Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems: Advantages and Considerations for ASRS Warehouses

E-commerce retail is at an all-time high, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest quarterly report. Total e-commerce sales for 2020 were estimated at $791.7 billion, an increase of 32.4% (±1.8%) from 2019.

While this isn’t exactly unexpected, the COVID-19 pandemic has only sped up e-commerce trends that were already taking place. And that means distribution warehouses — and the workers and technology that power them — are in the spotlight.

This has more companies considering how to best capitalize on this demand, and automated robotics are taking the storage and distribution game to new heights — literally.

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What Refrigerated Warehouses Need to Know About Ammonia Utilization in California

Source: CalARP Resource Compliance

California has long been an epicenter of food manufacturing in the United States. With more refrigerated warehouses looking to become sustainable in the 2020s, California is primed to be a major market where cold storage facilities transition to natural refrigerants.  

However, “The Golden State” has unique regulations that refrigerated warehouses must follow when updating their systems. Most critically, there are strict regulations on ammonia, which traditionally has been the preferred refrigerant because of its efficiency, low cost and safety when the system is properly designed.  

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Refrigerated Pet Food Plants: What’s Different?

Between 2018 and 2019, pet food production was up 4% globally and increased by double-digits in some regions, according to Alltech’s 2020 Global Feed Survey. Higher-quality food is also in greater demand as more consumers view and treat pets like family.

Among these trends are an increased interest in fresh, refrigerated pet food.

The Associated Press reports that “U.S. sales of fresh pet food in groceries and pet stores jumped 70% to more than $546 million between 2015 and 2018, according to Nielsen, a data company. That doesn’t include online sales or people making their own fresh pet food.”

As a manufacturer, if you’re considering the refrigerated pet food space, there are important differences to keep in mind when it comes to processing and distributing these chilled goods.

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Ammonia Refrigeration: Debunking 3 Myths

In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed that owners of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) refrigeration systems have some decisions to make as R22 refrigerant is phased out and states take on regulations and enforcement.

Natural refrigerants, like CO2 or ammonia, are good alternatives, but they can sometimes get a bad rap. We’ve debunked some myths about CO2 before — now let’s look at ammonia.

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The Secret to Optimizing Your Compressed Air System

Credit: Kaeser

Compressed air is a commonly used power source in manufacturing facilities, but it isn’t necessarily a cheap one. Aided by the Compressed Air Challenge movement, which started 20 years ago, users have started treating compressed air as a utility with supply and demand. 

This has led to a greater understanding of how to use compressed air efficiently, but many facilities are still running on systems that are not optimized.  

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Demand for Cold Storage Development Heats Up

Source: CBRE’s latest research report

Growth in online grocery sales is stoking demand for cold storage facilities across the United States, according to a new research report from CBRE. The real estate services and investment firm found that up to 100 million square feet of additional capacity is needed to meet online sales through 2022.  

However, the cost and complexity of cold storage construction could make meeting that demand difficult. The resulting shortage will likely cause cold storage to become an even more coveted real estate asset – and those willing to invest in the market stand to reap major rewards. 

Read below for the top insights from CBRE’s latest cold storage report. 

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How Stellar Services Industrial Refrigeration Compressors [VIDEO]

We recently updated our refrigeration parts and compressor shops in Jacksonville, Florida, and Fort Worth, Texas. (Stellar also has shops in Modesto, California and York, Pennsylvania.) Each facility offers climate-controlled storage spaces and a compressor shop with a separate teardown room, clean room and paint booth.

From the time a compressor arrives at one of Stellar’s service facilities to the time it leaves, it undergoes an unrivaled 75-point quality inspection — a rigorous examination unlike any in the industry. Continue Reading “How Stellar Services Industrial Refrigeration Compressors [VIDEO]”

Ammonia Refrigeration: Is Your Machine Room Ventilation Up to Code?

When it comes to ammonia refrigeration machine rooms, ventilation updates can often be overlooked.

Current and new mechanical codes — International Mechanical Code (IMC) and Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC) — defer to IIAR 2 (and sometimes ASHRAE 15) as the referenced code for ammonia refrigeration systems, including the machine room ventilation.

Just because your ammonia system was designed to code years ago it may not necessarily be code compliant today.

If you have updated your refrigeration system recently, did you update your machine room’s ventilation as well?

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Cold Storage Warehouse Automation: 6 Money-Saving Benefits Beyond Labor Costs

Automation is on the rise in industrial facilities, food processing plants and cold storage warehouses. At Stellar, we’ve seen more client requests for automation in the past year than ever before.

When people think of automation and cost savings, the obvious usually comes to mind first: labor costs. Projected minimum wage increases and the scarcity of people willing to work in a cold storage environment are driving more owners to invest in automation.

But automating your warehouse can yield more savings beyond just the payroll. Here are six more benefits that you may not have considered.

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5 Budget Factors to Consider When Designing Cold Storage Warehouses

The need for cold storage facilities is greater than ever. Product integrity and fresh products are in demand as Millennials become major players in the consumer market. This generation of buyers favor healthier, fresher and higher quality products that have a shorter shelf life — meaning an efficient distribution network is crucial to serve these consumers.

But how can you design your warehouse cost-effectively?

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