Basics of Cold Storage and Refrigerated Warehousing
March 20, 2020
What are the basics of cold storage and refrigerated warehousing?
- It requires the adoption of suspended ceilings
- It needs efficient ventilation management
- Proper refrigeration systems should be adopted
- It should have controlled humidity levels
- It needs adequate storage space
- It relies on the cold chain model
Perishable products need to reach their destination in a much faster time compared to non-perishable items. In this situation, it would be wise to think about environmental factors which help these kinds of products retain their quality. Therefore, it is best to learn about the basics of cold storage to better understand the situation.
Simply put, cold storage or refrigerated warehousing refers to a system utilized in order to store goods which need to be in optimal temperatures to retain their freshness. If proper cold storage warehouse practices are adopted, spoilage, rotting, and other kinds of product damage can be avoided.
Continue reading to learn more about cold storage and refrigerated warehousing.
It requires the adoption of suspended ceilings
In cold storage warehousing, the build-up of water and ice is inevitable. Despite best efforts to constantly maintain the temperature at an optimal level, external factors might still cause varying temperature changes which can lead to the situation mentioned above.
For this reason, it’s important that cold storage warehousing adopts good structural practices like installing suspended ceilings in the warehouse. Also known as drop ceilings, these types of ceilings should be placed under drainage areas where water droplets are likely to fall.
By incorporating suspended ceilings into your warehouse, always ensure that they support additional weight or load.
It needs efficient ventilation management
Another aspect that you should look out for when it comes to cold storage warehouses, is the efficiency of the warehouse’s ventilation systems. Maintaining proper temperature levels and reducing instances of the formation of snow, ice, or water puddles are just some of the best-refrigerated warehouse practices that need to be considered.
Cold storage warehouses typically employ the use of evaporators in order to limit the flow of air inside the facilities. Simply put, the function of an evaporator is to remove pockets of high temperature in the air.
Apart from installing evaporators, cold storage facilities should also utilize rapid roller doors for the benefit of the employees present in the warehouse. The purpose of these doors is to separate warm temperature environments from low-temperature environments, without any compromise on the latter. This is also to allow the movement of employees from one area to another.
Proper refrigeration systems should be adopted
The refrigeration system of cold storage can be considered as the most essential component in refrigerated warehousing. Refrigeration systems, after all, are responsible for producing the temperature required in order to house the goods and products inside a warehouse for longer periods.
Cold storage operations typically make use of either a vapor compression refrigeration system or a vapor absorption refrigeration system. While the former is more commonly used than the latter, it would be important to note the differences between the two.
A vapor compression system would have to utilize a high-grade energy source like mechanical or electrical energy in order to operate the compressor in the refrigeration system. A vapor absorption system, on the other hand, can fully function with low-grade energy sources like exhaust, steam, or even solar power.
It should have controlled humidity levels
Food is the most common product that comes to mind when talking about perishable items. These items can easily undergo chemical changes such as spoilage and rotting as they experience prolonged exposure to sub-optimal environments. Two of the most common types of bacteria, which food items are susceptible to, include E. coli and salmonella.
It is for this reason that a good cold storage warehouse would need to have industrial dehumidifiers in order to reduce the level of humidity in the environment. Compounded with consistent maintenance checks, a cold warehouse storage manager would be able to fully utilize these instruments in such a highly temperature-controlled environment.
It needs adequate storage space
Focusing more on the structural aspects of a cold storage facility, adequate storage space is required in order for operations to run smoothly. The dimensions of your warehouse are what defines how many products it can house and how easily mobility can be achieved.
Warehouses have dense pockets of areas with high-traffic — meaning objects like carts or machines would have to constantly pass through these areas. To allow more freedom for movement and mobility for these objects as well as warehouse employees, these areas should be spacious for higher passability.
When drafting your cold storage facility, make sure to avoid leaving out unnecessarily wide or tight spaces. Easier mobility can have trickle-down effects on how efficiently warehouse operations are conducted, as well as how productive the employees would be.
It relies on the cold chain model
While the focus has largely been on proper refrigeration and storage of goods, the quality of refrigerated warehousing management can only be truly measured by considering external factors.
Cold chain simply refers to the path which the products take — from the procurement, to the transport, and finally, to the storage.
For example, in the level of transportation, a good supplier of cold warehouse storage services would also have to consider having in its arsenal a fleet of refrigerated trucks. These trucks ensure that the products would reach the warehouse in good condition.
When it finally comes to the deployment of these products to the customers (supermarkets, food facilities, retail facilities, and whatnot), an efficient cold chain system would guarantee that the products would satisfactorily reach their final points of distribution in pristine condition.
Good refrigerated warehousing can be determined by many factors outside of the main refrigeration process. Structural factors and good cold storage warehouse maintenance methods should also be considered.
This article has hopefully helped in equipping you with adequate information on what you need to know about cold storage.