Cold storage warehouses present the technical challenge of how to keep the product at the proper temperature while at the same time keeping employees comfortable and machinery working.
The majority of products in cold storage warehouses are food. Some foods require refrigeration at a safe temperature (above freezing but below 40 degrees Fahrenheit). There are veggies that keep at 55 degress Fahrenheit. 4 degrees Fahrenheit is the necessary temperature to keep dairy products safe but not frozen. Meat is safe at 28 degrees Fahrenheit and ice cream at -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
The global frozen food industry is large and growing larger. However, other products also need to be stored in cold warehouses. They include petrochememicals, prescription drugs and some electronic goods. Therefore, the need for efficient cold storage facilities that can be operated at low cost despite outside heat continues to grow. Cooling hot air is more expensive than heating cold air.
The different temperatures required by different products complicates the organizational planning of such a warehouse. That’s because the warehouse companies constantly change clients. One month they are storing ice cream, the next month they hold petrochemicals. Because those items require different temperatures, it’s not as easy to reconfigure the storage space as it is with items that are not temperature-dependent.
A system of using modular curtain walls can create different compartments to hold items requiring different storage temperatures. That is a flexible, effective and low-cost solution. The system can be moved from warehouse to warehouse as needed by the shifting clients of the warehouse company.
The rising costs of energy and labor is forcing warehouse operators to automate. Automated storage and retrieval systems can save cold storage warehouse owners a lot of money. AS/RS are high-density and rack-supported. They allow for deep and tall designs, thus maximizing a cube’s operational efficiency. Well planned AS/RS can serve a warehouse for years without the need for expansion, which would be expensive. Therefore, it’s a good idea for a warehouse to evaluate and analyze their needs for the next three to five years.
Automatic high-density storage facilities also reduce heat loss, helping to minimize energy use and expense. A warehouse’s roof is where the energy escapes into the environment, so cold storage warehouses want to reduce the area of their roofs as much as possible.
Automated palletizing is increasing with the availability of more sophisticated and capable robots. By palletizing within the warehouse, reduces the introduction of ambient air, saving energy and money.