Cold chain logistics has existed for years, allowing easy transportation of temperature-sensitive products and goods through the supply chain. Initially, this concept primarily worked for the factory to retail businesses. With the projected growth in the industry, the need for cold racking for storage and warehousing is at its peak. Pallet racking manufacturers are now extending their services to cater to temperature-controlled warehousing. Despite this being a familiar concept, there are a few details to iron out.
Temperature Controlled Warehousing
Temperature-controlled or cold storage warehouses are facilities for storing goods at low temperatures. These warehousing storage solutions are integral for industries dealing with dairy products, vegetables, meat, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals that require freezer warehouses to retain their properties.
As the global cold chain market grows, cold storage warehousing must use condition-specific equipment to meet the industry’s strict demands. As such, storage rooms feature sandwich panels and cooling equipment for temperature regulation. This equipment includes condensers, compressors, expansion valves and evaporators.
Cold Storage Racks
Cold racking for storage is a warehouse solution for products with shorter shelf lives. These racks guarantee the conservation of the product properties and quality. The heavy-duty racks are also built from strong stainless steel to sustain operations in cold and freezing facilities. They also maximize warehouse space by increasing storage capacity while improving energy efficiency. The innovative engineering that goes into building these storage units allows efficient distribution of cool temperatures across the various pallets.
Commonly Used Cold Storage Racking
Various pallet racking systems would suffice for temperature-controlled warehousing. These storage solutions have different characteristics to fit multiple storage solutions. One cold storage rack may offer more convenience than the other regarding time reduction and compaction.
The top options for cold racking for storage racking are:
1. Mobile Pallet Racking
Mobile racking solutions are readily adaptable for cold storage because they are compact enough to increase storage capacity. These storage racks are the best high-density systems for cold storage because they do not require individual access aisles. Only a single access aisle is required for storage. The aisle space opens automatically using electric motors and displacement devices at the base of the rack.
- Storage space maximization
- Controlled cooling and lighting for maximum energy saving
- Direct access to items in storage
- Up to 70% increase in storage space
2. Drive-In Pallet Racking
Drive-in pallet racking storage units are among the best high-density units that maximize the usage of available floor space and ceiling height. Trucks will have less work to do on the aisles. Drive-in cold racking for storage is preferable for cold warehousing because they optimize space and rely on a single-access aisle. This aisle handles all the loading and unloading activities which improve racking compaction.
- Reduces cooling space, thus saving energy costs
- Allows storage of uniform inventory
- Eliminates the need for service aisles
- Last In, First Out (LIFO) inventory management
3. Shuttle Pallet Racking
Pallet shuttle cold storage systems are better storage solutions because they have built-in shuttles for moving SKUs within the racks. These warehouse storage units operate semi-automatically and automatically. The semi-automatic pallet shuttle requires the operator to place loads on the rails for the shuttle to position it on the racks. This is the ideal storage unit for a cold warehouse with many SKUs per pallet.
On the other hand, automated pallet shuttles have transfer cars on every level for storing goods on respective channels. The racks on these units can reach up to 40 meters tall for medium and high-rise cold warehouses. These units are ideal for freezing chambers with temperatures lower than -30°.
- Uses shuttles, reducing pallet loading and unloading time
- Reduces space to be cooled
- Increases storage capacity
- Remote control of up to four pallet shuttles from one location
Objectives of Temperature-Controlled Warehousing
While cold racking for storage warehousing is demanding, there are particular objectives warehouse managers must meet to simplify operations and streamline the supply chain. They are:
Improving Energy Efficiency
Temperature-controlled warehouses must store cold items without increasing energy consumption. Compact storage systems are more sustainable because they allow the storage of more goods in a smaller space, reducing the energy required to cool each pallet. The electric and automatic equipment minimizes CO2 emissions from machines using fossil fuels.
Improve Product Visibility
Temperature-controlled warehouses handling fresh goods use warehouse management software for inventory management. The software tracks the products from their arrival time to dispatch. They maximize visibility by identifying items by location and demand levels.
Limit Employees’ Cold Exposure
Industries using cold storage warehouses should achieve employees’ minimum exposure to cold conditions. These cold storage systems must be designed to limit operators’ time in such conditions. Using automated systems is a step closer to avoiding keeping operators in the warehouse longer than required.
Pallet racks are the go-to solutions for efficiently storing and managing cold warehouse products. They are built to optimize space and provide more storage capacity while prioritizing the handling of goods without exposing employees to too many freezing conditions. Businesses should consider collaborating with pallet rack suppliers to build cold storage units that are fit for the facility.