The food and grocery logistics industries are growing rapidly. Thanks to new technologies, it’s now possible to transport frozen and refrigerated products safely across the country. One of the most crucial parts of the supply chain is cold storage warehousing. Products are preserved in temperature-controlled environments as low as -40°F. These freezing cold temperatures pose challenges that other types of warehouses don’t have to worry about, such as worker comfort and lift truck operation, all while still trying to maximize speed and efficiency.

Barclay Brand Ferdon works closely with cold storage warehouses to help them overcome some of the unique problems associated with storing food. Specific environments like these require specialized equipment that warehouse managers can rely on.

Equipment Challenges

The standard lift truck is designed to drive over flat, clean, smooth surfaces. However, that’s not always the case at some cold storage warehouses. Often, the floor is dirtier than usual as processing, producing and handling food can get messy. In sausage and hot dog production facilities, for example, there may be food debris on the floor, which can make conditions slippery.  This creates safety concerns for lift truck operators.  When floors are messy or wet, it is essential to have the right type of tires with excellent traction capabilities as well.  Equipment can also break down from exposure to wet and sometimes toxic substances such as brine over time.

To address these concerns, Yale introduced lift trucks and pallet trucks with special wash down packages to be able to consistently rinse off harsh liquids or debris that will reduce the lifetime of the equipment.  In these situations, it’s best to select polyurethane tires with micro grips or razor sipes, since they typically offer more traction and stability on wet floors. 

Another problem to consider is that cold storage warehouses are usually more vertically oriented. In an effort to save on square footage costs, products are packed high up. This means lift trucks have to be able to reach very high without compromising safety.  In these applications, we recommend choosing Yale trucks such as righ reach with high lift stability casters or moving mast reach trucks and other specially engineered features.

The third and probably the most difficult challenge has to do with temperature. Very cold conditions can sap battery life faster and put strain on electronic, mechanical and hydraulic function. That’s because when the trucks leave the freezer and return to ambient temperatures, condensation occurs. Water then travels into the truck’s most critical areas, which leads to rust and electrical issues. Then, when the truck goes back into the freezer, that water freezes and causes the connectors and wires to expand. As you might imagine, this all results in more repairs, more parts replacement and ultimately more downtime.

After taking the time to investigate this temperature issue, Yale was able to come up with a few solutions. They found that by using high-end, double-sealed connectors, minimizing the number of wires installed and arranging the electronics to stay out of the condensation pathways, they could successfully maximize equipment life and productivity. They also offer trucks with ergonomic controls to accommodate gloved hands as well as a series of packages designed specifically for lift trucks destined for cold storage warehouses.

Finding Solutions

As you can see, it’s so important to get the right type of forklift equipment when dealing with applications such as these. If you’re in the food and grocery logistics industries, contact Barclay Brand Ferdon and ask about our cold storage warehousing packages for lift trucks and pallet jacks, including:

  • Cooler/Freezer Package: 0° to +120°F (high humidity and wet applications)
  • SubZero Freezer Package: -40° to +120°F (blast freezers and subzero applications)
  • Heavy Corrosion/Wash Down Package: 0 to +120°F (corrosive environments)
  • Galvanized Frame, Lift Linkage, Battery Well and Fork Weldment (severe corrosive applications)

To learn more about our cold storage warehousing equipment options, along with our maintenance services, contact us today by calling 908.223.8580 or by submitting our online form.