Implementing Automation in Cold Storage Facilities: Addressing Industry Challenges
Automation has become increasingly prevalent in various industries, including cold storage facilities. These facilities play a crucial role in supporting companies like meat and poultry producers, and the need for efficient operations has led many cold storage companies to invest in state-of-the-art automated systems.
One of the major advantages of automation in cold storage facilities is its ability to address two significant industry challenges: labor and energy. By implementing automated solutions, cold storage facilities can reduce labor costs and energy consumption, ultimately increasing their profitability.
To illustrate the benefits of automation, let’s take a look at two case studies: Cold Point Logistics and Agile Cold Storage. These leading cold chain logistics providers partnered with us to build and install systems that streamline the handling of pallet loads.
Safety and space utilization were key considerations in both projects. We aimed to minimize the number of touches and movements throughout the facilities, as well as eliminate the need for forklift movements between different areas. Transitioning from deep freezer temperatures to normal freezer storage can cause damage to electronics and products, leading to increased forklift maintenance requirements and costs.
To address these challenges, we focused on reducing forklift use and developed conveyor systems that transport frozen products with freezer spacers from the freezer to the loading dock. Custom flow designs were created to accommodate each client’s building size and shape. The products then travel along staging conveyors and into our pallet spacer recovery system.
In the semi-automatic pallet spacer recovery system, the products are secured, tipped 90 degrees, and a powered skate table positions the boxes to assist the operator in removing the spacers. Once the spacers are removed, the machine automatically tips up, unclamps the load, and discharges the product onto exit conveyors.
For Cold Point Logistics, after the product leaves the spacer recovery system, it is transported directly to a stretch wrapper. The stretch wrapper automatically secures the film and wraps the loads. The products can then be returned to the freezer for long-term storage or sent to the shipping or export dock for container loading.
Our semi-automatic solutions have proven to be highly efficient, allowing both companies to achieve a throughput of 30-40 loads per hour per machine. This eliminates the need for operators to wait for someone else to place a load into the machine, as was the case with standalone units. With a reduced number of employees required for this application, our customers have seen a full return on investment in fewer than two years.
If you’re looking to increase throughput in your cold storage facility, consider implementing automation. It can help lower labor and energy costs while improving overall efficiency. At Cherry’s Industrial Equipment, we offer a range of freezer spacer removal products to meet your specific needs. Contact us today to learn more about our solutions and how they can benefit your facility.