Let’s Buy British

With the out break of Covid 19 the country has battened down the hatches and made our best effort to limit the effect of the Virus on the population.  As we loosen the restrictions, hopefully we will manage to keep the situation under control until a vaccine can be successfully produced.

However, as has been widely reported, the UK economy will likely take the biggest hit it has ever experienced, leading us into recession and tough times ahead.

Staycations are being promoted to get the UK holiday sector back up and running and I am sure we will all support our local shops, pubs, and gyms when they can re-open to give them a boost.

The same can be done in business.  Supporting UK companies who sell UK produced goods should be considered, and changes made to support our home market and jobs.

To learn more about humidity control

British Made Steam Humidifiers

I may be accused of self-interest here and rightly so.  I started Humidity Solutions 11 years ago and whilst not all our suppliers are UK-based, we do represent Vapac who are the only UK steam humidifier manufacturer.  Made in Brierley Hill in the West Midlands, the company is British owned with a strong UK history, the founding company Eaton Williams being based just down the road from us in Edenbridge, Kent.  Most of the components are still locally sourced in the UK; circuit boards, steam cylinders, cabinets and valves are all UK manufactured, providing jobs and income for the UK economy.

Competitors to the steam humidifier from Switzerland, Italy and America are sold in the UK, but offer little or no technical or price advantage.  By comparison they have a large carbon footprint with the additional transportation and commonly have the disadvantage of longer lead times for delivery and poor technical back up.

This argument cannot only be made for humidifiers: in the HVAC sector the same could be said of Air handling units, close control air conditioning systems, controls, and sensors.

So, whether it be using your local butcher, having a holiday in the UK, or buying a steam humidifier – let’s pull together and consider buying British.

Humidity Control – A Day In The Life

When I meet new people, they often ask about what I do for a living. It’s just polite after all. And because I work in quite a niche industry, it’s often difficult to explain what an average day looks like for me. The truth is that since we service so many industries and sectors, a day in the life of a specialist in humidity control is never dull. And to prove it, I took some notes on what I did during an average day a few weeks ago, just to share with you today. After 31 years I still find it fascinating, and who knows, by the end of this you might too.

 

On this particular day I had been invited to survey three very different businesses, with different applications for humidity control and very different reasons.

 

The day started with a trip to an artisan producer called Salt Pig Curing. Ben Dulley (the owner) processes meat products to increase their value, and then created salami and other cured meats at relatively low volumes to sell on to local farm shops and restaurants. Tasty!

 

Charcuterie production typically requires both dehumidification and humidification at different stages. Dehumidification is needed at first when new, ‘wet’ produce is introduced into the storage area. As it dehydrates and moves through the curing process, humidification needs to be implemented to prevent the outer surfaces of the meat from drying out too quickly. Luckily, both of these processes can be controlled from a single controller, allowing the facility to achieve the ideal relative humidity for them – 85%.

 

Next up was a company called Lightning Source – a high-volume book producer and digital printer. They print over 5 million books a year on an on-demand basis, and run out of a factory the size of a football pitch, with state-of-the-art machinery and printers. It’s a fascinating place to visit! And it turns out that if you order a book from Amazon and it says it’s in stock – the chances are it probably isn’t. Instead as soon as you hit that buy button, a message is sent to printers like this, who will produce the book within a few hours and send it out to you the next day.

 

In this environment humidity control is essential to create the right conditions needed to achieve the volume needed without any excess waste. This means a stable 50% rh to prevent the paper from drying out or curling, and to prevent static from forming in the machines, keeping them moving quickly and keeping the end product stable and high-quality.

 

The final meeting of the day was with Monmouth Scientific, a contractor specialising in cleanrooms. In this instance we were called in to offer advice on creating an environment in a University lab that requires close control at 50%rh +/- 2%rh. In this room medical experiments would be run on a daily basis, so the humidity needed to be carefully monitored and controlled so that the experiments weren’t compromised. Repeatability and stability are key in this installation, so it needs to be planned and tested carefully. Humidity was to be introduced into the room through an air movement system, where the temperature and filtration is tightly controlled.

 

To summarise, I visited a local food producer, a state-of-the-art mass production printer and finally a high-tech cleanroom contractor. In itself this is a wide range of applications, but during that same fortnight I visited a hot yoga studio, the Tate gallery, a manufacturer providing glue curing for Jaguar Land Rover sunroofs and a data centre – so all in all it was an average day.

 

All these applications require humidity control, with humidifiers and dehumidifiers being the solution but requiring specialist application knowledge, experience and understanding to provide the conditions required.

 

And there you have it! That’s an average day for me. What do you think?

2019 In Review

Well. We’re nearly at the end of another year, and what a year 2019 has been.

 

For us at Humidity Solutions, it’s been a year of growth, change and exciting new challenges. The main feature of our year is that we have been able to report double digit growth for the 11th year in a row – something everyone in the office is very, very proud of. We’ve also grown our team, with a number of new staff members bringing some needed youth and life into the company – complete with the energy and ideas needed to fuel all that amazing growth.

 

We have become exclusive UK distributors for two new manufacturers. In April, we signed an agreement with Vapac, who manufacture electrode steam boiler humidifiers in the West Midlands – great to have a strong British brand as part of our range.  More recently, we now supply a superb range of desiccant dehumidifiers from Cotes, a Danish company with an excellent reputation for quality and reliability across a wide variety of applications.  Added to our existing brands, we are confident in the knowledge that we can source exactly the right equipment for any of the unique applications we come across.

 

We were delighted and honoured to be asked to contribute to the 2019 Parliamentary Review, to share our expertise and knowledge of the benefits of humidity control in industrial and commercial processes as well as general health and wellbeing. It is essential that politicians have a firm understanding of the challenges with which British organisations must contend, and The Review once again provides a perfect platform for this.

 

Of course, it’s about more than just us. Nationally, two stories have dominated the deadlines. Brexit, that seemingly never-ending saga has been keeping everyone on edge, keeping uncertainty looming over the country for yet another year. We’re quite lucky in that it’s not affected us directly too much, other than a few more customers being wary of investing, uncertain of the future of the country.  Whatever your view of the outcome of the recent election, I hope that we will now at least have a period of more certainty and the government can get on and honour some of their pledges.  The markets’ initial response appears to be favourable.

 

The area that interests us more as a business is the second story – something that’s been floating around the headlines at various points during the year, and that we can actually help with – Indoor Air Quality. Humidity control is a key part of the solution in creating a pleasant and healthy environment for employees, reducing employee absenteeism through things like colds, flu, eczema and sore eyes, and generally improving performance. Of course there are far more severe repercussions of poor air quality, its effect on internal organs and the spread of airborne bacteria and viruses.  We need to work together to set clear standards, both indoor and outdoor, to improve this.

 

We’re noticing that this message is getting spread more and more through two international pharmaceutical companies, who are actively carrying out studies into office environments and measuring the productivity differences between those with and without humidity control. We’ve actually been involved in these studies ourselves, and it’s been a fantastic and really interesting experience. Of course, the commercial side of things is the driver, but it’s wonderful when it also means a healthier environment for people to work in. After all, many of us don’t generally have a choice but to be in an office for the majority of our waking hours in what can be a highly polluted atmosphere – up to 5 times more polluted than the outside air!!

 

And so Humidity Solutions enters 2020 with exciting new opportunities ahead of us as we continue our growth in the humidifier and dehumidifier sectors, along with the rapidly growing after sales servicing and planned maintenance services, which have continued to get high praise year round.

 

May I take this opportunity to wish you all every best wish for Christmas and the New Year – what does 2020 hold for you?

Demystifying The Dehumidifier

When it comes to choosing a dehumidifier, for either your home or your work, you will not be short of options! The market is full of different makes and models of dehumidifier, each designed to do something slightly different, or to work in a specific environment. This range means you are more likely to find exactly what you need, when you need it. But with so many options available for both industrial and domestic dehumidification, how on earth do you choose between them all? In today’s article we wanted to explain what some of the most common types of dehumidifier are.

 

Refrigerant Dehumidifiers

 

A refrigerant dehumidifier works by passing air over a cooling coil repeatedly, dropping the overall temperature to below its natural dew point. This means that they condense the moisture out of the air, which can then be pushed over warm coils and then out into the room at pressure, at the correct humidity.

 

Meanwhile the condensation from the air is collected in the cold coils and dripped into a large pan, which can then be emptied. In some models of refrigerant dehumidifier the water will be emptied directly through a hose mechanism instead of being emptied manually.

 

Building Dryers

 

Building dryers are any model of dehumidifier specifically designed (or well suited to) use at a building site. The term ‘building dryer’ tends to apply to any dehumidifier providing two key functions: portability and robustness, both of which make them perfect for tough building site environments. They are commonly used to dry concrete and water damage leaks on construction sites. They are also popular in the restoration industry, particularly with flood damage, as they can extract between 40 and 70 litres of water every 24 hours.

 

Standard Refrigerant Dehumidifiers

 

Standard refrigerant dehumidifiers will come in a range of brands, but each offers a more permanent solution than building dryers. These can usually be found in fixed wall mount versions, fixed bracket ceiling mounter versions, and even through-the-wall solutions. This means there are a wider variety of end-user applications for them, from warehouse storage to manufacturing and even swimming pool plant rooms. These are most attractive for commercial applications because moisture extraction rates of 25 to 3000 litres a day, with extraction via ductwork and pumping. They also come fitted with sound-proofed compressors (making them low-noise), easy access panels and coated internal components to withstand even the most aggressive environments. However, a standard refrigerant dehumidifier won’t operate at temperatures below 1 degree, so they aren’t suitable for cold environments.

 

Desiccant Dehumidifiers

 

Desiccant dehumidifiers work in a slightly different way. They use a silica gel desiccant rotor to remove moisture from the air, and are ideally suited to cold, unheated environments – like storage rooms or cold rooms. They are also perfect for achieving a very low humidity, which is why they are also used in the pharmaceutical sector. Because desiccant dehumidifiers will operate at a much lower temperature than their refrigerant cousins, they will continue to extract moisture from the air even in a very cold or sub-zero environment (although the air doesn’t hold much moisture under these conditions.

 

There is a very large range of desiccant dehumidifiers for you to choose from, from small, portable units to large capacity, semi-permanent units that have to be placed by crane. With 2 separate fans handling the regenerates and reactivated air, 40ml rockwool insulation (for quiet operation), and multiple hose outlets, these units can be used in all scenarios.

 

At Humidity Solutions, we provide a full range of dehumidification solutions, including all of those listed above. In fact, we are the only independent specialist in humidity control, and have access to the whole of the market of humidifiers from the world’s leading manufacturers. If you would like to find out more, just get in touch with us today.