The pressure is on food and drink supply chains to keep perishable goods in perfect condition from farm to fork, setting the bar high for cold storage operations.

Starting with materials handling, cold stores are one of the toughest working environments for forklifts. The sub-zero temperatures affect trucks’ battery capacity, electronics, lubrication and drivers’ ability to operate them. Toyota’s truck range works effectively down to 0°C without modification, but below that, the company says most of its trucks need to be engineered for cold store use. Some trucks require little modification: Toyota BT Levio pallet trucks and BT Staxio stacker trucks simply need lowtemperature hydraulic oil.

Specialist articulated forklift manufacturer Aisle-Master’s cold store forklift truck allows greater user performance and efficiency in very cold conditions. Winner of the award for Innovation at the 2013 FLTA’s Awards, the cold store fork lift’s enclosed heated cab allows users to work comfortably in cold conditions.

Doors are another important part of cold storage operations. BID Group’s Klimate K2 High Speed Freezer Doors are heavy duty, robust doors which can be installed on either the chilled, ambient or freezer side of the opening. The air defrost system ensures the door remains ice and condensation free.

For food distribution companies looking to keep large spaces cool and hygienic, sara LBS offers several door and loading bay solutions, providing high insulation levels. Starting from the coldest, frozen food areas need to be kept very cold, with sliding doors lined with around 120mm of insulation. For chilled areas that need protecting from ambient, outside temperatures, the next level down from sliding doors is sara LBS’ range of Sprint insulated, high-speed roller shutter doors, available with 40mm or 80mm of insulation and typically installed between production floors and loading bays. In chilled food distribution centres, sara LBS recommends the outer sides of loading bays are fitted with inflatable vehicle shelters, keeping chilled air in and warmer air out. In warehouses with different temperature levels, they recommend high speed roller curtain doors.

Union Industries’ Eiger Door has become the favoured quick access traffic door for food retailers, 3PL cold storage and distribution, and frozen food manufacturers since its launch in 2002. In common with Union’s other rapid action doors, Eiger Door also boasts the ‘Crash- Out & Auto-Reset’ feature ensuring doors can operate after impact.

Finally, the TCS&D Show on 25th-26th June at Peterborough’s East of England Arena is the UK’s only dedicated event for the cold storage and distribution sector, the perfect platform for reviewing the latest products and services for the temperature-controlled storage and distribution sector. Some exhibitors are reporting a spike in demand for cold storage solutions:

“We’ve seen significant growth in our contract wins for cold stores recently,” says Martin Taylor, Estimating Manager at ISD Solutions, the cold store construction contractor, “and while it’s impossible to say categorically this is a result of Brexit, we are fairly confident that’s the case. We are seeing opportunities for distribution centres and food warehouses as businesses either look to store more product here in case of a nodeal Brexit, or bring manufacturing facilities home to produce goods for UK consumption.”

BILL REDMOND

Features Editor