THE CHALLENGES IN COLD AREAS
Trends are clear, today’s consumer values convenience, wholesome food, and just-in-time delivery. More fresh and chilled products are being ordered in smaller quantities. No more simple pallet in/pallet out operations: the cold chain must become as flexible as possible. It's key to address these challenges to keep costs under control:
Minimizing downtime and having access to the right technology.
Maximizing space whilst retaining flexibility.
Keeping workers and equipment warm enough to keep efficiency high.
SOLUTIONS FOR COLD STORE CHALLENGES
Chilled (ambient temperature down to 0°C) or frozen (below 0°) operations require lean, efficient solutions that minimize waste of space, resources, and time, while also ensuring reliability in these demanding environments. We have a long history and experience working in low-temperature operations, offering as standard a full range of vehicles and solutions for chilled operations as well as dedicated cold store solutions.
Cold store trucks for maximum uptime
- For temperatures down to -30°C
- Dedicated cold store specifications & add-ons for each model
- Service contract tailored to your needs
Most of the Toyota truck range has been designed to work effectively down to 0°C without modification. However, for temperatures down to -30°C, most trucks must be adapted. Specific features include stainless steel, cold store oil, anti-slip platforms, heated batteries, etc.
Toyota offers several ranges of warehouse trucks, including hand pallet trucks, order pickers, reach trucks, Very-Narrow-Aisle trucks (VNA), and counterbalanced trucks that can be engineered for cold store use.
Some trucks require only minor modifications. For example, BT Levio pallet trucks and BT Staxio stacker trucks only need low-temperature hydraulic oil – in all other respects, they are pre-engineered for cold stores with fully sealed components.
Why do I need a dedicated cold store truck?
Cold store operations are one of the toughest material handling challenges. Sub-zero temperatures may affect your trucks’ battery capacity, electronics, lubrication, bodywork and drivers’ ability to operate the truck. Efficiency and uptime are crucial in frozen storage of perishable goods (such as fish, meat, fruit, dairy, etc).
Therefore, dedicated cold store trucks are highly recommended to prevent breakdown and repair costs. Depending on the model, the trucks are fitted with the necessary components to keep productivity high in cold environments.
Why should I choose Toyota as material handling partner for temperature-controlled environments?
Our trucks and solutions are used in virtually every sector & environment. You can choose from a wide offer of material handling equipment, including manual and automated trucks, all built according to the high-quality standards of the Toyota Production System.
But also different energy solutions, several types of racking that fit your goods and available space, and service tailored to your needs.
MORE SOLUTIONS FOR COLD ENVIRONMENTS
- Longer running time with lithium-ion battery
- Heated li-ion battery solution with ‘in-cold store’ charging
- Maintenance-free technology
Due to the temperature difference it’s advised to keep the trucks in the cold as long as possible to avoid any condensation. Thanks to lithium-ion technology, the trucks can run longer on 1 battery, with the possibility of charging within the cold environment (with battery heater option), and elimination of maintenance. Chargers have to be placed in a warmer area within or outside the coldstore.
HIGH-DENSITY STORAGE WITH SHUTTLES
- Wide choice of storage systems to suit your needs
- Automated solution with shuttles
Space is costly in cold environments and therefore needs to be minimized. High-density storage with shuttles is a lean solution for this. Radioshuttles give very high-density storage without compromising throughput. The end result is low-cost-per-pallet-moved thanks to its semi-automatic operation. Loads are carried inside the racking on radio-controlled shuttles that are moved between slots with conventional trucks. Depending on your goods, needs and flexibility, the type of racking you need may differ.
AUTOMATION IN CHILLED AREAS
- Automated trucks can take over logistics in chilled areas
- Workers can focus on tasks outside the cold areas instead
- Continuous flow and increased productivity
Working in a chilled environment can be hard on workers, leading to frequent breaks and high labour costs. With automated trucks (AGVs) taking over the work, operators can focus on other tasks instead. Making life easier for drivers and optimising the workflow within cold environments.
HIGH-DENSITY STORAGE WITH VNA
- Wide choice of storage systems to suit your needs
- Very-narrow-aisle trucks take up minimum space and offer high throughput
Space is costly in cold environments and therefore needs to be minimized. High-density storage with Very-Narrow-Aisle trucks (VNA) is a lean solution for this. VNA-storage increases use of space by around 30% compared to traditional racking, which makes it a good option for cold stores. VNA systems can provide effective full pallet cold storage and also order assembly, picking from all levels. Depending on your goods, needs and flexibility, the type of racking you need may differ.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How can I minimize condensation issues in cold store?
Condensation is one of the biggest technical challenges for your cold store operation. When going from a cold to an ambient zone, moisture will form all over the truck, which can freeze to ice when going in the cold again, damaging the truck’s components.
We recommend having a chilled room outside the cold store area to minimize condensation on trucks and loads. Or to stay outside the cold area until the truck is dry before entering again. Another alternative is to stay in the cold store as long as possible: li-ion batteries for cold store allow operators to drive and charge in cold store for a long period.
How to improve working conditions in cold environments?
Besides proper clothing and training for the operators who have to work in temperatures as low as -30°C, fully enclosed cabins with heaters are also available. These will keep them warm and healthy, helping them to stay productive throughout the shift.
In combination with the lithium-ion battery with heater, the truck can also be charged within the cold store area during breaks. Offering high efficiency, while eliminating the need for battery exchange and condensation problems.
Which battery type is best suited for cold store?
Both lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries can operate in cold store. But did you know that lead-acid batteries lose a significant amount of energy when operating within a cold store environment?
Lithium-ion batteries on the other hand lose little to no battery performance within the cold store and have an energy efficiency that is up to 30% higher than lead-acid. This allows for a longer running time, and in combination with the ability to charge within the cold store thanks to our battery heater solution, the trucks are able to perform continuously throughout the shift.
How to maximize use of space within cold store?
The use of space in cold environments is extremely important as refrigerated air is expensive. Particularly in cold rooms with temperatures as low as -30°C, the space should be filled as efficiently as possible.
Shuttle racking solutions and/or mobile racking are good ways to maximise the use of space whilst keeping throughput high.