Preferred Freezer Services' megafacility in Richland, Wash., will include the world's largest automated freezer handling system.
When it's completed in July 2015, a refrigerated warehouse now under construction in Richland, Wash., will be able to claim a number of distinctions. According to Preferred Freezer Services, the Chatham, N.J.-based company that commissioned the building, it will be the largest refrigerated warehouse in North America and house the biggest automated freezer system in the world. It will also be the first warehouse in North America to use a nitrogen-based oxygen-reduction system as its main fire prevention mechanism. The warehouse is expected to handle about 2 billion pounds of frozen food per year.
"Deep Freeze," the cover story for Construction Today's Jan./Feb. 2015 issue, provides some impressive statistics on the warehouse: The 455,000-square-foot building will contain three freezers totaling 313,000 square feet, 12,000 square feet of office space, 120,000 square feet of truck and rail dock space, and 10,000 square feet of electrical and mechanical rooms. It will feature 35 dock doors to accommodate incoming and outgoing trucks as well as six doors served by rail spurs that will be dedicated to loading and unloading railcars.
The building will be 116 feet tall, with 117,000 pallet positions stacked 11 high. Steel pallet racks fabricated and installed by Frazier Industrial serve as the main structural support for the roof and walls. When completed, the project will incorporate a reported 21 million pounds of steel.
Picking and putaway will be handled by a fully automated storage and retrieval system designed and installed by Dematic; people will enter the freezers only for maintenance and repairs. As Construction Today tells it, pallets of inbound goods will be whisked into the freezers via a conveyor and monorail system. Once inside, the pallets will ride on a shuttle Frazier has dubbed the Pallet Mole. The shuttles themselves will be transported by crane to a storage rack; upon arrival, the shuttle will detach from the crane and travel along rails within the rack to the designated storage position. The Pallet Mole will then lower the pallet onto the rail and return to the crane.
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