Preservation with humidification

JS Humidifiers has supplied, installed and commissioned three Neptronic SKE resistive steam humidifiers at the Royal Armouries Museum and the National Firearms Centre in Leeds. The humidifiers maintain the humidity around the 8,500 exhibits on display and in stores at the two sites. These exhibits include cannons, mortars and the largest collection of arms and armour on display since the 19th century.

Glyn Barraclough, mechanical engineer at the Royal Armouries, comments: “If the atmosphere becomes too dry it can damage the exhibits on display and in storage. The humidifiers maintain the atmosphere at 60-65% relative humidity preventing humidity-related damage to materials such as wood, fabric and hair. Incorrect humidity control can also affect the metals on suits of armour, causing concentric rings to appear.”

The Leeds Royal Armouries Museum is split into five galleries displaying different types of armaments from across the World. There is also a jousting display arena with seating for 1,200 people, a menagerie, a craft court and a Hall of Steel with a display of over 2,500 objects.

The Neptronic SKE is ideal for maintaining the correct humidity in museums and art galleries as it responds rapidly to a humidity requirement. Museums can be empty one minute and full of visitors in from the rain the next. Steam humidifiers are ideal as they can quickly increase or decrease their output accordingly.

The Neptronic SKE is a resistive steam humidifier that can deliver up to 80kg of steam per hour from a single unit and, unlike an electrode boiler humidifier, does not incorporate disposable boiling cylinders, making it much more economical to run.

The humidifier has an innovative scale management system that detaches the limescale from its heating elements and flushes it to drain during normal operation. This maintains the efficiency of the system and helps reduce required maintenance. The SKE is also the only resistive steam humidifier in the UK to have a two year guarantee on all components, including the heating elements. Its heating elements are robustly constructed from super alloy incoloy 825. They are protected from element burn-out, due to foaming in the water tank, with electronic water level sensors, internal and external temperature sensors, and an internal foam sensor.

A PureFlo reverse osmosis (RO) water filter was installed alongside the steam humidifiers at the Royal Armouries, which removes 90% of the minerals from the water prior to it being boiled inside the humidifiers.

This virtually eliminates limescale build-up in the units reducing the maintenance requirements to a simple check-over once or twice a year. An RO water filter also allows precise control over humidity to ±1%rH, as the mineral level in water tank does not need to be controlled through flushing and re-filling the cylinder. This results in a more consistent temperature level in the tank and a more consistent output.

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