High Density in a Freezer or Refrigerator for Cold Storage
If you’re setting up or upgrading your cold storage facilities, you should think ahead. Most warehouses face the problem of storage space as they grow. The situation is even more critical in the case of cold storage.
As we’ll see later in this article, the operating cost is significantly higher for freezers and refrigerators. This cost rises sharply with an increase in the storage area. The basic idea is to implement high density storage in refrigerated areas for cold storage.
Setting up a cold storage facility mandates the knowledge of high density storage for optimal space usage and future scalability. You must consider the following points while working on a cold storage project:
- Space optimization
- Cold-resistant racking material
- Reduction in loading and unloading times
- Temperature uniformity
- Facilitating access to unit loads
What Is High Density Storage?
The fundamental problem with static storage is the space it uses. This issue is not because of the shelves but the space that the aisles take between them. It may seem that shelves are accessible, but in reality, no one is using these aisles all the time.
Not only does static storage take up space that could be better utilized, but it also increases the cost of lighting and HVAC. In cold storage, this cost difference is substantial as the entire storage space needs temperature control. You can reduce this space by using mobile shelving or high-density storage in general.
Typically, only 20% of your cold-storage aisles are being used at any given time. You can reduce this space requirement by half by using high density storage and lower your cooling costs.
How High Density Mobile Shelving Works
High density shelving uses mobile carriages attached to floor tracks. New or existing shelves sit on top of these carriages. These shelves are compatible and reduce aisle space by allowing only one or two access aisles at a time. Designers can change this number based on the expected levels of activity.
You can access different aisles by the turn of a handle or push of a button. It is even possible to move up to six aisles at once.
Benefits of High Density Mobile Shelving
There are several advantages of using high density mobile shelving. Some of these benefits include:
- Extra floorspace: It reduces the storage floorspace by half, making it possible to store twice the amount of items in the same space as fixed shelves.
- Easy modifications: High density mobile shelves are easier to relocate and or modify as needed. If a storage facility needs even more space, they might decide to relocate or expand. In either case, there won’t be the same hassle as it would be with traditional static storage units.
- Improved revenue flow: With these mobile shelves, you can use the extra space to increase your warehouse’s storage capacity. Alternatively, you can use the shelving for other activities, such as production lines or work stations that’ll generate actual revenue.
- Lower energy costs: High density mobile shelves significantly reduce the energy cost for maintaining the temperature or the lighting.
- Eliminates construction downtime: Mobile storage racks make it easy to modify the premises with minimal or no new construction requirements. The resulting downtime is also significantly less.
- Better organization: It helps keep storage organized with proper indexing and labeling, increasing employee productivity.
- Better look and feel: Lastly, these storage shelves come in different colors and finishes. There might be a misconception that it is a technical solution with little attention to aesthetics. However, you have various material treatment choices to suit your cold storage facility’s look and feel.
Challenges in Cold Storage
One of the primary expenses of cold storage facilities is the cost related to power consumption. The average cost of commercial energy consumption in the United States in 2018 was 10.67 cents per kilowatt-hour. That’s just the amount for a standard storage facility. The overhead cost of cold storage is considerably higher.
Energy efficiency becomes particularly important in cold storage facilities. They have to operate 24 hours, consuming high amounts of electrical power. Simultaneously, the cost of energy continues to increase by as much as 33% since 2004. Since a facility housing cold storage is three times energy-intensive as a standard warehouse, costs add up quickly.
Warehouses must be able to scale up their operations to cater to a more extensive customer base and deal with the supply chain’s changing complexities, which adds pressure to the existing inventory. There are also regulations for cold storage warehouses that can be a challenge to deal with. Globalization provides some lucrative prospects, but they also come with rules and regulations varying from country to country.
For example, the FDA mandates the use of specific hardware and practices for preventing adulteration through utensils or pallets. In this situation, regular inspection is crucial. Having organized and mobile racking makes it easy. The mobile components are made of the recommended materials, and any change in the reference standards can be adopted with ease when you have high density cold storage shelving.
High Density Cold Storage Configurations
Designers can execute high density cold storage using various solutions, such as the ones provided below.
Mobile Racks for Freezers
Mobile racking is a compact storage option that you can adopt to freezer designs that can withstand temperatures as low as -4ºF. Some options, such as stainless steel racks for freezer storage, can sustain even lower temperatures. Using mobile shelves in cold storage helps achieve various storage goals.
- Storage Visibility: Mobile racking provides increased storage capacity and improved visibility of items, which can be useful for various applications such as handling mixed-product pallets and smaller batches.
- Reduced Energy Costs: Mobile racking is a way of implementing high density storage, which means it can densely compact the storage. It lowers the overall energy costs by reducing the space requirement. At the same time, it also significantly lowers the cost per pallet.
- Improved Productivity: The simple tasks as moving a particular pallet can have significant implications on workers’ productivity, considering the size of the operation. High density storage means you have to walk less and sort through less number of items than before. This change in the storage system improves productivity by both reducing exertion and reducing fatigue. For cold storage facilities, it becomes even more critical as lower temperatures are difficult to operate in.
- Compliance: Cold storage facilities need to follow strict regulations to avoid high penalties for non-compliance. It is easier to meet the various rules and regulations when you’re using mobile racks as they can easily accommodate any changes in cold storage regulations.
Compact Mobile Carriages In Cold Storage
Compact mobile storage has benefits in both the pain areas, namely labor and energy.
- Save Space: High density mobile carriages allow storing more in less space, providing better accessibility, organization, and ergonomics.
- Use Existing Racking: You can design the compact mobile carriages to work with existing cold storage racks, pallet or heavy-duty racking, or a combination of the two. Using existing racking can help you reduce the cost of reconstruction.
- Withstand Extreme Temperatures: Compact mobile carriages can withstand freezing temperatures as low as -40F or even further.
- Less Air Escape: As the coolers are densely-packed with twice the number of pallets, there is lower air escape, which further reduces the operational cost.
- Decreased Labor Costs: Labor costs are also less, as mobile racks reduce the miles per shift of an average worker. Improved accessibility and visibility eliminates unnecessary movements, which also leads to better worker efficiency.
- Improved Space Usage: Activities such as kitting, repacking, labeling, and fulfillment services take up priority when it comes to usage of space.
- Maintaining Storage Standards: Mobile carriages help you move closer to the 5 Ss: sorting, straightening, shining, standardizing, and sustaining.
- Pallets in Cold Storage: Energy efficiency in a cold storage facility relies not only on temperature control but also on the pallet racking system’s compaction. Using the right pallets, you can significantly reduce the cost per cubic meter of cold storage.
Summing Up High Density Cold Storage
A high density cold storage system cuts costs by optimizing the two main factors: space and power consumption. With the right combination of simple machinery, you can achieve up to a significant increase in the storage capacity of your cold storage. The new setup facilitates the maximum use of space.
- There’s reduced energy consumption due to a reduction in the space to cool
- It provides direct access to all loads
- Reduces the operating costs by making optimum use of space
Contact Us for High Density Storage
Southwest Solutions Group® provides design and installation services for high density storage systems in refrigerators, freezers, and cold storage applications. Our experts will help you find the right high density system depending on your unique storage requirements. For more information or to speak with a specialist, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.