Danisco USA Inc.
Over 6,000 square feet
New and renovation
When Danisco, a food ingredients, enzyme and bio-based solutions company based in Copenhagen, Denmark wanted to build the coldest walk-in freezer in the United States and the largest in the world, they turned to the Design Build team at Tri-North Builders. Tri-North Builders, working with the engineering firm Strand, Inc. and representatives from Danisco, spent almost ten months designing a 7,000 sq. ft. walk-in freezer designed to operate at -76°F and a corresponding 11,000 sq. ft. building addition to house this ultra cold box. The Design Build team faced many challenges throughout this project. Some of the more interesting challenges that the multi-national team dealt with were:
Working with Strand and Dualtemps to ensure that the freezer could reliably operate at -76°F. This was a mission critical component for the team as once this freezer was put in service, Danisco could not afford to have it stop working as there would be no alternative to storing the products in the freezer. The team worked hard to make sure the design, functionality and reliability met this continuous operation requirement. In addition to the actual freezer design, the team had to design redundant monitoring systems to make sure that all systems remained operational.
The next challenge was the ultra cold box or enclosure itself. Since the team was focused on operational longevity, the warranty and functionality of the freezer panels were critical. After meeting with every US panel manufacturer, it was determined that none could meet the requirements. The team then turned to a European manufacturer who had built a similar but smaller facility for Danisco in Europe. This manufacturer could meet the requirements but their panels were not approved for use in the United States. The team had to facilitate having these panels for approved for use here, including shipping sample panels to Texas for testing.
Another challenge was that Wisconsin requires this type of structure have fire sprinklers and normal fire alarms throughout the building. The team soon realized that there were not fire sprinkler heads or fire alarms designed to function at the temperatures found in this freezer, and thus had to design and install a SAFE system to trigger a fire alarm by detecting the change in air density that would occur should there be a fire in the ultra cold box area.
Once construction was completed and all systems tested and retested through a thorough and documented commissioning process, the Tri-North team initiated the start-up procedure. Due to the requirements of taking the temperature down in stages to allow all of the components time to adjust and the team to verify compliance with the operational norms, this process took eight weeks to bring the ultra cold box down to its operational temperature of -76°F.