Optimizing Efficiency in Deep-Freeze Warehouses

For decades, the vast majority of deep-freeze warehouses have been manually-operated facilities with workers operating lift trucks to move pallets of frozen products. However, increased consumer demand for frozen food products and a highly competitive market with low margins, prompted supply chain owners to turn to high-bay deep-freeze warehouses, equipped with streamlined logistics processes. Hence, the demand for automated high-bay deep-freeze warehouses has been enjoying strong growth rates in the past years due to their ability to ensure supply line product integrity as well as more cost and energy efficient warehouse operations. This growth is enhanced by a number of factors unique to high-bay deep-freeze systems, including:

  • A seamless link on the supply chain for the storage of products at sub-zero temperatures
  • Faster receiving and retrieval of deep-freeze products
  • Immediate tracking and identification of products in the facility
  • Improved inventory and order fulfillment accuracy
  • Reduced staff recruitment and retention problems in deep-freeze jobs

Aisle served by stacker crane at -28° C

 

Automation Designed for Deep-Freeze

The most efficient high-bay, deep-freeze warehouses feature a high density of space utilization coupled with streamlined automation (see Swisslog’s most recent white paper on deep-freeze). Advanced automation designed for deep-freeze to increase efficiency includes:

ASRS Optimizes Throughput and Energy Efficiency – ASRS allow inventory to be moved quickly, safely and precisely in a warehouse environment. When applied to a sub-zero warehouse, ASRS produce dramatic results, making a deep-freeze facility as efficient as an automated ambient or chilled warehouse.

Automated Case Picking Speeds Product Handling – Manual case picking in deep-freeze facilities poses significant challenges, both to maintaining product integrity and to the safety and retention of workers. Automated case picking solutions eliminate those challenges. One option is to pick cases in an area that is just below or above freezing – automatically removes and returns pallets from and into the deep-freeze for storage. The more advanced pick solutions allow fully automated case picking to take place inside the deep-freeze without any workers needed.

Swisslog’s white paper on deep-freeze

Swisslog’s white paper on deep-freeze

Modular Conveyors Enhance Flexibility – Transporting unit loads in and out of the deep-freeze requires a conveyor system capable of continuous operation in this extremely cold, harsh environment. Latest conveying systems provide a unique flexibility for handling product in deep-freeze down to -28° C (-18 °F). Their modular set-up integrates chain conveyors, roller conveyors, transfer units, turntables, vertical conveyors, and pallet carriers and dispensers.

Load Tracking and Validation Improve Product Reliability – High-bay deep-freeze warehouses are ideal candidates for the precise and efficient tracking of frozen food products due to their highly-automated and computer-controlled systems. The warehouses‘ WMS, along with PLCs in the ASRS and modular conveying system, are capable of monitoring pallet moving, production dates and weight as the unit loads and cases are moved through and stored in the facility.

Conclusion

The frozen food market is continuing to expand – it actually is one of the fastest growing segments of the food and beverage industry. For companies to stay competitive in this changing environment, they must ensure that their facilities can meet the demands of retailers. The case for automated high-bay deep-freeze facilities is compelling. Those companies that embrace such solutions will feel most comfortable even in a frosty environment.

4 Responses to Optimizing Efficiency in Deep-Freeze Warehouses

  1. Bubi says:

    Deep thought! Thanks for contriubitng.

  2. Lynda says:

    It’s great to read something that’s both enjoyable and porivdes pragmatisdc solutions.

  3. Jakayla says:

    All of these articles have saved me a lot of headhaces.

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