Ice build up in cold store costs time and money - frozen food factory

The Problem

Over a period of time, employees in a frozen food factory reported a number of slipping accidents resulting in lost time. The main access to the cold store was via a 6-metre sliding door and was electrically operated by pull cords at either side of the door. Access using the forklift trucks (FLT) was difficult and consequently the door suffered continual damage, which in turn made the door difficult to open and close.

Due to the door being ajar for long periods, humid air entered the cold store and it was found that employees were slipping on the ice being produced. In addition, the cold store had to be defrosted at regular intervals at great cost. The company had already replaced/repaired the existing doors on two occasions, but this was clearly only a short-term solution. The objective was to look for a completely new concept that would allow quick closure of the door, minimal contact with vehicles and reliability.

The Solution

Firstly, a new cold store rated rapid roller door with crash out facility was fitted. This was designed to cope with impact from vehicles and also had an automatic reset. In addition, small design changes were made to the cold store to allow the FLT's to make larger turning circles thus reducing the likelihood of any vehicle impact with the roller door and racking and eliminated ice build up.

The Result

During the nine months after these changes had been implemented, the roller door remained undamaged and there had been no slipping accidents reported by staff.

The Cost

The company reported that the initial cost to supply and fit the new door was recouped within the first 8 months. This was because savings were being made due to improved efficiency and a reduction in maintenance costs. For example, the cold store did not have to be defrosted so often. Every time this happened the cold store had to be emptied and alternative storage paid for. Evaporators no longer had to be cleared of snow and ice on a weekly basis. The company also saved on refrigeration running costs and on the repairs that were regularly being made to the main door and damaged racking. Insurance costs and liability claims reduced and the reduction in accidents also meant savings in investigation time.

In addition to recouping the initial capital outlay, the company also believes that by addressing the slipping issue on site through reducing ice build-up, it is now saving £35k per annum due to increased efficiency and savings in maintenance and running costs.

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