowing mold and other harmful bacteria to grow. Any concrete installed as part of a walk-in freezer must be properly set and sealed to prevent leaks from happening.

Restoring Concrete Freezer Floors

With that in mind, you might be wondering how to repair concrete floors in freezers. Damage to the concrete floor like cracking or chipping can happen via forklift accident, replacing glycol heating systems, or subsoil moisture freezing.

Cracking occurs naturally in concrete, and there’s virtually no way to prevent it from ever happening. The best tools for repairing concrete freezer floors are low-temperature grade epoxy seals and additional concrete.

Equally important of what to use is what not to use. Repair product manufacturers like Polycote advocate against hard repair mortar when fixing floor joints. Doing so will create an inflexible bond that will not allow for any concrete movement, increasing the chances of additional concrete cracking.

Things to Keep an Eye Out For

Our friends at Concrete Mender offer several challenges that pose a problem when repairing concrete, which include frost, working conditions, and curing:

  • Frost: Frozen moisture in the concrete will act as a barrier between the repair material and the pores of the concrete. Most repair materials will try to bond to the frost coated concrete. When the temperature increases, the frost melts and so does the bond.
  • Working conditions: Working with materials in the cold is challenging to both man and materials. Mixing epoxies or mortars in the cold is especially challenging. As the temperature decreases, the viscosity and flow rate of these materials increase making them harder to mix and much more difficult to work with. Drum heaters are an excellent solution to keeping epoxy and mortar warm while waiting to use on a freezer job.
  • Curing: With most materials, cure times in cold environments are extended significantly. A product that normally cures in an hour at room temperature may take as much as 12 hours in a cold environment. Some materials may not cure at all before actually freezing solid. Use a concrete curing blanket to help the concrete cure for maximum strength.

If You’re Gonna Do a Job, You’d Better Do It Right

Fixing a freezer is a job you only want to do once. Making crack repairs can be tedious and have to be done exactly to specifications in meeting safety requirements. After all, keeping that freezer sealed tight with a good concrete job will keep the cadavers cold and food frozen.

The best tools to help with a quick, clean concrete repair job are drum heaters and curing blankets. For more information on these items, check out Powerblanket’s concrete solutions.

The Perfect Candle Wax Heater

In the wax industry, heating applications aren’t used merely for freeze protection. In fact, more often than not, the most valuable aspect of a good candle wax heater is the ability it has to enable proper viscosity maintenance.

 

Wax candles

Viscosity and Its Challenges

When it comes to storing large amounts of wax in barrels or drums, vats or large baths, there is one matter that is of considerable importance and warrants plenty of time and attention. The matter we’re talking about is viscosity maintenance. Heating wax during manufacturing processes is essential for molding and purification. Though there are different stages of wax heating, it is important that the wax remain at certain levels of viscosity for reasons of workability.

Imagine the ease of use that could be created from a solution that would keep your candle wax at the proper viscosity both in storage and during manufacturing. Of all the wax heaters on the market, there are few, if any others at all, that can do what the Powerblanket® solution can do.

Powerblanket custom heating solutions enable equal and efficient heat distribution throughout the entirety of the application. In addition to this, Powerblanket heating blankets are equipped with thermostatic controls that allow you to set the proper temperature and walk away. There’s no need to babysit the heating process. With easy installation and simplified use, our heating solutions make viscosity maintenance a snap.

 

Powerblanket drum heater

Standout Features of Powerblanket Drum Heaters

  • Works with both steel and poly containers
  • Full wrap-around design provides complete insulation and ensures equal heat distribution
  • Delivers safe, uniform heat to expensive materials without overheating or burning
  • Design decreases and prevents product waste among temp-sensitive materials by maintaining consistent storage temperatures without significant fluctuations
  • Highly energy-efficient GreenHeat Technology™ and design lowers energy-related expenses and overall project and equipment costs

 

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A Drum Blanket Done Right

Of all the heating devices out there for the protection of drums and barrels, there’s one drum blanket that’s done right. With even heat distribution and temperature regulation, Powerblanket has a solution fit for any occasion.

 

A Drum Blanket Done Right

The Powerblanket Difference

Storing materials in drums is a simple idea. They hold a lot and offer a durable storage structure for liquids, chemicals, food product, and so much more. However, when it comes time for temperature regulation, they don’t provide any capabilities on their own. For this reason, some manufacturers have created elaborate insulation blankets to ward off the effect of cold temperatures. As much as these insulation blankets may seem to be a good idea, or as much as they might be able to help with a mild difference in temperature, they can’t adequately protect against extreme winter cold.

In addition to inadequately protecting your materials against savage cold, traditional insulation blankets also lack the ability to bring material to working temperature. Take, for example, the need for bringing certain types of product to temperatures above the ambient air around it. A typical insulation blanket has no way to accommodate this.

However, Powerblanket has created a drum blanket that can work in a myriad of applications. It can protect your most temperature-sensitive products against the coldest cold. What’s more, the Powerblanket drum heater also has the ability to bring your product up to working temperatures. With a thermostatic controller and innovative heat-spreading technology, you can wrap your drum and forget about it.

The ability to automate your freeze protection is a huge benefit once the cold weather rolls around, and the capability of bringing liquids and other products to higher temperatures for viscosity maintenance, chemical-property enablement, or characteristic integrity is of equal importance. So whether you need a drum blanket for insulation, temperature regulation, or a combination of the two, Powerblanket is the clear answer.

Winter Preparation: Now’s the Time

As the temperatures around the nation rise into the hundreds, cold-weather preparation may be the furthest thing from your mind. What’s more, there are plenty of warm-weather applications that Powerblanket technology is used for. But we would be completely remiss if we didn’t say enough of proper winter preparation. After all, when it comes to preparing for winter, you don’t want to be a grasshopper…

Aesop’s Fable: The Ant and the Grasshopper

Perhaps you’re already familiar with the old fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper from Aesop. If you’re not (and even if you are) we’ve recited it here. Below follows the most popular English renditions of the story:

“In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

‘Why not come and chat with me,’ said the Grasshopper, ‘instead of toiling and moiling in that way?’

‘I am helping to lay up food for the winter,’ said the Ant, ‘and recommend you to do the same.’

‘Why bother about winter?’ said the Grasshopper; we have got plenty of food at present.’ But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.

When the winter came, the Grasshopper found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing, every day, corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew it is best to prepare for the days of necessity.”

Of course, the implications of this story can go far deeper than the need for good winter preparation. But for the sake of comparison, the story’s plot is rather poignant for the industries we serve. When cold weather does hit, it’s best to already have the systems and products you need in place to brave the effects of winter. So if you have assets to cover come late October, now’s the best time to start getting together the protection you’ll need.

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