8 Keys to manage a cold storage unit
Cold storage units are refrigerated or frozen storage facilities, usually used to store perishable products such as food, chemicals or any item that requires cool or frigid temperature conditions.
With the growing population of our planet the worldwide market for perishable products( specially food) expands. Food or pharmaceuticals that are stored at higher temperatures may lose their effectiveness or become unsafe to consume. So in a cold storage unit you should make sure to keep temperatures low, equipment functioning, employees healthy, and products safe which are not easy tasks to do.
Following are the 8 Golden rules for managing a cold storage unit described for you by Palmore International( cold storage manufacturer and cold room supplier in Oman)
The costs associated with maintaining a constant low temperature in cold storage space are higher than in other types of warehouse space. Cold storage users are increasingly seeking automation as the cost of energy, land, and labor rises.
Cold storage space can be optimized by improving cube utilization through automation. Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems, or ASRS, help optimize vertical space by using pallet racking systems with pallet shuttles.
Human labor can also be minimized through automation, resulting in significant savings. As a result of the use of autonomous guided vehicles or AGVs, as well as automated palletisers and depalletizers, cold storage units can now operate with fewer employees since they use autonomous guided vehicles to shuttle products around the warehouse. In addition to saving money, this can have a number of other advantages.
2. Make temperature zones
A cold storage unit stores different products that require different temperatures simultaneously. All parts of the cold storage unit must maintain their set temperatures. It is important, for example, to keep frozen products frozen and to keep refrigerated products refrigerated.
By creating a barrier between the respective temperature zones, it is possible to store all these products in the same cold storage. The modular insulated curtain wall system can therefore serve as a flexible, low-risk option for warehouses with multiple temperature zones or where the types of products being stored change periodically, as it is possible for the curtain wall system to be set up and moved from one building to another according to the specific needs of the warehouse.
3. Minimize heat loss
In order to maximize energy savings and prevent cold storage contents from spoiling, it is crucial to minimize heat loss.
To prevent heat from transferring from high- to low-temperature areas, heat transfer must be carefully restricted. As new products enter cold storage warehouses regularly, and warehouses may need to be regularly reconfigured, it can be a challenging task.
This problem can be solved by high-speed or rapid doors and strip doors. In addition to the fact that they keep refrigerated air in great efficiency, they also provide unrestricted access to all areas of the site for people and vehicles at all times.
4. Use suitable equipment
For desirable functions in a cold storage unit, equipment such as barcode scanners, computers, sensors, forklifts, pallet jacks etc, should be designed or modified according to the low temperatures they are supposed to function in. Wearing thick gloves, for instance, can make it difficult to use a touchscreen. This is why cold storage equipment’s touchscreens are sensitive enough to respond quickly to gloved touches, and scanning devices’ buttons are large enough to be felt through gloves.
Electrical equipment like scanners can be shorted out when devices are moved from one temperature zone to another due to condensation that forms. The seals on handheld equipment and electric forklifts are designed to withstand such temperature changes.
Battery life is also severely affected by constant exposure to the cold, resulting in a 40% to 50% reduction in battery life. To extend the battery’s life cycle, higher voltage batteries must be used.
5. Ensure employees’ safety
You should provide employees with proper personal equipment such as insulated coats, pants, gloves, and etc. Moreover they should be trained to get used to the cold working conditions in a cold storage unit, to minimize any health risks to them. If you provide your employees with comfortable and healthy working conditions you can make sure that they do not compromise the efficiency of the operations.
When employees hold doors open to keep themselves warm, the temperature protocols are violated, and a large amount of refrigerated air is lost. Therefore, cold storage warehouse employees should be well trained and have access to the appropriate cold storage gear at all times.
7. Keep temperature records
The products kept in a cold storage unit are susceptible to temperature changes. Hence one of the most vital cold storage rules is keeping an accurate record of the details of products’ temperatures.
Here is where technology becomes handy. Temperature sensors can help you to keep track of temperature, trigger alarms, and identify potential lapses automatically. It is possible to link this collected data with products at the load unit level via Radio Frequency Identification or RFID without scanning every carton and stockkeeping unit using sophisticated databases.
8. Have a plan B
Unpredictable delays or rerouting can jeopardize the stability of your shipment even with the best technology. When unforeseen circumstances arise, shippers should develop contingency plans with their transportation partners.
Managing your cold storage also requires contingency planning. You must be prepared to respond immediately if a truck breaks down, a refrigeration unit stops working, or a power outage occurs.
Cold Storage units are becoming an important part of the supply chain and need to be maintained and managed efficiently. Improvement in cold storage management can lead to substantial savings and greater profits. In this article we mentioned some golden rules and important points in managing a cold storage unit. Using these rules and tips might not bring instant profits, but if implemented correctly, it will definitely pay off after a reasonable time.