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Humidifying bugs at ZSL London Zoo

25 March 2010

JS Humidifiers has supplied and installed three Neptronic SKE resistive steam humidifiers at the BUGS exhibit and Invertebrate Conservation Centre of ZSL London Zoo.

The humidifiers are helping maintain high humidities around exhibits such as Giant Fregate beetles, Partula snails and colonies of Leaf cutter ants.

The humidifiers have fan units fitted to the top that disperse steam directly into the room. One of the steam generators is located in the Cool Humid room where it maintains a constantly humid and comfortable atmosphere for stick insects, leaf insects and leaf-cutting ants. Another is located in the Fregate Island Room, which contains rare species only found on Fregate Island in the Seychelles, including Palm Beetles and Fregate Island Enid Snails, both endangered species. The room is kept at a sweltering 28oC and 70-80%rH due to the requirements of the animals.

The third humidifier will be fitted in a display breeding room for sensitive Polynesian Tree snails, most of which are extinct in the wild.

London Zoo Bugs Exhibit Team Leader, Dave Clarke;

“We selected the Neptronic SKE as we wanted an industrial unit that could withstand the type of intensive use we put them through, and required steam humidification to provide totally hygienic conditions for the staff working in the area. Since the humidifiers have been in they’ve been performing really well and have required minimal maintenance.”

Unlike electrode boiler humidifiers, which need replacement boiling cylinders when they become full of limescale, the Neptronic SKE has a cleanable boiling chamber. The heating elements are made from scale-resistive Incoloy 825 super alloy, which when heated causes any limescale that does build up to crack from the surface in small manageable pieces. These are then mostly washed to drain during normal operation.

When combined with RO water, the scale that builds up inside the humidifier is dramatically reduced. As very few minerals are in the RO water entering the boiling chamber, very little limescale is left over when it is turned to steam. The Neptronic humidifiers at ZSL London Zoo are fed using on-site RO water but stand alone RO water filters are also available from JS, especially designed for reducing maintenance and improving performance of humidifiers.

As well as fascinating the public by displaying rare invertebrates, the Bugs Exhibit at ZSL London Zoo coordinates vital research and breeding programmes. For instance the International Partula Conservation Programme is an ongoing collaboration between the several zoos worldwide and the French Polynesian Government. Its aim is to re-establish the Partula Snail on the Polynesian Island, having been virtually wiped out by the introduction of non-indigenous predatory snails, aimed at controlling the African giant land snail. A reserve is being established on Tahiti to protect populations of the last five surviving endemic Partula species and other reserves are being planned for other islands with the help of the breeding programme at ZSL London Zoo.

JS Humidifiers is the UKs' largest humidification company with the widest range of products and offers a service of advice, design, supply, installation and maintenance. It also offers a comprehensive range of humidifier spares, not only for JS equipment but also for a large range of different manufacturers’ humidifiers, mostly available ex-stock.

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