Deep-frozen storage and logistics specialist, NewCold, has introduced a fully-automated handling solution that is reported to set new standards in maintaining temperature integrity and efficiency in the cold chain.
Designed in close partnership with Gray & Adams and produced at the trailer builder’s Doncaster manufacturing facility, the aptly-named ‘Pod’ draws on the latest automated loading technology and according to NewCold is a first for the UK.
The Pod’s key function is to bridge the gap between the deep-frozen production or storage environment and NewCold’s auto-loading 44-pallet double-deck trailers – also designed and manufactured by Gray & Adams.
For example, as soon as the product leaves the production line at minus 22 degrees, it is automatically loaded through a sliding door at the back of the 60-pallet-capacity Pod, which itself is pre-cooled to the same temperature. From here, following a brief temperature-stabilising period the pallets are automatically transferred into the double-deck trailer, docked to the front of the Pod.
Initial loading into the Pod is completed in around 5 minutes, with the whole cycle taking less than 30 minutes. Meanwhile, three Carrier TRS refrigeration systems hold the temperature at a constant minus 25 degrees and being electric, keep harmful emissions to a minimum.
Effectively, every deep-frozen package or pallet remains at a constant set temperature of minus 22- minus 25 degrees, and at no time during its journey from the production line to completed loading in the trailer is any pallet exposed to the ambient environment or touched by an operative. This not only ensures absolute temperature integrity but virtually eliminates product damage.
Newcold Logistics Advisor, Tom Cassells, sees a key role for the Pod going forward.
“Automated handling and loading are bringing a host of benefits to the deep-frozen supply chain and this new advancement represents a big step forward for NewCold and their customers – in terms of energy saving, faster turn-round and overall product quality,” said Cassells.
The Pod recently won an Innovation Award for Gray & Adams at the annual TCS&D dinner, which was attended by operators and suppliers to the temperature-controlled storage and distribution industry.
NewCold Advanced Cold Logistics added a final phase to their Wakefield plant in the spring of 2018. Now considered to be the UK’s largest facility of its kind and with around £100m so far committed, the facility handles 3,000,000 pallets annually. Plus, with a total volume of over 4 million cubic metres, it has the capacity to store 143,000 pallets – at a constant, minus 23 degrees.