Facilities that manufacture and distribute perishable goods need a specific bulk storage solution to keep their products at safe temperatures to prevent spoilage. Two common ways to preserve products include freezing chambers and cold store.
A freezing chamber is used to flash-freeze products such as meat, fish, and vegetables. This is done to preserve the quality of the product and extend its shelf life.
A cold store is a temperature-controlled facility that stores perishable goods at or below freezing point. They are used primarily by food and beverage companies and pharmaceutical companies, which need to maintain the quality and integrity of their products.
However, storing perishables efficiently without wasting energy is a challenge. One method for organizing your inventory in a cold storage facility is to use pallet racking.
It helps to optimize the use of space and ensures that products are organized for fast picking and order fulfillment.
Learn the critical factors to consider when choosing a pallet racking system for a cold store or freezing chamber and which is the right solution for your facility.
Challenges of Cold Storage
Food waste accounts for approximately 30-40% of the total food supply in the United States. For food and beverage manufacturing companies, this can translate into millions of dollars in lost revenue. Expiration and spoilage are significant sources of food wastage, often caused by inadequate storage. Some challenges to cold storing perishables include:
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, commercial refrigeration accounts for 16% of the total energy used by the commercial sector. Unfortunately, cold storage is inefficient; studies suggest that 60-70% of a cold storage facility’s energy expenditure goes toward refrigeration. This gives businesses a considerable incentive to invest in methods for improving storage efficiency.
Moisture and Temperature Damage
Cold storage can cause damage to food and other products stored inside. This is because cold storage facilities’ temperature and moisture levels are not always consistent.
If the temperature fluctuates too much, it can cause a freezer burn on food products, changing their texture and flavor. Moisture can also be a problem, as it can cause mold and mildew to grow on food.
Traceability is critical for cold storage facilities. Each pallet must be tracked for its expiration date, freezer date, optimal storage temperature, and batch number.
Cold store and freezing chambers require a highly selective pallet rack system that allows easy picking and order fulfillment and simple integration with warehouse management systems (WMS). This ensures that employees are notified when stock is close to expiring and enables them to minimize wastage and trace all inventory transactions.
It can be difficult to access products that are stored in cold storage. The temperature inside these cold storages needs to be consistent, so doors and other openings are sealed tight with multiple layers of protection.
This can often lead to products being stored in hard-to-reach places, making it difficult to retrieve them when needed.
Best Storage Solutions for Cold Stores and Freezing Chambers
When choosing a storage solution for a cold store or freezing chamber, there are a few factors to consider. It’s essential to select a system designed specifically for cold storage using materials that can withstand sub-zero temperatures without weakening the structure.
Some of the best storage solutions for cold stores and freezing chambers include:
Drive-In Compact Pallet Racking Systems
Drive-in compact pallet racks provide an efficient storage solution for cold storage facilities. They eliminate the need for aisles by storing pallets several bays deep, which helps to maximize storage density. They also use a double-entry point configuration, making them suitable for warehouses with high turnover. This allows businesses to store more products in less space, reducing operating costs.
They also provide greater stability and support than traditional pallet racks, making them ideal for storing heavy or awkwardly-shaped products. And because they are designed for first-in-first-out (FIFO) storage, drive-in compact racks can help to ensure that products are rotated regularly, preventing them from becoming expired or spoiled.
Unirak frames are specifically designed to provide superior impact resistance and prevent damage to your inventory. The frames are also powder-coated to resist corrosion, making them ideal for moist cold store environments.
Mobile Racking and Shelves
Mobile racking and shelves can be a cost-effective and efficient solution for cold storage facilities. Businesses can optimize their available space by mounting racks and shelves on mobile carriages.
They can be easily reconfigured to accommodate changing inventory. For example, the rack beams can be spaced further apart if a facility needs to store larger items. Or, if the business wants to increase its capacity, additional units can be added.
Mobile racking and shelving systems also offer greater flexibility for loading and unloading because they are easily accessible for material handling equipment. This can be a significant advantage for businesses that rely on quick turnaround times.
The 4-shelf mobile units by Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc, are an excellent storage solution for any business. These units are designed to hold up to 1,200 lbs. The casters make it easy to move the unit around. The shelves are adjustable, and the entire frame is zinc-coated to reduce corrosion.
LIFO Push Back Pallet Racking
A LIFO push-back pallet racking is a warehouse pallet racks system that allows each pallet to be stored on its own sloped shelf using rollers to move goods back as new pallets are added. This arrangement will enable you to store inventory two to six pallets deep, maximizing space utilization and allowing for easier loading and unloading.
LIFO push-back pallet racking can also help to reduce damage to goods, as there is no need to stack pallets on top of each other. Instead, the system uses step pallet rack beams, horizontal supports that run the length of the rack. They are positioned at different levels to provide support for pallets.
The step pallet rack beams by Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc, are spaced 12” apart, providing ample room for most standard pallets. They are made from steel, which is strong and durable and can be equipped with safety clips or other features to help prevent accidental dislodgement.
Pallet Flow Racking
Pallet flow racking uses gravity to move pallets from the loading area to the picking area. This high-density storage racking system can help reduce the time needed to retrieve items from storage and improve inventory control. It can also help prevent damaged products that may occur during retrieval.
Conveyor belts can help to keep the operation in cold storage running smoothly and efficiently by transporting products from one area to another. They can also help to reduce product damage from falling or being mishandled. Conveyors can also be installed at any racking level, optimizing your storage using vertical space.
The heavy-duty slider bed power conveyor from Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc, is a reliable and versatile solution for conveying various materials. The 12-gauge steel frame of this belt conveyor supports a 60 FPM belt, and its 1/2 horsepower 115/1/60 motor ensures it can move high volumes of heavy-duty goods.
Find the Ideal Pallet Racking System for Your Facility
Regardless of the size or scope of your operation, finding the right warehouse racking system is essential for optimizing your warehouse storage space and improving your overall efficiency.
Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc specialize in helping businesses find the perfect storage solution to meet their unique needs. We have a wide selection of products, from heavy-duty cantilever racks that can support thousands of pounds to more lightweight options like carton flow and wire mesh for smaller items.
Our team can offer guidance and advice if you need clarification on the best system for your cold storage facility. Call us at (800) 589-7225 today.