What things should you consider when you are installing rack in a cold storage facility?
Warehouse operation in industrial freezer facilities requires special care to ensure that you have a safe and long lasting system. A few factors to consider:
1. Damage Control:
Due to the harsh operating conditions, freezer rack is typically subject to much higher damage rates than are normally seen in ambient conditions. For this reason, the majority of freezer facilities have adapted structural rack systems with doubled front columns and end aisle protection. Reinforced structural rack systems are subject to significantly less damage and lower maintenance costs compared with roll form. Best practice is for aisles to be at least 12” greater than the minimum recommended by the lift equipment suppliers.
Freezer space is expensive to build and maintain. For that reason, most operators will select one of the many high density options to maximize pallet storage (VNA –Very Narrow Aisle, Double Deep Reach, Pushback, Drive In, Semi Automated shuttles). All of these systems easily adapt to the freezer environment.
3. Dock Humidity & Icing Control:
If loading dock humidity is not carefully controlled, the facility may experience icing problems, especially around the doors. Icing in the facility can cause lift equipment to slip and lose traction as well as create a slip and fall risk for operators. Icing on dynamic systems or automation can interfere with sensors and proper system automation.
Due to the high cost to build and operate the facilities, there is a rapidly growing trend towards high density automated ASRS systems, often cranes, with moles or autonomous 3D carts. Automation also reduces the number of staff and maintenance workers required to run the facility.