I've been known to eat my way through more than one bag of popcorn at the movies -- trans fat be darned. So Jim Goodman's article, “A Great Bowl of Popcorn,” was of special interest to me. Now I know why some popcorn is better than others. The companies that make my two favorite brands must be practicing what Burnsville, Minn.'s Temp-Air preaches.

According Goodman, senior project manager, demanding consumers like me keep popcorn processors on their toes as they strive for just the right amount of moisture in the corn. He presents a case history on how a company used their equipment to wind up with less fractured grain, little or no spoilage and an increased popping ratio.

Another case history in this issue shows just how complicated it is for food processors to develop a mass-produced product with good flavor and long shelf-life. “A Combined Cooling Solution” by Tim Gilligan, sales engineer, at Bry-Air Inc., in Sunbury, Ohio, tells the story of the Nestle Research and Development Center in Marysville, also in Ohio.

The R&D center was exploring a process in which cold air had to chill stainless steel components but remain frost-free. Bry-Air installed a desiccant dehumidifier with a chilled-water precooling coil. The combination provided process air at a -45oF (-43oC) dewpoint and eliminated the possibility of condensation and frost forming on the cooling coil or equipment.

Anyone in this business knows that temperature control is critical to most cooling processes. The refrigeration load on a vapor compression system can be highly variable; therefore, Todd B. Jekel, Ph.D., P.E., at the Industrial Refrigeration Consortium at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis., explores how to adjust evaporation capacity to maintain temperature in refrigerated spaces. Turn to “Saving Energy with VFDs” to learn how variable-frequency drives on fan motors do the job.

And there's still more. Maurice J. Marongiu, Ph.D., MJM Engineering Co. in Naperville, Ill., presents “Cooling Outdoor Enclosures.” He addresses how companies can protect the plethora of equipment -- such as Internet, cable, satellite, cellular, utilities and surveillance systems -- housed in areas open to the elements. Most systems do not have environmentally hardened designs, so their enclosures must be of a type that allows them to survive in variable weather conditions.

If the enclosure you have is a walk-in cooler or freezer, then turn to “High-Performance Insulation” for an energy-use analysis from U.S. Cooler, Quincy, Ill. For a buyer, a walk-in's initial cost usually is the deciding factor, and the operating cost too often takes a back seat. However, not all walk-ins perform the same, and you may pay dearly over time if the insulation is inefficient.

In the fifth installment in our ongoing series of water treatment, Timothy Keister of ProChemtech International Inc., Brockway, Pa., uses “Managing Cooling Water: Preventing Biological Fouling” to focus on uncontrolled microbiological growth within a cooling water system. Such a situation can result in biofilm on all surfaces that contact the water. Keister presents methods for preventing the problem in production equipment and cooling towers.

Anne Armel
Group Publisher