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Keeping your cool in the food supply chain

Keeping your cool in the food supply chain

Deep freeze and refrigerated warehouses face increasing pressure to maintain the quality of the temperature-sensitive goods they produce and store. This is combined with the need to comply with a whole host of regulations, whilst also minimising heat exchange to prevent subsequent energy wastage. Here Paul Tulley, Key Account Manager at Hörmann UK, explores the latest solutions being utilised by the nation’s leading food producers and restaurant chains to ensure consistent and compliant operations throughout all areas of the warehouse.

With 75% of food waste occurring between production and distribution*, it’s vital manufacturers are optimising their food chain management by specifying and installing the correct equipment, technologies and facilities throughout every stage of the supply chain to minimise wastage and maintain profit margins to increase return on investment.

As the largest segment of frozen food comprises of meat, poultry, cheese, dairy and seafood, these perishable goods must be stored and transported correctly and carefully by facilities managers to ensure any potential material handling issues are avoided. In order to sufficiently combat this, one key area that must be addressed is the correct specification of curtains and doors, particularly within deep freeze applications.

Typically, food requires several temperature zones, requiring the compartmentalisation of certain areas of the warehouse to ensure the correct temperatures are maintained at all times, reducing any potential food wastage. High speed curtain doors are one of the most effective solutions available, as temperature ranges can be thoroughly maintained to maximise cost savings, whilst also offering safe and secure divisions.

The access of these designated cold areas must be done so quickly, in order to minimise any potential heat transfer. To ensure this, site managers must take a proactive approach at the early design stages, working with a trusted and competent manufacturer that will take a bespoke approach to each individual project. Nowhere does a ‘one size fits all approach’ fail more than with cold storage, as each manufacturer’s requirements are completely unique to the next.

For cold and fresh logistics in particular, Hörmann UK’s V4015 ISO L Insulated High Speed Curtain Door provides sufficient operations for refrigerated warehouses up to 5°C, featuring a 20mm thick PE foam infill for maximum insulation, with the additional option of a ThermoFrame. This innovative design separates the frame from the building’s structure, improving thermal insulation by up to 15%.

For deep freeze applications where areas with high temperature differences must be adequately and reliably separated, Hörmann UK’s ISO High Speed Cold 100 Door provides 100mm of insulation, making it the ideal choice for internal use between cold or deep freeze areas of the warehouse. Available in high lift of vertical track applications, the internal doors can be installed behind or above supply lines, supported by low-wear counter weights for fast opening and closing, combined with ThermoFrame technology as standard to prevent any potential heat transfers.

Whilst initially specifying the correct product is crucial to maximising productivity by ensuring the correct and efficient storage of food throughout each area of the warehouse, correct installation is also key. If the product is installed incorrectly, potential heat transfer may occur, leading to costly energy losses and noncompliance with relevant regulations.

Owners and managers should therefore choose solutions that also offer non-contact safety, eliminating the requirement for additional installations on the door, such as closing edge safety devices or photocells, which can quickly become costly extras. Avoid this by choosing manufacturers that offer innovations such as safety light grilles as standard, which not only monitor the closing zone of the door leaf, but also ensure compliance with relevant regulations such as EN 13241-1.

Sufficient servicing is also an important consideration as it is key to ensuring the solutions offer long service life and high efficiency as standard. The very nature of high speed opening and closing enables the optimisation of operations, particularly with regard to reducing heat loss. However, if these technologies experience a fault or are damaged, it can have detrimental consequences to a company’s output and subsequently its bottom line.

Regular and comprehensive servicing is extremely important as it not only extends the overall service life of the door, but also minimises any potential downtime due to faults or damage, which predominantly occurs due to misuse or accidents. Business owners should specify doors and curtains that feature frequency converter controls, removing stress from the door’s mechanism, providing a reduction in wear and noise. This is particularly vital for doors and curtains that are operated within high usage areas where the door cycle is subject to greater usage.

By taking a proactive approach to the doors and curtains specified, warehouse owners and managers can ensure they are not only compliant with all relevant regulations to deliver the highest standards in food supply chain, but also ensure operations are maximised at all times to keep profit margins as high as possible. Hörmann UK’s high speed doors are up to 20 times faster than conventional industrial doors, offering reliable continuous operation.

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