Category Archives for News

Disadvantaged Ride High children benefit from donated cold storage unit

  • August 2, 2019 /

The recent delivery by Blue Cube PCS of a previously used cold storage unit went to some rather unusual four-legged clients earlier this month.

The temperature-controlled rental company were delighted to donate an ‘end of usable life’ cold storage unit to the Ride High Equestrian Centre, home of Ride High, a charity working with disadvantaged children to increase their social and educational outlook through the use of horses.

Mark Giles, Blue Cube PCS Fleet Manager, was delighted to be able to deliver the unit, “We’re so pleased to see this unit being put to good use. At the end of their fleet lives as temperature controlled units many go through an environmentally ineffective disposal process, so we’re always investigating different options to try and have them utilised. We’re so proud to support such fantastic work here at Ride High and look forward to coming back to visit to see how the unit is being used in the future.”

“We’re thrilled that we can now utilise more safe storage space to continue our work with the generous help of Blue Cube,” explains founder and CEO, Rachel Medill.

“We have 88 children who come to us through the charity every week, they are highly disadvantaged and are referred from health care and social care professionals,” explains Ms Medill. “These children often come to us when they are suicidal, self-harming, caring for their parents, living in foster care, or can’t be in school because they’re too traumatised.

“They ride for an hour and then they do classroom work. With the horses you have a mechanism to get them engaged in a way that schools simply can’t. Many come to us and simply refuse to put pen to paper, but if you give them a horsey quiz after they’ve ridden they’ll do that.

“By the time they leave us the things they value more are the relationships they’ve made and the confidence they’ve built, they’ve made relationships with positive adults, they’ve got a friendship group and they’ve got increasing confidence.

“The biggest challenge for the Ride High Equestrian Centre is to continue to support the charity. This site is a social enterprise of the best sort but because it is such a big site we totally rely on the generosity of people, like Blue Cube, to help us on a pro-bono basis. ​

“Our plan is that the equestrian centre business that we run alongside the charity will support the work we do. For instance, we are running corporate training through the equestrian centre, so we actually train teams of people covering leadership and teamwork skills using horses. We’re lucky to have supporters like Blue Cube who have given us help, so I’m excited for a bright future for Ride High.” 

Keep your unit running smoothly this summer

  • July 22, 2019 /

​With a summer scorcher predicted, ​and temperatures in the 30s expected, your unit will be under increased pressure to maintain and reduce temperatures. To avoid potentially costly call-outs follow Blue Cube's summer tips below: 

  • ​Check condenser coils at the back of the unit aren't blocked or dirty. This may prevent enough air being circulated around the unit causing parts to overheat and not work to their optimum performance.
  • ​Check there is no ice build up on the evaporator inside the unit. The area in which cold air is circulated into the unit can become built up with ice, which becomes a blockage to the cold air circulating keeping products cold. Running regular defrosts, and ensuring that any water is draining freely, will help to reduce any ice building up in your unit.
  • ​Make sure to try and reduce door opening as much as possible. Doors openings allows warm external air to enter, meaning the unit has to work harder to cool more air. Although some door openings can't be avoided to add and remove stock, try and keep these to a minimum in warm weather.
  • ​Ensure strip curtains provided ​are still in place. Although they can seem like a pain to work around, strip curtains are vital in helping to retain cool air within the unit during door openings. They also go some way to blocking warm air from entering the unit.
  • In warmer weather it's especially important to make sure ​you follow the 'Daily Operation Checks'. These are provided to you when you first receive the unit, and many of our units have them written on them with stickers. But if you would like this sent to you then please don't hesitate to contact us.

​​For any further advice about how to prepare for the warm weather please don't hesitate to contact our ​Service Department on 0333 3202 620.​

Vegan product and meat producer brought together with new production facility

  • July 12, 2019 /

When a vegan mince producer’s demand meant they needed to expand their production facility, the last place you would expect they would look would be a meat producer. But this is exactly what Jay Croslegh from Hooba Foods did, by contacting Holmesterne Farm Co Limited, who have more than 25 years of butchery based production knowledge.

Jay, explains, “Hooba Foods started as a small project but we very quickly outgrew our production facility with interest from the food service industry initially. There’s a lot of demand in the market now for vegan products, it’s a growing trend and it’s going to keep growing; so we’ve decided to outsource manufacturing.

“Hooba is effectively a vegan mince, so can be used in all the same ways a traditional meat mince can be. It made sense to link with a meat producer as they have the skill set to make meat products like burgers and sausage”.

Although to some it may have seemed an unusual move to seek out a meat producer, Jay feels it was a logical step. He continues, “Our ethos isn’t to say you can’t eat meat. The meat-free market is rapidly growing, but the majority of consumers are still meat eaters, so it’s a small part of the market compared to meat eaters.

“Our main audience are actually meat eaters, because we can offer similar products like sausages and burgers. If you want to just lose a bit of weight, our sausages have less than half the calories of standard sausage, so there’s health and environmental reasons for making some alternative options.

“We’d rather educate about the benefits of a plant based diet rather than opposing ourselves to a large meat eating population and this trend is growing.

 “We met the team at Holmesterne a year ago. They’d seen the start of this movement for less meat and understood it, and understood the potential in it, as a meat manufacturer they could either ignore it, or embrace it.

 “One of the things we had to be very conscious of, when getting involved with a meat manufacturer, is making sure there’s no danger of there being a cross contamination of meat getting into our product.”

This was the challenge for Mark Breeze, Head of Technical at Holmesterne, who, as part of taking on a new product line, needed to try and integrate a new separate production line to their site.

“We’re a compact site and so then had to find a design solution for our current set-up that allowed for the both operations to run smoothly. We’ve worked in meat for years, but saw the trend towards meat-reduced diets and when the opportunity came up to work with Hooba Foods to create meat-free items, we knew it was a great opportunity to widen our offering but still using our expert set of skills.

“It was obvious that we needed additional Cold Storage and Blast Freezing facilities, but it was a brand new product range for us, and held a risk in taking a large financial commitment upfront.

“So we decided to work with Blue Cube PCS to design and provide a solution that worked for us. Blue Cube had already offered us great products, efficiency savings, and service for our meat products, so why would we not approach them again? This meant we could have a completely bespoke solution which was able to be on a rental basis, so meant we avoided the same levels of financial risk.

“It was imperative to have separate solutions for meat and non-meat products whilst still ensuring we’re being as efficient as possible with the challenge of staying within our current site. Lisa at Blue Cube PCS worked with us to design an innovative solution for our needs.”

Lisa Rowbotham, UK Sales Manager at Blue Cube PCS, has 10 years of experience within the cold storage and blast freezing industry, and so immediately started thinking of an innovative design which would meet both customers’ needs.

She explains, “The most important thing was to make sure the solution was going to provide complete segregation from both meat and meat free products. We created and built a tailor-made design which meant workers had a separate changing area, production line, and blanch room. In addition, at the single loading bay area we designed a door which seals each section off from one another when it’s moved.”

“Our units now help throughout the entire production line, from keeping the raw materials cool in composition to blast freezing the end product.

“Our fully linked integrated units look as though they’ve always been there, as they join the main building, effectively doubling their existing production facility. We are very pleased we have been able to design and deliver such a great solution for Holmesterne and Hooba Foods.”

The new facility has now meant the future is looking very positive for Holmesterne and Hooba Foods.

Jay from Hooba Foods continues, “With the use of the expanded production facility and added expertise, we’re looking at a whole range of products now. We do a sausage roll, we’ve presented vegan pork pies, and we’re even looking at vegan scotch eggs. The versatility of this product means that with Holmesterne’s support anything that is mince based we can replicate.

“This summer we’re going to have BBQ products, alongside burgers and sausages, including hot dogs, grilled steaks, kebabs. We’re even looking at diced chicken replacement, or diced beef or pork replacements. We’ve also been approached by a large pizza manufacturer to make a pizza topping.

“There is a drive in the market for these types of products, and so if we can work with the likes of Blue Cube to facilitate the right production solutions, and Holmesterne to develop products to match what the customer wants, utilising the skill sets from the meat industry, it’s something we can do together and drive forward. Together we make a very effective partnership.”

For more information on how Blue Cube PCS could find the right solution for your business please contact info@bluecubepcs.co.uk, or call 0333 3202620.

Reliability and convenience key for Well Pharmacy

  • May 8, 2019 /

When additional temperature controlled storage was needed for their pharmaceutical distribution centre, Well Pharmacy, part of Bestway Group, decided to investigate rental options to find a reliable and easily monitored solution.

Gary Tunnicliffe, Senior Operation, Support and Development Manager, explains, “The product we hold you’d find in a pharmacy. The temperature control of the products through the entire handling line is extremely important. We have a unit from Blue Cube on-site which is very reliable, and we can check the range of temperature at any time in order for us to keep complete control and monitoring.

“The unit is linked to one of our loading bays, adding convenient additional floor space to our existing storage site. It’s very convenient for us to use as it’s located just beside our main fridge unit.

“The unit we have is a backup for our larger fridge which is on site, and also provides us with additional storage in peak times. It provides us with peace of mind and continuity, knowing that we have a reliable additional cold storage on site.

“Blue Cube have been flexible in order to fit in with our business needs. The service we have received from them has been excellent, with engineers on site within the same day, getting the unit back running straight away.”

To discuss your business needs please contact the Blue Cube team on 03333 202 620, or email info@bluecubepcs.co.uk

The Cold Store Conundrum

  • April 15, 2019 /
Portable cold stores: An opportunity for brewers

There’s no point in creating a great beer if cold storage, or rather the lack of it, will prove detrimental to your product. For those where reliable cellaring is a challenge along the supply chain, their site doesn’t allow it, or can’t justify large upfront financial investment, portable cold storage may be the solution, explains Lisa Rowbotham, Head of UK Sales at Blue Cube Portable Cold Stores (PCS).

It is widely reported that the enemies of beer are time, oxygen, light, and heat. Numerous solutions and precautions are in place to ensure time optimisation, oxygen prevention, and light protection, but consistent heat regulation can often be overlooked.

To keep beer as close to brewery fresh as possible, heat needs to be controlled throughout the cold chain until it reaches the consumer. Studies have found that beer which is kept at a consistent cold temperature has significantly less degradation than those kept at higher temperatures, or those which fluctuate from warm back to a cold temperature.

Most beer deteriorates from the moment it leaves the brewery; heat accelerates chemical reactions causing beers to have the unsatisfactory ‘cardboard’ like taste. Many statistics are quoted, but in general a beer stored at 37oC for one week tastes as old as a beer stored at 21oC for two months, or as old as a beer stored at 4oC for one year.

Finding a suitable solution for your business is key. Traditional cellaring can be difficult to regulate, and isn’t always a possibility on every brewery site. Brewing has seen a huge influx of new productions, which is fantastic, but finding suitable sites can be a challenge, but one option could be portable cold stores. Despite being called ‘cold stores’ they are able to provide regulated temperature control from -26oC to +26oC, and allow greater flexibility to businesses.

It may seem simple, but finding the right solution for your business should always be top priority. Every business and every site is slightly different. Whether you’re looking for a small, space saving option to fit into a confined site, or a large temperature regulated storage facility, options will be available to you.

Units are available as small as 10 accessible pallets, or linked units to allow hundreds of pallet units. We’re also able to offer tailor-made designs, which for some businesses is vital, in order to link to current facilities, for use internal or external.

The rental option

Building your own cold storage facility, or increasing your current size, can often take significant upfront financial inputs, as well as the implications of planning permission. However, investigating renting can often provide a flexible solution. There is no minimum hire term, contracts can be as flexible as you need them to be.

Both our standard sizes and tailor-made builds are available on rental terms, so can provide bespoke solutions without the large financial inputs. “Rental also ensures a high quality product, along with the security of knowing that all service and breakdowns are covered. We offer 24 hour, 365 day support which many of our customers find the most reassuring element of their decision making.

Within the cold storage industry different options are available from portable and non-portable cold stores to containers. Make sure you consider the cost of temperature control per pallet of goods, as those offering cheaper deals may not provide the best value for money.

You also need to consider the energy efficiency of units, as your energy consumption will be impacted. It’s important to find a company that will consider all the different ways it will impact your business to find the best solution for you.

It’s important to find suppliers who will support your business needs now, but also think about where you’re heading and provide you with options that will facilitate your plans for growth. Making your beer is a passion, so its key to find a supplier who supports your passion by giving you the best knowledge and support available.

Don’t take cold storage for granted

Just like any well brewed beer, cold storage units need care and consideration. Just like your fridge at home, the doors need to be left open as little as possible; to help reduce heat loss, all good suppliers will supply air curtains. Make sure the unit isn’t loaded above the load line. Check for debris blocking airflow such as shrink wrap or packaging labels.

Ice can build up on the evaporators which can have huge efficiency impacts, so once any ice is visible on the evaporators then run a defrost cycle, defrosts need to be run no less than once a day.

Making the most efficient use of your units is key to improving efficiency, which is why we provide training on delivery for all users.

Regulation changes

Many refrigerants and air-conditioning (RAC) systems used in the food and drink manufacturing sector use HFC refrigerants. The most common of these are R-404A, R-134a, and R-410A, which all have a high global warming potential (GWP).

Regulations have been implemented in 2014, 2016, and 2018 to reduce the use of these gases, which has had a significant impact on the food and drink industry. The industry is now working towards January 2020 where there will be a ban on using virgin HFCs to service refrigeration equipment that uses a refrigerant with a GWP about 2500. We’re lucky in that we have always had a programme of reinvestments and are highly conscious of our environmental impact so have kept ahead of regulation changes in our new highly efficient units, but it could catch some out and should be a significant consideration for business owners.

Overall, for those where reliable cellaring is a challenge along the supply chain, their site doesn’t allow for it, or can’t justify large upfront financial investment, portable cold storage may be the solution to ensuing highest possible quality for your beer. With you working so hard to create a fantastic product, this may provide a great solution to ensure your hard work isn’t lost.

Are we finally feeling positive about Brexit?

  • March 22, 2019 /

With the IFE currently underway, and the Brexit deadline date up in the air at the moment, the mood at the event has been surprisingly positive considering the doom and gloom the main media outlets seems to be determined to feed us.

The general outlook of having real opportunities for growth has been the topic on many speakers’ lips. It was mentioned that many companies felt that growth over the coming years was highly likely, as long as they managed to stay flexible and reactive. When speaking as part of the ‘Eating British – Opportunities post Brexit’ seminar, David Gilgur, Founder and Managing Director at Vimes Consulting, reminded the London audience that ‘Made in the UK’ is the 4th most trusted brand in world trading, which he feels provides a fantastic opportunity many British firms can take advantage of.

Of course, the challenges facing the industry post Brexit were not ignored, with the possibility of having to source raw ingredients from alternatives sources also discussed. This, however, was felt to be prompting real innovation in the UK food and drink industry.

Blue Cube has experienced a significant growth for the demand in temperature controlled solutions to safeguard against any potential Brexit issues. Is this something your company could benefit from? If so, please contact us on 0333 3202620

With the IFE currently underway, and the Brexit deadline date up in the air at the moment, the mood at the event has been surprisingly positive considering the doom and gloom the main media outlets seems to be determined to feed us.

Q&A with Stevie Brown, Blue Cube Business Development Manager

  • March 13, 2019 /

Since May 2018

It's capital equipment, which is my background. Blue Cube deals with diverse industries such as food, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing. Also the people, Blue Cube have an amazing team and we work with some really great clients.

Northern Ireland, Scotland, and the North of England

I enjoy working with the varied customer base that we deal with. No two days are the same, even though it can be the same industry, everybody is different. I’ve enjoyed seeing more manufacturing procedures and learning about how our food is produced.

Murray Walker. He’ stayed in one niche sport all his life, and he’s gained respect through hard work and having great knowledge. He understands what he’s talking about so he can speak with great depth, and he’s an all-round nice guy.

Completing my first deal. It got me off the starting blocks, and I’ve enjoyed seeing business in my area grow. It was my foundation, and the platform for my area building momentum.

I like motor racing, tinkering about with cars, and spending time with my family, but I seem to spend a lot of my time with the never-ending run of DIY on the house.

Murray Walker, Billy Connolly, and David Coulthard. They’re all interesting people with plenty of worldly stories to tell.

If you're based in the North, Scotland, or N. Ireland, and would like to discuss your Blast Freezing or Cold Storage requirements, please contact Stevie by emailing stevie.brown@bluecubepcs.co.uk or by calling 07714 523118

Business Development Manager Stevie Brown answers our quickfire questions.

New UK Sales Manager announced at Blue Cube

  • February 25, 2019 /

Blue Cube are delighted to announce the appointment of Lisa Rowbotham as the new UK Sales Manager. 2019 looks to be an exciting year as Lisa will also be celebrating 10 years with Blue Cube.

Lisa will continue to deal with many clients based in the Midlands and South, but also now takes an overview of the entire UK Sales team, which this year will continue to see significant growth.

“Sales is a key part of the business, but the sales team is also responsible for on-going client relations and general account management.” Lisa explains, “I place great importance on face-to-face interaction and look forward to retaining and further growing relationships with all of our customers.

“I think there are great opportunities to build on existing markets and to explore new opportunities, and I’m excited to build on the great team we already have at Blue Cube. Our main focus will continue to stay on finding the best possible solutions for our new and existing customers.”

Consumer focus on health and wellness creates boost for frozen food industry

  • February 11, 2019 /

Reports recently published by online statistics portal Statista show that the market value of health and wellness in Western Europe has grown from €129million in 2013, to €148milion in 2018, a staggering growth of €19million in only 5 years.

With consumers becoming more focused on health and wellbeing, many industries are having to react. The BFFF (British Frozen Food Federation) have launched their new campaign #FreshFromTheFreezer to capture on this growing trend, as frozen food has an enviable selling point of often containing no preservatives, due to the natural form of preservation. Due to this, companies may have to readdress their frozen food capacity.

Steve Blakemore, Managing Director at Blue Cube Portable Cold Stores, explains further, “The growing trend for healthy eating is having an impact on the frozen food market. Consumer insights company, Kantar Worldpanel, valued the frozen food market as £6.2bn, having seen a 4.8% value growth year-on-year.

“This level of growth means it’s vital for companies to be flexible in their freezing and cold storage capacity. Being able to react to the market is crucial, and so often finding a flexible solution such as rented cold stores can be a real advantage. At Blue Cube we continue to see more units being requested from the food industry year-on-year.

“We’re able to link our portable units to a customer’s existing facility to provide additional production or storage space, and fill unused or odd shaped areas. Clients value our ability to adapt to the developing market as well as the support of our on call 24/7 customer support. With the trend towards a more health conscious consumer, businesses must be reactive and flexible to this developing market.”

Marketing co-ordinator joins the Blue Cube team

  • January 24, 2019 /

Blue Cube have welcomed a new member to their growing team. Joining as Marketing co-ordinator, Ruth has had experience in B2B PR and marketing, working at an agricultural PR and marketing-communications agency, as well as B2C marketing whilst working at an independent boarding school, after originally gaining a degree in English Literature.

A keen horse rider, Ruth will be taking the reins on all things marketing, working closely with the sales team to provide the best possible customer journey for our valued clients. She will be out on the road meeting numerous clients, as well as spending time at the Stafford-based main office.

“I’m delighted to be joining the Blue Cube team, they have been so welcoming, and I’m really excited to watch the business grow. I’ll be getting involved in lots of areas, and I’m keen to build on Blue Cube’s proven record of providing the best possible service to their clients.”

For any marketing information, please contact Ruth: ruth.millington@bluecubepcs.co.uk, or call 01785 221728.

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