Cold storage is used in many industries from pharmaceuticals to cosmetics to food with the purpose of extending the lifetime of products and preventing spoilage. With new technologies making it possible to transport perishables from one side of the world to another, the demand for cold storage has been steadily increasing. But the lack of available warehousing space, labor market shortage, and high energy costs are making it difficult for the industry to keep up. Therefore it is crucial for cold storage facilities to find more efficient ways to run their operations and maximize their existing space.
The cold storage industry is expected to grow 14.8% between now and 2028. This growth is attracting more businesses and existing warehouses to make room for cold storage. However, there are strict requirements and challenges to consider before starting a cold storage warehouse.
What Are the Requirements & Challenges of a Cold Storage Warehouse
Cold storage warehouses must be furnished with proper insulation and cooling equipment to keep temperatures steady. Maintaining low temperatures can be especially difficult as products move between different processes such as storage, handling, and transportation.
People working in a cold storage facility have to have proper clothing and protection against the cold. Certain protective gear, such as gloves, may interfere with equipment use. All of these challenges need to be addressed to create an effective and safe work environment in cold working conditions.
Not all goods stored in a cold storage warehouse have the same requirements. There are differences in temperature requirements as well as humidity levels, which can make it difficult to accommodate different types of products.
It takes a lot of energy to keep warehouses at steady, low temperatures. So it comes as no surprise that high energy costs are a concern for cold storage warehousing. Equipment that is energy efficient and does not require fuel or electricity are good options to lower energy dependency.
The equipment used in cold storage must be compatible and durable in low temperatures. Since products are perishable, it is even more important for equipment to be dependable to prevent breakdowns and delays in handling.
Selecting the right warehousing equipment that is compatible with cold storage is an important step in improving efficiency. Understanding the common challenges faced by the industry and how different equipment and warehouse design strategies can alleviate these challenges.
Cold Storage Warehousing Design
When designing a cold storage warehouse, several factors should be taken into consideration. Conserving energy and minimizing the space that needs to be cooled should be top priorities. A high-density storage system can be implemented in order to maximize storage space, improve efficiency, and reduce the area that needs to be cooled.
One of the most popular high-density storage options for cold storage is drive-in racking. Drive-in racking is created by arranging pallet rack back to back. This formation allows pallets to be stored multiple positions deep. Drive-in racking eliminates the use of aisles and only has one access point. One of the biggest advantages of using a drive-in racking system is that it can accommodate 75% more pallets than regular racks can; reducing the area that needs to be cooled while being able to store more product. To learn more about high-density storage, read our informative guide: A Guide to High-Density Warehouse Racking Systems.
Equipment for Cold Storage Warehousing
As mentioned earlier when discussing challenges, equipment used in cold storage facilities have to be compatible with the low-temperature environment. Selecting the right equipment can increase efficiency and can also be used to reduce employee time spent in cold conditions. Here are the top equipment to consider when setting up a cold storage warehouse:
Pallet rack is a great selection for storage in a cold storage warehouse. The stainless steel construction of pallet rack is durable in low temperatures, and the open design allows air to move through the structure. Furthermore, pallet racking can be arranged in various high-density arrangements. In addition to drive-in racking, mobile pallet racking and mobile shelving units are also popular in cold storage facilities. Mobile racking maximizes floor space and allows for the storage of up to twice as many products in the same footprint.
5"H x 120"W New Teardrop Pallet Rack Beam, Orange
Add to an existing system or pair with additional beams, wire decking and uprights to make your own custom pallet rack system. 5-00"H face with 5500# capacity per pair High strength one-piece steel beams Durable orange powdercoat paint finish Teardrop style… read more
While pallet rack is great for palletized and large products. For smaller products that need easier access, other industrial shelving systems can be considered. Industrial shelving is available in three main types: wide-span shelving, clip shelving, and rivet shelving. All three types of industrial shelving share the same purpose: to allow fast picking of hand-loaded items. Industrial shelving systems have a similar construction to pallet racking in the sense that they consist of uprights, beams, and shelves. The main difference between the three types of systems is in the material composition and capacity of each. Read our comparison of these three types of shelving to see which one would work best for you.
36"W x 18"D x 87"H, Used Tennsco Q-Line Three-Bay Kit, Metal Clip Shelving, 5 Shelves/Bay, 500# Shelf Cap, Med Grey
18"D X 36"W X 87"H, Used Tennsco Metal Clip Style Shelving 3 Bay Kit. Contains the components for 1 starter bay and 2 adder bays, creating a 3 bay run of clip shelving. Condition: Used Height: 87"H Depth: 18"D Width:… read more
Conveyor systems are vital in cold storage facilities as they increase speed and efficiency of the operations. They also help automate the handling process and minimize employee exposure to cold temperatures.
Gravity conveyors use gravity to move products in the warehouse. As these types of conveyors do not use power, they are cost-effective and sustainable. Gravity conveyors at the inbound dock help your logistics team get unpalletized products quickly and efficiently from the truck, reducing temperature fluctuations.
Used Adjustable Gravity Conveyor Stand, 24"W x 26"H
Gravity conveyor allows you to effortlessly slide products down your packaging or assembly line. Recommended for use in shipping or assembly lines. Bottom footplate bolts into floor for permanent use Top mounting plates adjust for incline Connect multiple conveyor sticks together with stands to… read more
Carton flow is another piece of warehouse equipment that allows you to increase the density of your warehouse while automating your processes. Carton flow rack comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. It can be retrofit into your existing rack system or can be built as a standalone unit. The densest use for carton flow rack is to combine it with a conveyor in the form of a pick module. A pick module allows workers to pick and pack from cartons installed in pallet rack. Once picked, they can send the order down a conveyor system to be loaded onto trucks.
9"W x 89"L Used Low Profile Span-Track Carton Flow Lane, Metal Rollers
Carton Flow solutions drop into existing structures to create a flow system to increase efficiency of order picking. Recommended for use in existing pallet rack systems. Hangers sold separately. Free-spinning rollers powered by gravity 9" track width; 9-1/2" overall width 89"… read more
Warehouse Management Software
Cold storage warehouses tend to store perishable and food items. Therefore keeping track of stock and expiration dates is crucial. A warehouse management software is used to keep track of all the stored goods in your warehouse and is a good tool to consider if you are running a cold storage warehouse.
Are You Setting Up A Cold Storage Warehouse?
Whether you’re setting up a new warehouse, or looking for ways to improve the efficiency of your existing one, American Storage & Logistics has everything you need to get your operations running smoothly. Visit our website to show our entire in-stock inventory, available for same-day pickup or next-day local delivery. We also provide engineering, design, and consulting services. Give us a call at 866-323-8310 to speak with a sales engineer today!