When most people think about warehousing, they picture an ample, air-conditioned space where products are stored at room temperature. However, this is not always an option for businesses that need to store items in cold storage. Cold storage warehousing presents its unique challenges, but with the correct planning and execution, it can be an effective solution for businesses looking to keep their products safe and fresh. In this blog post, Fripp Warehousing will discuss the challenges of cold storage warehousing and outline some solutions companies can use to overcome them.
Let’s start by understanding what cold storage warehousing is.
What are cold storage warehouses?
Cold storage warehouses are temperature-controlled facilities that store perishable goods, such as food and pharmaceuticals. These warehouses keep products at a consistent, cool temperature to extend their shelf life. Cold storage warehouses are typically outfitted with industrial refrigeration units that maintain the desired temperature.
Research reports show that the global cold chain revenue is expected to reach $628 billion by 2028. And this increase in demand for temperature-controlled warehousing is attributable to the growth of the food and beverage industry and the rise in e-commerce sales.
Now that we know what cold storage warehouses are and why they’re in demand, let’s discuss their challenges. It’s important to understand that for cold storage to function effectively, logistics must be planned and executed flawlessly. This will ensure that optimum conditions are maintained throughout the supply chain from farm to table.
Here are some of the features that cold storage warehouses must have:
Sandwich panels – Sandwich panels are used to construct the walls and ceilings of cold storage warehouses. These panels have an insulating core that helps maintain the desired temperature within the facility. In addition, they should be equipped with compressors, expansion valves, and condensers suited for maintaining low temperatures.
Cold store racking – The racking should be designed to withstand cold storage conditions.
Let’s now look at the challenges of cold storage warehousing:
Maintaining Consistent Temperatures
One of the biggest challenges of cold storage facilities is maintaining consistent temperatures. This is especially crucial for storage facilities with varying temperature zones.
The key to maintaining consistent temperatures is to install secure airlock systems. These systems will help to minimize temperature fluctuations and keep the air inside the facility at a consistent temperature.
Another way to maintain consistent temperatures is to use a temperature-controlled loading dock. This will ensure that products are not exposed to extreme temperatures when loaded and unloaded from the facility.
Controlling humidity levels
To prevent moisture build-up, companies must carefully control the humidity level inside their cold storage warehouse. This can cause the growth of mould and mildew, which can damage the products stored in the facility.
One way to control humidity levels is to use a dehumidifier. This will help remove excess moisture from the air and keep the humidity level safe.
Being able to trace products stored in a cold storage facility is crucial. This will allow businesses to track their inventory and ensure compliance with relevant safety regulations. In a cold storage facility, companies can track their products using barcodes and RFID tags.
However, a challenge with these identifiers is that the cold temperatures may cause the hardening of the adhesives, which can lead to the falling of the labels. Businesses can overcome this by using specialized adhesives designed for low temperatures.
Racks should be labelled with low-temperature adhesives to ensure product safety and easier traceability. In addition, you should use warehouse management software to keep track of products stored in the facility.
A cold storage warehouse must balance between maintaining the correct temperature and energy efficiency. This can be challenging as businesses strive to reduce their carbon footprint and operating costs.
One way to overcome this challenge is to use compact storage systems. Compact storage systems use less energy than traditional storage systems. This is because, in this system, products are stored in smaller spaces, which requires less energy to maintain the correct temperature.
Another way to increase energy efficiency is to use Mobile racking systems. Mobile racking systems have the ability to move, which means that they can be moved to areas that are cooler or warmer depending on the needs of the products stored in them.
Worker exposure to cold
Spending extended periods of time in a cold environment can lead to health problems for workers. This is why it’s important for businesses to take steps to protect their workers.
Some of the ways to protect workers from the cold include:
-Provide them with proper clothing, including protective gloves.
-Equipment buttons should be suitably sized for workers to operate while wearing gloves.
Cold storage warehouses present some challenges that need to be considered to maintain product safety and quality. Businesses can overcome these challenges and ensure that their products are stored safely by using airlock systems, dehumidifiers, and temperature-controlled loading docks. In addition, compact storage and mobile racking systems can help increase the facility’s energy efficiency. Finally, it is important to take steps to protect workers from cold exposure by providing them with proper clothing and equipment.