Expert Tips to Boost Cold Storage Automation

Expert Tips to Boost Your Cold Storage

When it comes to cold storage; efficiency, cost balancing and compliance are absolute essentials. With these challenges in mind, the team at Moffett have put together some essential tips to boost your cold storage efficiency. Thank us later!

TIP 1

PREVENT HEAT EXCHANGE & ENERGY LOSS THE RIGHT WAY

Across our time in business, we’ve encountered warehousing operations that take only the most basic steps towards preventing heat exchange & energy loss, including routine building assessments and sealing checks. It is important to note that there can be significant heat transfer between +5 degree and -25 degree spaces.
However, there are a number of operational and procedural changes you can make to avoid such penalties, as well as perished stock and a raft of health and safety issues:

Dual-acting doors: We recommend using a dual-acting door to help keep temperatures as stable as possible. By making this simple change, warehouse managers can significantly reduce the loss of thermal energy.

Consider a conveyor system: We recommend a conveyor system to move stock in and out of your cold storage environment, as opposed to a forklift which requires the opening and closing of sealed doors. When you convey pallets from -25 degrees to chill, less energy loss can be expected.

TIP 2

EMBRACE AUTOMATION IN YOUR COLD STORAGE OPERATION

Regardless of the size or scale of your cold storage operation, embracing automation can have a transformative impact. We’ve highlighted some of the key aspects of automation that are guaranteed to boost your cold storage efficiency:

Transform labour costs & concerns: People, forklifts and inefficient lighting create heat, causing your refrigeration systems to work under greater pressure. Automation removes these generators of thermal energy from the equation. Automation also offers real benefits to a cold storage operation in how it ultimately reduces the costs of human labour, along with the errors and safety concerns that come with it.

For example, guidelines published by the British Frozen Food Federation state that there are limitations on how long a worker can spend working in a cold storage environment before taking a break or stopping completely. This, along with the provision of suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) and easily accessible warming areas and training for employees on cold hazards and early symptoms of cold stress, highlight numerous opportunities to reduce labour costs and concerns when embracing automation.

Optimisation through automation: A golden rule of efficient and effective cold storage is that you must use as condensed a room as possible whilst achieving air flow. This means continuously calculating your used and available floorspace, making proper use of every space between your floor and ceiling/roof space. When you opt for an automated system in your cold storage environment, you can harness the power of data to use your storage space to the best of its potential, reducing thermal energy loss in the process.

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BALANCE YOUR COSTS, SEGMENT YOUR WAREHOUSE

Across each stage of your cold storage operation, it pays to think of the entire process as a complex balancing act. Whilst many warehousing professionals will be experienced in balancing costs, there are some principles and tips we’d like to share around getting this right:

Balance your costs: As a rule of thumb, it helps to calculate the construction cost of building your cold storage or warehouse premises, and divide that sum by the number of pallets that actually fit into that space. There must be a proper balance between cost of building and cost of pallets, and our automated system offers significant benefits around pallets per ft² ratio in the warehouse.

Segment your warehouse: A key step in properly balancing your costs is by segmenting your warehouse. By dividing your warehouse into different zones, you can set different temperatures and make huge energy savings. Consider an environment where a company may be storing butter, ice cream and meat, for example. By segmenting that warehouse into 3 zones with different temperatures for each, efficiency can be significantly improved. In the event that that company has a quiet spell, they can close off one segment, saving thousands in the process.

COLD STORAGE EFFICIENCY: THE COMMON SENSE PRINCIPLES

We’ve covered some expert steps towards boosting your cold storage efficiency, including the installation of dual-acting doors and proper warehouse segmentation. However, before we reach the end of this blog we’d like to highlight some very basic common sense principles which all cold storage professionals should know well:

Prevent air escape with proper sealing: We recommend that warehousing professionals maintain regular checks on door seals, ensuring that no air can escape from that entry point. Worn, damaged or poorly-fitted seals cause refrigerated air to escape, making your cooling systems work at a more rapid pace – leading to higher running costs.

Conduct regular building condition checks: A healthy cold storage operation begins in a building that is well maintained and structurally sound. Your premises should be regularly assessed for mould, rot, animal intrusions, environmental weathering and, of course, age.

Maintain condenser units & evaporator coils: When it comes to the smooth and effective running of your cold storage operation, condenser units and evaporator coils play critically important roles. You should therefore place sufficient resources into ensuring their proper maintenance.

Coordinate your efforts with inspection scheduling: Creating a regular inspection and maintenance schedule must involve properly liaising with all stakeholders; including inspectors, cold storage contractors, warehouse operatives and production managers.

Reconsider your choice of lighting: We often see floodlights in warehousing environments – requiring lots of energy and producing more heat. We recommend switching your light source to a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly option, such as LED.

Carry out routine temperature checks: We recommend closely and continuously monitoring the temperature inside your storage environment, noting any differences between that and the design temperature. In the event of any anomalies, it is essential that your refrigeration contractor is notified.

KEEP YOUR COOL WITH MOFFETT AUTOMATED STORAGE

Specially engineered for temperatures as low as -25 degrees celsius, the intuitive MAS system is ideal for cold storage operations. The design-based ‘black box’ allows your whole warehousing space to be operated without human interaction within freezing temperatures. Meanwhile, our customised design retrieves and delivers pallets through doorways the approximate size of the pallets, reducing heat transfer in and out of the store.
Increased storage density and significant energy savings make the MAS system a real asset to the end user. And, with service dealers all over the world, we’re proud to have dealer support in any market we operate in.

MORE ABOUT MOFFETT AUTOMATED STORAGE

Privately held and headquartered in Ireland, Moffett Automated Storage is a leading authority on software-driven auto replenishment, providing an automated, safe and rapid movement of products and pallets on a global scale. Our dynamic team offers a range of solutions and services around automated storage; as well as cold storage, sustainability, manufacturing and high throughput. To find out more about your options or to organise a free consultation, get in touch today.

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