In the late 1990s, Ceres Fruit Growers Ltd (CFG), a storage, packing and marketing facility, evaluated numerous storage options, each with its respective benefits and challenges. The decision was to utilize Poweracks by Storax — a high-density, mobile racking system.
The short life cycle of perishable produce and the risk of spoilage call attention to the requirement for speed, accessibility, temperature control, and airflow management.
Poweracks was able to provide the speed and accessibility needed in this high-turn inventory environment. The proper circulation of cool air and temperature control not only reduced the risk of spoilage, but helps minimize energy and overall operating costs. In fact, after Poweracks were installed, this organization was able to raise its set-point temperature due to improved air circulation.
“My primary responsibility is refrigeration and maintaining temperature. The Poweracks system has helped our airflow and improved it enough to even chill and store deciduous fruit in plastic bags,” said Deon Schickerling, electrical and refrigeration manager at Ceres Fruit Growers.
“If we converted to fixed storage, we’d reduce our storage capacity by 50 percent — that’s the strongest business case. Poweracks presents the best option for maximizing storage capacity,” he added.
The company realized a 75 to 80 percent increase in practical storage capacity, complete accessibility to every pallet at any time, and decreased operating costs due to the improved air circulation and increased storage capacity.
“Our Poweracks system is designed to accommodate 2,870 pallets and is 10 bays long. I have full accessibility to every pallet immediately,” Schickerling said.
“The system was designed to be able to work both our moving aisles at the same time. On any given day, we are able to locate and move 60 pallets an hour for short periods with the use of the reach truck and a team of counterbalance forklifts. I have no issues at all with speed, productivity, or accommodating our high throughput.”