Warehouse Manager's Handbook: 2013

Finding high-tech savings in traditionally low-tech places.


More warehouse managers are taking advantage of high volume, low speed (HVLS) fans to ease the burden of the building’s heating and air conditioning systems and reduce energy costs for the facility. HVLS fans can cover areas up to 22,000 square feet and a 24-foot diameter model offers costs as little as a few cents per hour.

HVLS fans can be used in larger buildings with high ceilings, or floor mounted for unique spaces and facilities with overhead obstructions or limited access. Rite Hite offers a double-bladed HVLS fan called the Rouge that is billed as the “standard” in low-cost, energy-efficient climate control.

Companies like Big Ass Fans are making innovations in how HVLS fans and systems operate as well, launching an iPad app called BAFWorks, which allows users to control an unlimited number of fans from a single location in real time with the swipe of a finger.

Racks and keg storage

One of the more popular products being installed these days is the new TubeRack racking system from Hannibal Industries. The TubeRack system uses a dual-moment frame that allows flexibility both front-to-back and side-to-side, which gives it greater ability to withstand impacts and seismic events more safely.

Its horizontal-bolt-together modular design can handle more capacity with less steel in many instances, while reducing weight and stress on the slab. The modular design also allows for better future flexibility and lower freight costs over the life of the TubeRack.

Hannibal is also seeing competitors entering the market on keg and keg rack storage systems, similar to their Keg-Flo product that increases warehouse capacity by increasing the number of Sixth Keg SKUs stored in areas. The Keg-Flo will hold up to seven times more Sixth Barrel SKUs than current storage systems can handle, reducing travel times and lowering costs.

 

Insulated walls, wash-down and industrial curtains

With production picking up across the food chain many companies are finding that they need to expand or create space in an existing warehouse, but without the large financial support needed to take on big construction and renovation projects, most of them are being forced to look somewhere else for solutions. That is where companies like Randall Manufacturing and Zoneworks are finding their niche, providing insulated walls, wash-down curtains and other industrial curtains for any size, situation or application.

“Construction costs and facility flexibility are two of the major topics facility managers and owners inquire about during facility planning,” said Todd Jessup of Randall Manufacturing. “Insulated walls can be installed at a fraction of the time and cost of conventional partitioning methods, and their versatility allows the customer to reconfigure or relocate their wall with little effort or cost incurred.”

As the FDA and USDA ramp up inspections with increased scrutiny on food safety, products like wash-down curtains allow small- and medium-sized facilities the ability to expand without the huge capital costs of redesigning the building.

“Wash-down curtains are very popular in the food and beverage industry because the containment of overspray during the cleaning process has become more important to companies in order to reduce the actual drying time and resume production much faster,” said Kyle Justice, product manager at Zoneworks. “In some cases if it’s applied correctly, adjacent production areas can maintain production while others are cleaned, so a company can continue to generate products and avoid shutdowns.”

Insulated walls and curtains are also easier to fit around existing machinery; are very effective for use in areas between temporary and permanent construction phases; and can be installed in the sliding variety to allow for a physical barrier when needed, but moved out of the way when it’s not.

“Our InsulWall is one of a few products available right now that allow a facility to meet the challenges of maintaining a consistent storage temperature, which is critical to the future success of an evolving, more modern supply chain,” said Jessup.

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