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Home>Automation>Automated storage>Deep freeze handling and storage solution
Home>Warehouse Storage>Cold storage>Deep freeze handling and storage solution

Deep freeze handling and storage solution

26 February 2013

Swisslog worked in collaboration with Norbert Dentressangle to consider all the opportunities and challenges facing a new installation.

As one of the few companies able to offer a full turn-key solution including the building, Swisslog was able to not only oversee the construction of a new facility, but also develop the existing infrastructure and connect the two.

The process begins when palletised products arrive in a cool temperature controlled area from manufacturers. After being checked and scanned, the pallets are slaved where required and a special push unit straightens out any insecure loads.

Conveyors then lead the pallets to the highbay for storage at deep freeze conditions. Increased storage in the highbay was achieved through a variety of initiatives, including six Vectura standard deep-freeze cranes capable of storing pallets double deep within the harsh conditions, as cold as minus 28 deg C.

Working in such temperature conditions presents a number of challenges – cables and steel are likely to shrink, plastic becomes brittle and fragile, many oils freeze and standard pallet cranes are simply unable to cope with the conditions. Swisslog’s Vectura cranes are equipped with freeze-resistant materials to deal with the environment.

Special motors and drives are fitted, high grade oils are added to gearboxes, whilst heated cabinets offer protection to vulnerable parts. Other elements of the installation, such as steel structures that are subjected to stress, are impact strength tested for minus 30 degrees Celsius, and other plastic parts are adapted specifically for cold resistance.

Temperature is obviously a crucial issue, and a host of measures are taken to not only ensure that key components are insulated or heated if needed, but also that excess heat is not created to compromise the integrity of the installation.

Further economies are made as the solution even re-uses the energy cooling the chilled environment to heat nearby offices. Once stored, products are picked for dispatch via VoicePick, a voice-operated retrieval system. Picked pallets are then brought to ground level before being shrink wrapped and transported to a special staging zone prior to being dispatched onto trucks. 

The whole process is completed in a matter of minutes, keeping products at maximum integrity and the warehouse at optimum efficiency.

A high tech fire protection system adds another layer of reassurance, eliminating the need for sprinklers thanks to an innovative fire protection system that is activated in the event of fire.

Energy conscious and efficient, the site is built for growth, easily capable of simultaneously moving over 130 pallets in and out.

Delivered in two phases, on time and within budget, the whole project has delivered more storage space whilst reducing operational costs. Having improved the efficiency of the reception of goods and delivered on the expected level of productivity, the installation has also had the added benefit of motivating those working within it.

Aside from the confidence engendered from having a single source supplier, designing, constructing and overseeing the project at all levels, Norbert Dentressangle has been able to develop the combined brown and green field site with minimal disruption.

A new facility, with the potential for further expansion, now sits neatly alongside the existing, enhanced, operation. With the successful collaboration of both parties, the future looks bright for the start of a long term and productive relationship.