Cold storage (freezer) warehouses are increasingly common as we move to a frozen food society. They are used for finished goods distribution, as well as raw materials in manufacturing and certain pharmaceutical applications. Freezers represent some of the highest value per square foot so reducing costs from damage and maintenance on the equipment used in freezers can result in significant savings in the long term.
Most freezer warehouses are filled with pallet racking and are serviced by electric forklifts. Ensuring that you have the proper options on these two assets will not only greatly improve efficiency in the freezer environment but also reduce costly damage.
Optimizing Freezer Storage
Often, pallet racking is purchased with one goal in mind: reducing the initial investment. But when it comes to harsh environments, spending a little extra on the rack system can save significant money in the long run by increasing storage capacity. When done correctly, these more expensive but more constructive approaches can often generate a compelling ROI.
Although standard single deep rack has the lowest purchase price, double deep rack, push back rack and deep lane storage systems, such as RadioShuttle, can dramatically increase space efficiency. The correct choice needs to be determined by evaluating the physical layout, product mix, flow and velocity.
Investing in a structural racking system made of C channel rather than roll formed steel will reduce damage significantly, thanks to its robust design and increased resistance to damage. Take that a step further by adding ‘bullnose’ bumpers or welded angle deflectors at the base of the uprights, double columns on the aisles side, and heavy horizontal bracing, and you have a rack system that is as robust and resistant to damage as possible. A worthy investment when you consider the slick floors in a cold-storage warehouse combined with forklift operators who are not inclined to take their time in sub-zero environments!
Warm Up to Cool Solutions
Because cost per square foot in a warehouse is always a factor in space planning, aisles are often narrow to optimize storage area. As a result, reach trucks are the most common lift truck used in a freezer warehouse. But not just any reach truck will work–it needs to be the right one. Some forklift companies have specialized options available to increase productivity and uptime while reducing damage from impacts while working in a freezer. One reach truck even has a suspension system similar to a car, dramatically reducing the tendency to slip when cornering.
An essential option is a cold storage package offering thinner oils for colder temps, heaters within the machine to reduce condensation issues, larger buttons for a gloved hand, and a wire screen in front of the operator rather than a glass shield, which tends to fog. Other cold storage options include an operator comfort package that adds a heater to the floor mat and a heated handle to keep the operator more comfortable—and productive—in the chilly environment. Other items that can be added are traction tires to counter slippery floors and straddle-style baselegs to help reduce damage when entering the rack.
For the best results in low temps, contact a material handling specialist with the tools and experience to make sure your freezer equipment is as efficient, safe and damage-resistant as possible. We’d like to help positively impact your operation’s efficiency and productivity.