One of the less-discussed aspects of cold storage warehouses is their maintenance. Providing a controlled environment requires all the machinery, equipment and human resources to be fine-tuned for maintaining the storage parameters on optimal levels during the entire period. Failing to maintain the temperature will directly result in the stored products losing their fitness to use, which automatically translates to financial losses as well as your reputation.
The demand for cold storage warehousing is constantly increasing as supply chains continue to expand in various markets. By 2026, the cold storage market is expected to touch $217.59 billion, registering a CAGR of 11.71% during the forecast period of 2019-2026. As a part of our efforts to educate our clients at Solutions PL, here’s a quick introduction to maintenance best practices applied at cold storage warehouses that will help you manage your cold storage facility better while paying enough attention to your employees’ safety. Let’s begin:
Implement A Periodic Maintenance Program For All Refrigeration Equipment
The equipment used in cold storage warehousing is designed to sustain low temperatures as per desired parameters, and thus, it is necessary to implement a periodic maintenance program. This will make sure that all your equipment, right from heat exchangers to insulation, is in proper working condition. Every product has its specific temperature range that needs to be maintained throughout the storage period, and thus, implementing a periodic maintenance schedule will ensure that they aren’t disturbed during the storage period.
The mechanical devices, sensors, hydraulic equipment, material handling equipment, and automation equipment need to be serviced by qualified professionals. Doing so in a planned manner will also help reduce the cost of maintenance activities and put less burden on your staff since breakdowns will be prevented to a large extent.
Adopt SOPs And Provide Personal Safety Gear To Your Employees
The maintenance and operation of your cold warehousing facility should incorporate best practices as a part of your SOPs. This includes operating various equipment, servicing procedures, and even their safety gear. It is necessary that your staff works with appropriate personal safety equipment since it lowers the risk of faulty operations that may ultimately damage the equipment.
It is necessary that your staff use proper cold storage warehouse management software to ensure that all processes are executed in a coordinated, timely manner. For instance, if your employees don’t have access to personal gear to keep them warm, they might try to keep the doors open frequently or try to go to warmer areas frequently, which will ultimately compromise the stored items’ fitness to use.
Utilize Automation To Perform Maintenance Operations
Automation can be a useful tool when it comes to implementing maintenance best practices since it allows you to perform repetitive tasks frequently and with high accuracy. Investing in solutions like an Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) is a good way to boost your operations but at the same time, installing automation equipment to streamline maintenance is equally necessary. This includes devices that help you with monitoring your equipment health, cleaning, and lubing.
Using automated tools to perform basic processes such as descaling can help you reduce the complexity of performing regular checkups. This is due to the fact that such processes often require human operators to invest considerable amounts of time in getting acclimated before the actual work begins.
Track The Energy Utilization Rates For Monitoring Device Health
It is no secret that energy utilization is among the topmost concerning factors for cold storage owners. It can vary depending on the operating conditions, stored items, and how frequently the facility is opened and closed. Losing the chilled air within the storage chambers is, by all means, a negative factor for thermal efficiency. Using strip doors and flex walls is a great way to minimize temperature variations, but at the same time, understanding device health is equally necessary.
Energy audits can be extremely useful in discovering the equipment health since any loss in efficiency would lead to disclosing the issues. It helps to keep the refrigeration and insulation equipment in pristine condition while allowing you to allocate resources in a tractable manner.
It is no surprise that cold storages are more maintenance heavy and that they require special attention since the functioning of different machinery is instrumental to their revenue generation. It should be noted that the warehouse management system by PL Solutions can be a powerful tool since it enables smooth planning and execution of various processes, as covered above. We hope that this article gives you a better idea regarding the role of computerized solutions and best practices in making cold storage warehouse maintenance easier to approach.