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Case Studies

Oct 24, 2013

Industrial Cold Storage


Cruiserweight keeps Products Cruising Through Cold Storage Dock

In a cold storage facility, the mixture of cold temperatures and moisture is brutal on equipment; especially on the dock doors.

This was more so the case at Industrial Cold Storage, located in Jacksonville, FL. This facility has a total 253,000 square feet with a 170,000 sq ft freezer – a massive amount of space to keep under low temperature.

For this third party cold storage DC, the extreme temperature differentials between the outdoor heat and high humidity prevalent most of the year in this part of the country, and the chilled air generate by the facility wrings out a tremendous amount of moisture that hangs in the atmosphere. That moisture coupled with day-to-day door and track damage led to problems for this DC. Industrial Cold Storage's material handling equipment distributor, Curlin Inc, solved the problem with the TKO Cruiser- Weight® knockout door.

Even in the best run facilities door damage can occur frequently as forklifts either run into or back into panels. In most locations the panel and track damage can lead to expensive cooling costs coupled with additional repair costs. On a dock like this one the problem is even more pronounced. As the cracks and open seams formed in the panel the exposed insulation acts like a sponge, expanding the panel as it sucks up moisture.

For a standard door that runs along its track on guide rollers the heavier, swollen panel makes door operation difficult leading to further complications. As anyone who manages a warehouse knows, the best practice is to keep the dock door shut between deliveries to prevent the escape of cold storage energy and the invasion of the humid outdoor air.

However, with a tough-to-operate door the temptation is to leave the door open, which of course allows energy to escape. Additionally, the extra weight of a moisture-filled door can create safety issues for dockworkers operating them, putting a strain on backs and muscles.

The problem came to a head as ICS management found that forklifts were being used to open the doors because of the damage and water- soaked weight of the door. The force of the forklift during the lift could wedge the door in its tracks, making the door inoperable and the dock doorway unavailable to truck traffic, leading to potential delivery back-ups.

Worse were the repairs. According to the DC Manager Darrin Warren, “Either outside contractors or our maintenance crew were constantly tending to door damage and it was running up costs. We found they were spending a lot of time on doors when we had other more important jobs around the facility”

These twelve doorways are now always accessible thanks to Curlin's addition of the TKO CruiserWeight knockout door. In a typical operation the TKO CruiserWeight door saves time and maintenance dollars due to its patented knockout design and impactable track.

The TKO door has a unique pin guidance system that rides along the super strong Ultra High Molecular Weight Polycarbonate UHMW track. When the door is hit the pins simply slide out of the grooved track.

By not resisting the force of the blow the door protects itself from damage. Even the panels have a slight flex to cut down on resistance. A quick tug on the door handles resets the door back into the track and the unit is back in operation quickly. The maintenance crew can stay busy on up-keep and repairs in other parts of the facility.

As a result of this design the panel does not crack, the seams stay in tact and the door panel does not absorb moisture; enabling the door to glide easily up and down. The guide track design also eliminates back strain by not capturing the pins and allowing them to slide along rather loosely, unlike the tight space afforded the rollers within the sheet metal guide track on a standard dock door.

The TKO CruiserWeight not only fights energy loss but also enables the ICS dock to keep its 38o -- 40o temperatures without straining the budget. Take the track. This ruggedly built component is so strong it can handle a direct impact from a fork truck. This means the door panels maintain their alignment and prevent energy-losing gaps between the door and doorframe.

Another critical component in the fight against energy loss is the door gasket. On a standard door it is attached to the doorframe and is easily ripped off by forklifts. The secret of all TKO doors is the gasket attaches to the edge of the panel, which in turn rides along the inside of the UHMW track and is always protected.

Though the TKO floor gasket or bottom sill is exposed like a standard door, the knockout feature means the minimal panel resistance reduces the risk and results in maximum gasket life.

The intent in designing a cold storage DC is to be ready to use all of their doors when the delivery schedule reaches peak times. In the system developed and installed by Curlin using the TKO Cruiserweight, the doors protect themselves while guarding the low temp dock to ensure against energy loss.