Mobile racks help a fruit
grower keep products
fresh and accessible.
AS ANY PRODUCE DISTRIBUtor will tell you, handling perishable fruits is tricky business. To
begin with, they have a short shelf
life and are easily damaged.
Then there are the storage considerations. Perishable fruits
require refrigerated storage, which is expensive, as well as
proper air circulation to maintain freshness. Plus, adding
storage capacity to accommodate growing volumes is no
easy matter, since it must be done without compromising
air flow or, in this high-turn business, product accessibility.
That was the challenge facing Ceres Fruit Growers, one
of South Africa’s largest distributors of apples and pears.
The company found the additional storage it needed in the
Poweracks mobile racking system from U.K.-based Storax
Solutions. Poweracks feature a superstructure of racks
mounted on powered moving bases. The racks, which are
moved by remote control, can be integrated with a warehouse management system.
By replacing static access aisles with moveable aisles,
facilities can double their storage capacity within the same
building footprint, according to Charleston, S.C.-based
Flexspace, which is the North American distributor for
Storax. Among other benefits, the racks provide unobstructed access to every product, which can boost productivity and minimize the number of forklift touches required.
The 10-bay-long Poweracks used in Ceres’ DC each hold
2,780 pallets. With this solution, the produce distributor is
able to move 60 pallets per hour on average.
The benefits don’t end there. Using Poweracks in its
produce distribution operation has also enabled Ceres to
increase its practical storage capacity by 75 to 80 percent,
according to Deon Schickerling, the company’s electrical and
refrigeration manager. Furthermore, because the racks allow
for optimal air circulation, the company was able to raise its
set-point temperature, which has reduced energy costs.
The racks have provided operating benefits as well,
Schickerling says. “We have numerous aisles moving simultaneously, which provides not only full accessibility to each
pallet location, but the speed we need in our high-turn