Development of industrial dehumidifiers

December 04, 2019

Dehumidifiers are a highly important tool for any modern commercial building to have, thanks to their numerous advantages. Heavy-duty dehumidifiers, in particular, are tools that any commercial operation should consider investing in, thanks to their ability to make any room more comfortable for workers.


Where are Modern Industrial Dehumidifiers Used?

Modern dehumidifiers can be found in almost any industry, especially during the hotter and more humid summer months. They are particularly loved due to the fact that they can increase the comfort of workers in an environment, thereby increasing the professionalism and morale of these workers—leading to enhanced profitability of each worker in an environment. It is for this reason that heavy-duty dehumidifiers and industrial dehumidifiers are used widely nowadays in the following areas of the industry:

  • Warehouses and other such storage facilities
    • Industrial dehumidifier for warehouse usage is effective for both increasing worker comfort and keeping the airspace dry and free from moisture for effective product storage. Excessive levels of moisture in the air are easily able to damage products, which is why people commonly choose to get their own industrial dehumidifier for warehouse usage as a means of keeping the air dry.
  • Restaurants, bars, and dining industries
    • Modern industrial dehumidifiers allow workers to stay cool in busy and stressful environments. This is especially the case in the modern kitchen, which can rapidly get incredibly humid; by drawing out the moisture from the air, restaurant workers will thusly be able to work in a far more comfortable and less oppressive environment. This can thusly lead to fewer mistakes being made by the staff members. Modern industrial dehumidifiers can also help to keep food products fresh and palatable for the consumers and customers of these businesses, as moisture can rapidly cause food to spoil and go bad.
  • Office buildings
    • Offices are often hot and busy, and generally, feature large amounts of technology as well. All of these features of office buildings can mean that the airspace inside an office building can rapidly get uncomfortably damp and humid, thereby leading to reduced worker efficacy. Implementation of industrial dehumidifiers in these environments helps to keep the air dry and comfortable for workers, increasing morale and productivity and resulting in superior profitability from each worker.
  • Workshops and working environments
    • There can be a large number of dangerous machines and tools in workshops, and so worker concentration is essential in order to ensure that nobody ends up getting hurt—potentially seriously. Industrial dehumidifiers can help to keep the workers comfortable and, as such, will help them to concentrate, thusly allowing them to work safely and efficiently. It is also the case that industrial dehumidifiers may also help to prevent tools in workshops from beginning to rust, extending their working life.
  • Basements
    • Industrial dehumidifier for basement usage is becoming increasingly common in modern properties, due to the cold and damp nature of basements. Indeed, using an industrial dehumidifier for basement usage will help to warm the air in the room, while also removing excessive moisture from the air in the basement—making space far more comfortable and hygienic for people to use.

Development of industrial dehumidifiers

Clearly, the use of modern industrial dehumidifiers in these environments can be essential in regard to ensuring that the workspace is safe and productive. This, in turn, can result in a greater level of profitability for a business, while also keeping the workforce from getting hurt or ill.

However, for a long period of time, businesses did not have the modern industrial dehumidifiers that we rely on today to ensure worker comfort. Indeed, the process for the development of the modern industrial dehumidifier has been a long and somewhat bumpy one; over time, the crude prototype dehumidifiers would eventually be refined and perfected to become the reliable and highly effective dehumidifiers that we see in today’s market.

Development of industrial dehumidifiers

But how did the modern industrial dehumidifier begin its life? What is the history of the industrial dehumidifier that led to us seeing the widespread use of this highly effective and important modern piece of equipment?

The Earliest Industrial Dehumidifiers

As with all modern technology, industrial dehumidifiers and heavy-duty dehumidifiers started out life in a far more humble manner. Indeed, the powerful technology that we see and use nowadays began with the first revolutionary invention into the possibility of controlling air quality: the air conditioning system.

Air conditioners and dehumidifiers are, in themselves, very similar to one another. Both work to regulate the humidity of the air, to a degree; dehumidifiers are far more effective in this goal, however, whereas air conditioning units work on a broader scale to cool the air as well as dehumidifying it. By contrast, dehumidifiers are specifically suited to incredibly moist and damp environments; by drawing out the moist air from an environment, they can help to prevent both mold growth and structural damage from occurring. In order to understand the history of industrial dehumidifiers, we, therefore, need to first know about the history of the air conditioning unit.

air conditioning unit

19th Century Ideas on Air Conditioning and Dehumidifying Technology

The idea of using technology as a means for cooling the air around us was first thought up and published by the inventor Dr. John Gorrie, who proposed that “the evils of high temperatures” could potentially be relieved through the use of cooling entire cities.

The rationale and intention of such a proposal were in relation to the fact that it could be used to help stop the spread of diseases. At the time, in the 1940s, diseases such as Malaria were rife and the high temperatures helped to spread this disease. In addition, the temperature was also making recovering patients incredibly uncomfortable; a solution was clearly needed if it would be possible.

Air Conditioning and Dehumidifying Technology

Unfortunately, technology in the 1840s was still very basic at best, and Gorrie’s ideas for air conditioning technology were largely met with a lack of interest. The primary limitation for his prototype was the cost of the system; his unit involved the use of large scale horse, wind, or steam power in order to compress water enough so as to cause the formation of ice, which would cool a room. Indeed, when Gorrie’s financial backer died untimely during the process of production and development, Gorrie had no choice but to abandon his idea. 

Gorrie’s early ideas never took off in his day. However, they would lay the foundation for the possibility of technology that could be used to control the temperature (and humidity) of the air in the airspace. As such, credit has to be given to this pioneering individual for first coming up with the concepts behind the technology that would eventually go on to become the first industrial dehumidifier.

Dehumidifier Invention Between 1900-1910

The decade between 1900 and 1910 would represent the start of a new era in terms of air conditioning measures. Indeed, it was at this time that the early history of the industrial dehumidifier really began; this was all started off by a very simple version of an air conditioning unit.

The first air conditioning system seen was invented in 1902, when temperatures and humidity began to reach unbearable levels for workers and families. This excessive heat was also causing problems for businesses; a printing company that was tasked with reproducing copies of color prints found themselves in need of a way to control the temperature. This was primarily due to the fact that the prints being produced were of poor quality because of the heat and humidity—pages were being wrinkled and the ink was not spreading as it ought to, leaving the pages produced messy and unsaleable.

first air conditioning system

The First-Ever Air Conditioning and Dehumidifying Unit!

The solution to this was a new type of technology that could control air temperature. This first air conditioning unit was primitive at best; it worked through the use of manual labor power and was only partially effective, to begin with, as the system resulted in saltwater spray lingering on the dehumidified air that was produced. As such, further research was needed into slightly more sophisticated measures.

Air Conditioning and Dehumidifying Unit!

The next prototype air conditioning unit, developed by Sackett-Wilhelms (who had purchased the design from Lyle, who himself had been given the design and ideas by Carrier), fared a little better than its predecessor. This would go on to be known as the Dehumidifying Plant and would pave the way for future developments in this revolutionary dehumidifying technology. And so, the history of the industrial dehumidifier began with the purchase of one of these early models by the aforementioned printing press, who could use the technology to ensure that their color prints were of the quality their customers expected.

Was This Early Dehumidifier Effective?

In 1904, the dehumidifying technology was put to the test by William Timmis, a consulting engineer who had been involved for a number of years in trying to find a solution for the printing presses’ problems with the high humidity. His tests concluded that the primitive dehumidifying unit was effective at reducing the humidity of the air from 86% to 63%—a reduction in relative humidity of approximately 23%, which was impressive considering the available dehumidifying technology of the day.

However, this was not the expected level of efficacy. Further research and comments made by individuals at Cornell University put the blame for this on the fact that the pipe coils that were used in the prototype air conditioning unit were not as effective as they ought to have been. Additionally, problems were also detected in the airside of the system, too.

Furthering on from this, the development of industrial dehumidifying and air conditioning technology slowed down slightly. Carrier knew that his first model air conditioning unit was not effective enough, and so continued to carry out additional research into potential improvements that he could apply to the system.

In 1906, the first-ever recorded use of the term “air conditioning” was coined by Stuart Cramer. Air conditioning units also began to be installed in industrial and commercial properties at the same time, making these the first seen examples of prototype industrial dehumidifiers for warehouse and commercial purposes. In the same year, Carrier also published a psychrometric chart in the Buffalo Forge fan catalog, in order to share his knowledge with the scientific community. Furthermore, the first-ever air conditioning catalog was released in 1908 by Carrier himself.

Air Cooling Technology

In addition to standard dehumidifying technology, air cooling technology was also being investigated in this decade. In 1904, the St. Louis World’s Fair saw the first large scale use of mechanical refrigeration systems to cool a building—the entire Missouri State Building, to be exact!

This technology wasn’t quite the heavy-duty industrial dehumidifier system technology that we use for our commercial properties today, of course. However, it was important in regard to the development of air conditioning systems (that would serve as the basis for the modern industrial dehumidifier).

1910 to 1920: Little Change in Air Conditioning and Dehumidifying Systems

In 1911, following the creation and release of his primitive air conditioning unit, Willis Carrier wrote and subsequently released a paper that he had written on the topic of air conditioning, entitled “Rational Psychrometric Formulae”. This paper was presented to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and would serve to propose the idea of air conditioning technology to a large number of scientific minds and mechanical engineers.

Rapid Progress Seen in 1920 to 1950

In the year 1928, further advances were made in regard to dehumidifiers for food storage technology. At this time, the world saw the first example of CFC refrigerant chemicals being used for the purpose of providing cooling systems to keep food cool. This chemical would later go on to be banned for its disastrous environmental impact—the Montreal Protocol was signed in the year of 1987 in order to begin slowing the production of these such ozone-depleting substances, and in 1995, CFCs were banned altogether. This year was also when the world saw the first-ever refrigerated vending machine that was powered by electricity.

The following few decades would prove to be highly effective in terms of furthering the air conditioning and dehumidifying technology. In 1930, the first-ever air conditioning system in a vehicle was seen; this unique vehicle was commissioned specifically for John Hamman Jr., who saw the need for a cooling system in his vehicle.

The arrival of the Second World War would stall the progress of air conditioning and dehumidifying technologies. A ban was placed on the increasingly widespread use of air conditioning systems for individual usage, for example, with only industrial dehumidifiers and air conditioning systems being allowed at this time. Thankfully, the end of the war would see this limitation lifted.

At the end of this period, further steps were made in regard to the progress of the industrial dehumidifier and air conditioning units. In 1948, North Carolina’s textile plant workers began to complain about the immense heat and humidity of their working conditions, for example; this would lead to a large scale strike being held. The introduction of some of the first-ever modern style industrial dehumidifiers for industry systems would be seen as a result of this.

Further Proof of the Efficacy of Residential and Industrial Dehumidifiers and Air Conditioning Systems

In 1950, a study was carried out in order to determine the efficacy of the new air conditioning and dehumidifying systems. This study concluded that those individuals who lived and worked in air-conditioned or dehumidified properties were far happier and healthier than their peers.

The Next Step for Dehumidifiers in the 1960s

The 1960s saw dehumidifying and air conditioning technology being used in a way which had quite literally never been seen before: the decade saw rapid development in space exploration technology, and as part of this, the modern spacesuit was created.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin would go on to become the first two people to ever step foot on the moon in the year 1969. They would achieve this wearing these unique space suits, that had been carefully designed with brand new cooling systems built-in. Indeed, this represented a new form of the industrial dehumidifier and air conditioning usage and would go on to prove the advanced nature of the systems that were available by that point in time.

Gradual Progress and Promotion

In 1995, further progress was made in regards to cooling systems and air conditioning units after a full ban was placed on the use of CFCs in 1995. Furthering on from this point, the mechanical engineering industry would go on to further develop their existing air conditioning and dehumidifying systems.

In 1999, just before the turn of the century, a large public event was held as a means of promoting the air conditioning unit. The event was titled Stay Cool: Air Conditioning in America and would serve to increase awareness of the public of the existence of air conditioning and dehumidifying systems.

Modern Industrial Dehumidifier 

Over the coming years, the humble air conditioning and dehumidifying units would begin to see quite rapid development. In the past two decades, a large amount of money has been spent on improving the quality and efficacy of modern dehumidifiers. This has allowed modern dehumidifiers to be an incredibly effective tool that has a large number of uses for more industries and residential properties.

Nowadays, modern industrial dehumidifying units can boast of a large number of highly impressive stats. A far cry from the saltwater dehumidifier that was invented in order to help the printing press over a century ago, these modern units have the following features:

  • Portable industrial dehumidifiers
    • A large number of modern dehumidifiers are classed as being portable industrial dehumidifiers, thanks to the fact that they are built on wheels. Many businesses and industrial properties can find that investing in a portable industrial dehumidifier can be a great step for them to take in order to allow workers to easily move the system.
  • Large coverage areas
    • Nowadays, modern, industrial heavy-duty dehumidifiers are great thanks to the large coverage areas that they can work on. Some impressive modern dehumidifier units can easily cover areas of at least 8,000 square feet, even if they are portable units. This makes them highly affordable and effective tools for many modern industrial units, irrelevant of the amount of space in a room or warehouse.
  • High airflow industrial dehumidifiers
    • Modern units are popular choices for industries needing to dry out the air in a room, due to the fact that there are now high airflow industrial dehumidifiers available on the market that are capable of over 600CFM for rapid drying.
  • Large water removal capacity
    • A large number of modern industrial dehumidifiers have a very large storage capacity for water that is extracted from the air. This makes modern dehumidifiers ideal for industrial use that can need a large amount of water removed from the air in the space of a single day.
  • Energy Saving technologies
    • Many modern industrial dehumidifiers come with energy-saving features that help to make them affordable to buy and run for a commercial property.
  • Noise reduction technologies
    • Old dehumidifiers were well known for being loud and noisy, but modern dehumidifiers are now made to be far quieter than they ever used to be. This is ideal for allowing commercial properties to run effectively and without disturbing workers who could be in the vicinity of the dehumidifier.

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