Cold storages are excellent for particular businesses because they stop items from expiring too quickly. They’re also versatile as they can be made to fit your specific requirements, but these must be thoroughly thought through before speaking to a specialist like Ian Hobbs. They also need to be properly maintained to retain their efficiency.
This guide outlines how you can achieve these so that your cold storage helps your business to thrive.
What Is a Cold Storage?
Cold storages do exactly what their name suggests – they store things that need to be cold. They’re commercial facilities that store perishable goods so that they don’t go off too quickly. This is important because it saves businesses and industrial sectors huge sums of money in the long-term because they can keep their products for a longer amount of time, rather than having to throw them away. They generally come in three variations.
First is a ‘long-term storage’ which is a building, or a part of a building, which is built specifically for storing goods for long periods of time. Supermarkets are a good example of a business requiring long-term cold storages.
Second is temporary or short-term cold stores which are usually identified as fridge hire. They can either be modular units, a van, or a trailer, and they’re used by hospitality and food companies at events and festivals.
Third are frozen storages. These are intended to hold items for a longer period of time than long-term and short-term refrigeration storages. This means that they may have modified sealing and different condenser units and ventilation systems. Again, supermarkets require frozen storage.
Who Might Need Cold Storage?
Cold storages have a very broad range of uses and for a number of sectors, from supermarkets to fisheries to medical buildings. These are the most common industries and businesses that use cold storage units and why they’re beneficial to them:
Supermarkets, Warehouses, and Distribution Centres: These types of businesses often hold perishable goods for unknown amounts of time. As a result, they often use both long-term and frozen storage units.
Hospitality Venues: Pubs and restaurants likewise use long-term and frozen storages but they’ll be much smaller than those needed in supermarkets and distribution centres. Plus, they don’t need to hold their stock as long.
Fisheries: Cold storage units are vital for the fishing industry. If they don’t keep their catch at the correct temperature, they’ll quickly perish. Hence, fisheries usually have cold storage units close to their docks to minimise the amount of time that fish are exposed to outside temperatures.
Public Sector Organisations: A lot of public sector organisations need to keep their costs per person to a minimum. To do this, schools, care homes, and hospitals will store large amounts of food in both long-term and frozen storage units.
Medical-related Buildings: ‘Perishable goods’ doesn’t just mean food and drink, it also includes medical goods. A good example is the COVID-19 vaccines which need to be stored in sub-zero degree conditions, bar the Astra-Zeneca vaccine.
Before you go ahead and set up a cold storage, you need to make sure it’s the right fit. If you don’t carefully consider your requirements, and which options will best fit these, then you may face having to refit and remodel the cold storage in the future, or even having to replace the whole thing! To save on these potential long-term costs, here are some primary factors you ought to think through:
Accessibility: Accessibility breaks down into a few sub-factors:
- Firstly, where is the cold storage located in relation to other parts of your business? For example, fisheries have them close to the shore and supermarkets have them next to the customer area.
- The second is accessibility within the cold storage. Will you need to drive a forklift inside the storage unit to lift pallets? If so, then you need to consider how you space your shelving units.
- Thirdly, are there going to be multiple levels to your cold storage? If you don’t want multiple levels then you’ll need to think about how you can utilise all of the unit’s vertical space, if possible.
Door Size: Every time you open the door, you’ll lose the cold air you’re paying good money to deliberately keep at a certain temperature. This means that the right balance must be met between minimising the loss of cold air and using a large enough door. If you need a huge door once a year but the rest of the time you only need a third of this size, then you may want to think about how you can add modifications like a door split.
Zoning: Another consideration is whether your cold storage will need to store items at different temperatures. If this is the case then you might want to zone your storage unit to manage this more easily. This can be done by adding separate rooms, or insulation curtains as a less expensive but less effective alternative. For example, supermarkets use insulation curtains at the boundary between the customer area and the cold storage unit.
How Do You Maintain the Efficiency of a Cold Storage?
Once you’ve chosen the correct cold storage and had it installed, it’s equally as important to maintain its efficiency. As with all buildings, over time the cold storage will start to decrease in efficiency for a variety of reasons. Here’s how you can tackle inefficiency:
Clean the condenser unit: Debris and dust can hinder the performance of your cooling unit by blocking ventilation points and interfering with the fan. This can then reduce its airflow and in turn reduce the effectiveness of the condenser unit as a whole.
Check the evaporator coils: These coils absorb heat by converting it from convection to conduction, which reduces the relative temperature of the surrounding air. These should have enough space and their surfaces need to be cleaned to maximise their efficiency.
Building condition: The building itself can hinder the extent to which the cold storage is kept cold. Faulty roofing and cracked walls can allow cold air to escape which wastes the work done by condenser units and evaporator coils.
Seals: If you’ve decided to zone your cold storage unit then you’ll want to make sure all seals are as effective as they possibly can be. They’ll need checking and possibly repairing at regular intervals, especially those on exterior walls.
Temporary Modular Cold Storage Units
You may want to consider the benefits of temporary modular storage units. If your business premises are difficult to access because they’re pedestrianised or above ground-level then modular units are a great solution. They’re delivered in parts and then reconstructed on the spot. These would also be great options for pop up businesses or those attending events and festivals as caterers and other hospitality providers.
Cold storages are a very effective way to reduce costs over the long term as they keep certain goods from expiring too quickly. Not only this but they also have a wide variety of applications, from schools to medical centres to fisheries. However, you need to carefully consider your requirements to ensure you get the right one for your business. You also need to make sure it’s well maintained as this will improve its efficiency.
Ian Hobbs are industry leading cold storage specialists. We can help you to understand your requirements and create the perfect cold storage room for your business. Not only this, but we also offer a variety of fridge hire and maintenance services. If you have any further questions about cold storage units, or if you’d like to know about any of our other electrical, renewable, air conditioning, or plumbing and heating services, then don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling us on 01761414356!