Portable Cold Storage- By Ian Hillman, Regional Sales Manager, South West & London
The new school year is here but it is not just pupils who should be doing their homework. When choosing rental temperature controlled portable cold storage units, food processors, manufacturers and packers need to take the time to study the variety of options available.
There is far more to portable cold storage units than just the hire price. The overall cost of rental could be reduced if businesses take the time to understand the quote, refrigeration plant and the refrigerant used.
When choosing a portable cold store, there are several key considerations, including capacity, height from the ground, door access and health, hygiene and safety features.
Capacities of portable cold storage units available in the market can vary from as little as 5.4 m² up to over 48 m² or 37 pallets. When calculating the capacity of the unit, it is important to consider the type of product being stored, accessibility and whether it will be stacked on pallets and trollies or boxed for storage on racking.
The height from ground is important as it can have an impact on the type of handling equipment needed to load the unit and the labour required to do so. Doors need to be wide enough to load product, easy to open and secure.
Health, Hygiene & Safety features can vary massively from unit to unit so businesses need to evaluate those most important to them. What is the floor like? Is it food safe? Does it have a 'man trapped' alarm and door release button? Does it have a temperature alarm?
Refrigeration Plant & Refrigerant
The plant and refrigerant can be particularly important when assessing the effectiveness of a unit for a food industry application and often have a considerable impact on the overall running costs of the store.
It has been highly publicised in the trade press this year about the rising costs of refrigerant gases as the European F-gas phase-down really begins. Particularly impacted are high GWP refrigerants such as R404A which saw its price double in July. Some suppliers have also ceased to sell these refrigerants entirely.
Further savings can be made by considering the components of the refrigeration plant, particularly whether the compressor is screw or reciprocating? There are advantages and disadvantages of both depending on the application so research is key to ensure the refrigeration plant is the most suitable for the application.
When taking into account the aforementioned points, Blue Cube Portable Cold Stores portable temperature controlled solutions offer significant advantages.
For example, in a recent proposal for a leading food company, Blue Cube was able to demonstrate:
- Return on investment from Year 1
- Reduction in energy costs of over £4,000 per year
- Reduction in CO2 emissions
- Reduction in GWP
- Increase in overall pallet capacity of 37.5%
The latest generation equipment available from Blue Cube is available in capacities from 18.5m² up to 48 m² for single units, is fitted with LED lighting and utilises lower GWP refrigerants. All units have an internal width of 3.58 metres allowing a three pallet width - particularly useful for customers requiring accessible product for picking or stock rotation.
In Blue Cube's largest CS37 model (below), the total pallet capacity is 37, However, in the three pallet width configuration, if the middle aisle is left free from obstruction, the accessible pallet capacity is 26, saving valuable time and money when trying to access stock.
By doing the homework, food companies can benefit from reduced costs and increased energy and production efficiencies.