If you have a cold storage warehouse, you will appreciate the costs involved not only in building the facility but in maintaining it at a constant low or sub-zero temperature.
The energy bills for this type of warehouse can be a large outlay for any organization. Therefore, it makes sense for your business to have the smallest cold storage warehouse possible to meet your needs and to maximize the storage capacity within.
Optimum storage use is key, otherwise you are spending money on keeping your warehouse cold and not getting the best use from the space.
It is here that you need to be clever with the type of pallet racking you invest in to get the best from your cold store.
Option 1 – MOBILE pallet racking
MOBILE pallet racking is an excellent option for a cold store warehouse facility. It offers a very high-density storage option, because it reduces the number of aisles needed.
A MOBILE pallet racking system allows you to move whole racks along, creating aisles exactly where you need them, to give you easy access to the items stored.
MOBILE racking is moved electronically or manually, opening and closing aisles as necessary, allowing speedy access for a forklift, which can quickly and safely drive in to pick up or deposit pallets, as required.
This is a popular and extremely effective option for cold store warehouses, particularly when a large range of stock needs to be kept.
Option 2 – SHUTTLE racking
SHUTTLE racking for cold stores is another option and offers a perfect semi-automated solution.
As with mobile pallet racking, shuttle racking allows for high density storage. It is particularly well suited to cold stores which carry a smaller range of products but needing high volume storage.
The shuttle machine is used to collect the pallets from the loading side and move them within the block. This system can be accessed from one end (LIFO) or both ends (FIFO) depending on the preferred operation. The forklift manoeuvring is reduced to a minimum, which cuts the time taken for retrieve and despatch, making the operation more efficient and decreases the risk of damage.
Option 3 – PUSHBACK racking
If you need to access the products in your cold store on a LIFO (last in, first out) basis then PUSHBACK racking is an ideal solution.
Under this system, roller beds or a cart system is integrated within the racking. With each new pallet loaded, the existing ones are pushed back – and when a pallet is removed, gravity allows the one behind to roll forward. Both loading & unloading are made from the same side of the block, meaning there is no need for a forklift to enter the system. A wide range of pallets & pallet orientations can be used with this type of storage.
PUSHBACK racking is ideal for cold stores where smaller batches of products are carried, perhaps where there is a relatively high turnover, and where forklifts need to make regular access.
Option 4 – drive-in / drive-through racking
DRIVE-IN and DRIVE-THROUGH racking for cold stores is a more traditional approach and one often adopted where forklifts need frequent access, while at the same time offering a relatively high-density solution.
With DRIVE-IN pallet racking, forklifts are driven in from one side to restock or to pull out items. With DRIVE-THROUGH pallet racking, forklift drivers can enter the rack from either side to deposit or select pallets. Loading and unloading are made in a specific order and it best suits an operation that works with batches of products.
This option represents a lower level of investment for installation but may not meet the criteria of getting optimum storage. If you need high stock rotation or if access to individual pallets is required, then DRIVE-IN / DRIVE-THROUGH racking may not be the best solution.
There is also a higher risk of damage from forklifts, as these will enter the block to retrieve the pallets, so the costs of repair and replacement may need to be factored into your budget as well as the extra time used to manoeuvre within the block.
It is clear there are several options for cold store racking to choose from. Which one best suit your operation will depend on the set up of your warehouse, the range of goods you are storing and in what quantities, and how high or low their turnover is.
If you would like more advice on what type of pallet racking would suit your cold storage facility, please get in touch. We would be happy to help.