Warehouses store just about everything under the sun and need to do it efficiently. However, not every item that goes into a warehouse is the same, and most warehouses need to accommodate a variety of different products and materials. To efficiently store a wide variety of products, many warehouses use different storage methods to safely hold things. Outside of open-air storage, cold storage is the most popular form of storage that warehouses use. It’s easy to see why when you understand cold storage and its many warehouse applications.
What Cold Storage Does
Cold storage is important because of what it does for the things it stores. The major things that cold storage accomplishes include the following.
As the name suggests, cold storage is almost exclusively about storing items in a cold place. Different warehouses and storage areas set up cold storage in different ways. Some places just have a small freezer or fridge, while other places have whole rooms dedicated to cold storage. It depends on the needs of the warehouse overall and how much product they need to keep cold.
Cold storage includes more than just making an area cold—it’s also about controlling the temperature of the storage area to a specific temperature. Not all cold storage areas need to be the same temperature, and even items that need to be cold can sit at different temperatures. For example, a gallon of milk needs to be cold, but not as cold as a bag of ice. This just shows that a cold storage area is about controlling the temperature of items to fit the exact specifications the item requires.
Outside of just temperature control, a lot of cold storage is an attempt to limit outside access. At the very least, sealing off heat is important to running efficient cold storage, so you don’t lose as much money to keep the area cold. Some cold storage needs to seal off the environment to prevent contamination, like with a lot of raw foods.
The Purpose of Cold Storage
The purpose of cold storage is to keep products at a certain temperature, but it does this for several different reasons. The main goals of cold storage include keeping things good and prevent product melting.
Keeping Things Good
One of the main goals of cold storage is to keep things good. Most materials and products have a shelf life, meaning they go bad after a certain point. However, good cold storage helps to extend this shelf life, making items last longer in storage than they would otherwise. By cooling down products and sealing them away from the outside, cold storage slows things like bacteria and chemical changes. This keeps items good for a longer period of time, depending on the material.
Another purpose for cold storage is to prevent melting in products and materials. A lot of things that we sell across the world only take specific forms at specific temperatures. For example, ice melts once it becomes too hot, meaning you can no longer use it as ice. Cold storage is all about preventing items from melting or evaporating by keeping it at the correct temperature. This is a large reason why cold storages come at different temperatures, to prevent the melting of items that need different temperatures.
Products in Cold Storage
A lot of things need cold storage before people use or sell them, but not everything does. Here’s a small list of some of the more popular items that need or use cold storage, and why they use them.
One of the most important things that cold storage helps keep fresh is medical supplies. Not all medicine needs cold storage, but quite a few vaccines and medicines do. Without old storage, these goods will spoil and lose efficacy over time, becoming useless and even harmful if people use them. Cold storage plays a large role in organ donations and other medical surgeries as well.
Many people don’t realize, but cosmetics that you can find at most stores are goods that need cold storage. A lot of cosmetic goods, like lipstick or colognes, can’t sit in the heat for too long. Otherwise, they might melt or become ineffective. They also have a shelf life that cold storage helps extend. Luckily, most cosmetics don’t spoil very quickly, even in the heat. But it can be a good plan to store things in cooler areas to help keep them fresh for longer.
One thing that needs cold storage is any form of meat suited for human consumption. Untreated meat doesn’t last long before it becomes dangerous to eat. Putting it in cold storage can help keep meat safe for consumption for a long time. That’s why most meat you buy at a store sits in a cool area, as warm meat might only be good for a few hours. Even if it’s cooked meat, it still only lasts a bit outside of cold storage.
It may seem obvious, but frozen foods and goods need to stay that way until you plan on using them. Freezing food’s a great way to vastly extend their shelf life, even more so than just normal cold storage. This helps in both the storage and consumption of certain foods, as you can store them for a lot longer. Some foods need to remain frozen even as you eat them, like ice cream.
Outside of these categories, there’re plenty of other things that need to be cold for long-term storage. Things like candles or plants don’t last long in hot areas and cold storage is the best place for them. Even some artwork needs cold storage, as warmth can damage paintings and sculptures. Some things are better when cold as well, like wine or drinks, making cold storage useful for selling them.
As you can see, cold storage is very useful for a variety of reasons across the warehouse industry. A lot of products have materials that store best when they’re cold. Which’s why knowing about cold storage and its many warehouse applications can be useful for anyone looking to start their own storage area. If you do plan on starting a cold storage area, keep in mind that you’ll need a lot of special equipment. Things like freezer racking systems and sealant are key to running a good cold storage area.