The Most Complete Guide To Cold Storage Racking (2023)

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In today’s progressive and evolving world, cold storage racks have become an essential requirement. With the need to store items in a controlled environment, these racks offer a reliable solution. By utilizing cold storage racks, you can ensure the preservation of perishable products for extended periods, effectively prolonging their shelf life.

A cold storage system serves as an ideal storage solution for perishable items such as food and medicines. By employing cold storage racks, you can enjoy a multitude of benefits. One significant advantage is the increased storage capacity it offers, enabling you to maximize your storage capabilities. Additionally, this system ensures efficient cold distribution, providing an energy-efficient feature that promotes optimal preservation.

In the following sections, we will delve into comprehensive details about cold storage racking. Without further delay, let’s begin exploring the intricacies of this specialized storage solution.

cold storage rack
cold storage rack

What Is A Cold Storage Racking System and Why Is It Used?

Cold storage racking refers to an industrial racking system specifically engineered to accommodate temperature-sensitive products. These racking systems are utilized within temperature-controlled facilities where cold air is uniformly distributed among the pallet racks, ensuring optimal storage conditions.

The key objective of implementing a cold storage system is to optimize storage space utilization within a controlled temperature environment. To achieve this, the racks are meticulously designed to resist rust and withstand extreme temperatures, ensuring durability and longevity.

In the storage facility, a vertical arrangement is employed, leaving ample space for air circulation to ensure the cold permeates all around the products. This efficient airflow among and between the items plays a crucial role in maintaining their safety and integrity.

What Products Can Be Stored in Cold Storage Racking?

Following are the products that are temperature sensitive and should be stored in the cold storage system to maintain their quality and integrity:

  • Perishable food items
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Chemicals (that need a specific environment to be stored)

Advantages of Cold Storage Racking Systems.

Cold storage serves as a sophisticated logistics solution that maintains items at low temperatures until they reach the end users. Consequently, there are numerous advantages associated with utilizing such storage racking. Let us now delve into exploring these benefits.

cold storage pallet rack
cold storage pallet rack
  • The cold chain keeps the temperature-sensitive items intact. Breaking the cold chain can result in some serious issues. These issues might include:
  1. Premature deterioration of the products
  2. Products can lose their properties
  3. Growth of bacteria
  4. Growth of microorganisms that can harm humans
  • Cold chain should be continued until the product is delivered. Therefore, it is important to pay special attention to all the supply chain operations. That is from storing the goods, transportation, loading, and unloading of items.
  • Cold room storage racks can be the perfect solution to get throughput out of the storage facility. It happens because of the fact that cold storage racks utilize the storage spaces within the storage capacity at their maximum. This way goods can be handled perfectly and it speeds up the process as well.
  • There is direct access to the storage systems when we install cold room storage spaces. Standard pallet racks and high-density racking systems can be installed for such purposes. Standard pallet racks provide operators to have direct access to SKU but the surface area is not used properly that’s why high-density racking can help here. 

With high-density racking, you can boost storage capacity and utilize your storage area in a better way but they lack direct access to all the goods.

  • It helps the employees easily access and retrieves the products. It increases productivity and this racking system helps to store the items organized, and accessible which reduces the time to get them in hurry.
  • Cold storage racks are designed to be durable and sturdy. Because of this very reason, it is a safe and reliable racking option for sensitive products that require specific handling and storage procedures.
  • The best part about cold storage racks is that they can be customized according to the requirement of the specific product. Businesses can custom make their racking with the varying sizes, shapes, and different requirements of the products.
  • If the temperature-sensitive items are kept in a cold storage rack in a proper manner, it can help to reduce waste. It also improves product quality. Products can be saved from spoilage, and damage and their shelf life can be extended.

How to Know If Temperature-Sensitive Products Get Spoiled in Cold Storage?

Proper monitoring of temperature-sensitive products in cold storage is essential to prevent spoilage and ensure product quality. Here’s how you can promptly detect any interruptions or deviations:

  • Crystallization of the goods
  • Unattractive appearance
  • Spoilage
  • Poor condition
  • Sometimes, there are some drugs that cannot be easily identified, so there are some other ways for them to check.

But here are some ways to determine if your products have spoiled in cold storage:

  1. Check Product Appearance

One of the easiest ways to tell if a product has spoiled is to check its appearance. For example, if you’re storing fruits or vegetables, look for signs of discoloration, mold growth, or other visible signs of decay. If you’re storing pharmaceuticals, check for discoloration, unusual texture, or other physical changes. This way it is easier to identify the damages or spoilage.

  1. Use Temperature Monitoring Devices

Temperature monitoring devices can be used to track the temperature of your cold storage in real-time. These devices can alert you to any changes in temperature that could affect your products. If the temperature of your cold storage is not maintained within the specified range, it could lead to spoilage or damage to your products.

  1. Check for Unusual Odors

Certain products may produce unusual odors if they have spoiled. For example, spoiled dairy products can produce a sour smell, while spoiled meat may produce a rotten smell. If you notice any unusual odors, it’s best to inspect the product and determine if it’s still safe to use.

  1. Conduct Periodic Product Inspections

Regularly inspecting your products can help you identify any potential issues before they become major problems. For example, you may want to check the expiration dates of your products, inspect the packaging for damage or leaks, and check for signs of pest infestation.

cold storage racking manufacturer
cold storage racking manufacturer

Considerations for Cold Storage Solutions.

You need to consider the following key features while going for cold storage systems:

  • A good and clear understanding of loading and unloading units that are organized in a manner that can easily be accessed.
  • The fast and effective transfer of units should be done in order to reduce exposure to temperature differences.
  • Make sure that the space is effectively utilized for cooling all the products which mean uniformity in space should be ensured.
  • Select the most appropriate racking systems that can adhere to extreme weather conditions and temperatures.
  • Keep the layout intelligently designed. Use the available storage space so that the maximum space should be utilized.

Components of Cold Storage Racking System.

In cold storage racking, the following plays an important role that makes the racks stand tall and firm:

(i) Load Beams

These are also called step beams. They are support structures that keep the goods horizontally. Load beams are fit into upright frames.  

(ii) Uprights Frames

Upright frames are the framework for the racking system that is designed according to the warehouse design. Upright frames are the columns that go high as you want them to. This way you can increase your storage capacity. In upright columns, holes are drilled at regular intervals.

(iii) Diagonal Braces

Diagonal braces enhance the strength and rigidity of the racking. Diagonal braces are welded or bolted between two upright columns. These braces are also known as horizontal braces and upright frame lacing.

(iv) Wire Decking

Wire decking is used to ensure safety when storing the items in racking. The wire deck fits horizontal columns. It prevents the material from falling from the racks. The wire mesh is used in the opposite direction so that the dirt does not accumulate on each shelf.

(v) Foot Plated

Foot plates are also known as face plates that are placed at the base of the columns. It increases the stability of the columns.

cold storage warehouse
cold storage warehouse

Commonly Used Cold Storage Racking.

We have compiled the commonly used cold storage racking types which are as follows:

1. Pallet Racking

Cold stores can be composed of different pallet racking systems. It totally depends on the type of product you have and how you want it to be (accessibility). There are different kinds of pallet racking storage systems that can be used for cold storage racking that includes: standard pallet racking, drive-in/ drive-thru racking, shuttle pallet racking, and push-back racking system.

Each type of pallet racking serves different product or logistics needs. For instance, in order to maximize storage capacity, you can install drive-in pallet racks. For agile operations, live pallet racks and push-back racking systems can be the best choice. 

Whereas, to have direct access to your goods and a large storing capacity with varying characteristics, a conventional pallet racking system can work perfectly.

The good news is that you can combine several racking systems within a facility to get your racking as per your product’s demand. Either medium-sized, large storage solution or assigning each product line with a specific need of racking, you can handle various racks in cold storage.

2. Pallet Shuttle System

It is a high-density storage solution where a shuttle can move inside the racking automatically. The pallet shuttle system has two modes which are described as:

  • Semi-Automated Pallet Shuttle

The semi-automated shuttle is operated by a person to place the load on the rails. The pallet shuttle then moves to the allotted location.  This shuttle is used mainly for cold storage with many pallets per SKU.

  •  Automated Pallet Shuttle

Automated pallet shuttle is suitable for medium and high-rise warehouses that have diverse SKUs. The stacker cranes take the goods to their corresponding areas. The shuttles then insert the items into the storage area.

Advantages of Shuttle Racking System

  • Includes both LIFO and FIFO inventory management systems
  • Saves energy by reducing the space to be cooled
  • Remote control of four pallets shuttle can be managed with one remote
  • It increases storage capacity
  • It has reduced loading and unloading times

3. Adjustable Pallet Racking System for Cold Storage

Adjustable pallet racking system uses forklifts to store items in the pallets. The pallets are then approached through aisles where the dimensions vary as per storage need. This racking system is very versatile when it comes to cold storage capacity systems. 

It can be adapted with width, length, and height. It saves you extra storage costs by creating modular and adapted storage solutions. With the galvanized uprights, this pallet racking system can withstand extreme temperatures.

Benefits of Adjustable Pallet Racking System

  • Adaptability
  • Versatility
  • Direct and immediate access
  • Reduced time and effort

4. Mobile Pallet Racking for Cold Storage

A mobile pallet racking system is a compact storage solution that provides access to all the SKUs. It happens when the working aisle is opened then the SKUs kept inside can be directly approached.

Mobile pallet racks are suitable for cold storage and freezer stores. Because the cold airflow is evenly distributed among all the pallets stored there. It reduces the cost per pallet when organized properly.

cold storage pallet racking
cold storage pallet racking

5. Automated Storage (As) and Retrieval Systems (Rs) for Pallets

Standard single or double-deep racks are used for such a system. A stacker crane is in charge of carrying out the goods from the warehouse. It carries the inflow and outflow of items from the warehouse.  The ASRS system deals with large quantities of goods. 

The stacker crane can move fast which is helpful in inserting and removing the pallets both horizontally and vertically. You can increase the capacity size using this system because of the efficient and organized movement of the stacking crane.

6. Automated Mini-Load Warehouse for Boxes

AS/ AR can help manage boxes in cold storage racking systems. Mini-load stacker cranes are used to store the boxes in the racks automatically. This is a perfect solution for the optimal use of storage spaces. Also, you can easily access the goods stored. 

Automation increases productivity which can benefit you both in the short and long term. It provides security and protection to the goods and you can be rest assured from any damages.

Choose the Right Racking for Your Cold Storage System.

When you decide to install a cold storage racking system, then you must consider the following:

  • It maximizes the storage capacity
  • Streamlines access to the goods
  • Minimizes the presence of staff in the warehouse facility
  • Strict control of stored items

However, all the above points are not as easy as they seem. That’s the reason you must consider the following parameters for cold storage system:

  • The inflow and outflow must be good
  • Size of the cold store
  • To install cold generators the space requirement must be as per the standards
  • Quantity of the products to be stored in cold storage
  • Seasonality of the goods
  • Water drainage system
  • Slopes in the pavement (to properly drain the water generated by condensation)
cold storage racking
cold storage racking

Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each pallet racking system. Most companies choose non-automated storage systems for their cold storage. Because non-automated is the simplest and saves you costs in short-term storage systems.

One drawback of using a cold storage system without automation is that the extreme temperatures can cause health issues to the operators if exposed for a prolonged time. Also, without automation, there might be some human errors while picking or managing the products in order.

Installing an automated cold storage system can be costly in the initial stages but it would be recommended to manage your cold storage systems properly. You can benefit from the following using an automated cold storage system:

  • Reduces the staff costs
  • Utilization of maximum space vertically and horizontally
  • Easy traceability
  • Improves productivity
  • Accuracy

What Materials Are Used for Cold Storage Systems?

The material used for cold storage racking depends on various factors, such as the temperature range, the size and weight of the products being stored, and the storage environment’s humidity level. Typically, the most common materials used for cold storage racking are stainless steel, aluminum, and galvanized steel.

Stainless steel is a popular choice for cold storage racking because it is corrosion-resistant, durable, and can withstand extreme temperatures. Aluminum is another material used for cold storage racking due to its lightweight and corrosion-resistant properties. Galvanized steel is also used for cold storage racking as it is rust-resistant and can handle heavier loads.

Other materials such as plastic, composite, and hybrid materials can also be used for cold storage racking. The selection of materials for cold storage racking depends on various factors such as the type of products being stored, the storage environment, and the required storage capacity.

Next Step for the Cold Storage System.

With all the provided information on cold storage racking systems, we hope you are now well aware of which storage racking would be best for you. We are here to help you with finding the best cold storage racking manufacturer. An experienced and talented team can better guide you with what is suitable for your cold storage racking according to your space and product requirements.

The Most Common Items to Be Stored in the Cold Storage System.

The items include perishable items, pharmaceuticals, and many other products that require a temperature-controlled environment.

  • Food and drinks
  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Biopharmaceuticals
  • OTC (Over counter medicines)
  • Skincare items
  • Hospital store items
  • Research medicines

Final Words

In conclusion, a cold storage system plays a crucial role in ensuring the safe storage and preservation of perishable goods, such as food, pharmaceuticals, and vaccines, among others. By maintaining a controlled environment with the right temperature, humidity, and ventilation, a cold storage system can prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, extend the shelf life of products, and reduce the risk of spoilage and waste. 

Additionally, advances in technology have made cold storage systems more efficient, reliable, and eco-friendly, which can benefit both businesses and the environment. Overall, a well-designed and maintained cold storage system is essential for businesses and industries that rely on the safe storage and transportation of temperature-sensitive products.

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