Defrosting the Top Risks in Cold Storage

Photograph: Viking Cold Solutions

Producing, shipping, storing and selling frozen foods comes with risks at every step of the cold chain. These risks include temperature fluctuations (which cause loss of product quality and shelf life) as well as potential problems with power and equipment resiliency and the loss of profits.

Among frozen food risk factors, temperature stability for protecting frozen food ranks high on the list. Heat infiltration from people, equipment and daily operations, seasonal weather fluctuations and aging equipment and facilities continually add to the risk that temperature fluctuations even below 0 degrees Fahrenheit could affect food quality and shelf life.

Another factor to consider when protecting frozen food is loss of power due to outages or equipment failures. The electrical grid is constantly being pushed to its limits due to industry and consumers’ rapidly growing need for power, spikes in demand, and increasing global temperatures which can lead to temporary power loss. Cold storage and grocery operations are also more frequently dealing with power loss due to extreme weather events. Additionally, the expensive and continuously-running refrigeration equipment required for temperature control can and sometimes does fail.

Last, but certainly not least, is the risk of lost profits. All businesses safeguarding frozen food on its way to our tables must overcome several risks that diminish operational profitability. With energy being the second highest expense in cold storage, the ever-increasing price of electricity can be stifling. Add to that variable pricing based on time of day, seasons and region, and an operator can easily leave money on the table. Refrigeration equipment and cold storage facilities also require continual investment into maintenance and upgrades to ensure temperature requirements are being met and to minimize energy use. These costs chip away at already-thin profit margins and with these investments, those costs could be redirected elsewhere in the business.

With such a wide range of risks it is easy to believe that multiple solutions would be required to address them all, yet Thermal Energy Storage (TES) can help reduce these risks to temperatures, product and profits. TES systems from Viking Cold Solutions:

  • Increase temperature stability by up to 50%
  • Hold temperatures three times longer during power outages or equipment failures
  • Reduce refrigeration maintenance and run-time extending equipment life by an estimated 40%
  • Save up to 35% on energy costs
  • Can be installed with no upfront cost – cash-flow positive on day one

TES systems are comprised of three elements: phase change material (PCM), intelligent controls, and 24/7 monitoring, reporting and notification software. When energy costs are lower and system efficiencies can be maximized, existing refrigeration equipment freezes the PCM. This allows intelligent controls to turn off refrigeration equipment for long periods of time when energy costs are high (up to 15 hours) while the PCM absorbs up to 85% of heat infiltration and maintains low energy consumption in walk-in freezers and low-temperature warehouses.

Additionally, TES systems provide more visibility into temperatures, equipment status and energy use allowing operations to detect and reduce mechanical failures and make more informed business decisions. And for additional profitability, a risk-free financing model is available with no upfront investment and guaranteed monthly savings greater than the fixed monthly payments.

Not all risk in life can be avoided, but TES helps food producers, cold storage operators and grocers quickly reduce the biggest frozen food risks they face while unfreezing more potential profit.

This post is sponsored by Viking Cold Solutions