High-speed doors make automated system even more efficient

WMS-integrated doors create an estimated 50% energy savings.

By ·

New Jersey-based Preferred Freezer Services (PFS), a leading third-party logistics (3PL) services provider, recently opened a next-generation 10-million-cubic-foot facility in Elizabeth, N.J. Twelve high-speed doors (Rytec High Performance Doors, rytecdoors.com) now minimize cooling costs for a lights-out, automated freezer.

The facility has a 140,000-square-foot, lights-out, sub-zero freezer with a 72-foot ceiling enclosing an automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) that manages all put-away and order fulfillment. While designing the facility, the PFS team identified doorway access as important to minimize energy loss to the adjacent dock area that is also nearly 50 degrees warmer.

Zan Perry, construction manager at PFS, credits the 12 insulated, high-speed doors along the freezer’s wall with a 50% energy savings compared to doors used at their older locations. “They allow us to turn off our blowers and heaters,” says Perry, “and door actuation is integrated with freezer operation and our warehouse management system (WMS).”

The operating speed averages 101 inches per second, accommodating the intake and shipment of 1,000 pallets a day. The doors’ electronic controls are also merged into the WMS for smooth product flow. When product arrives at the PFS dock, a computer-equipped forklift operator picks up the pallet, notifies the WMS, and deposits it at the doorway. The system then activates the door to quickly open for pickup by the robotic crane inside the freezer.

For shipping, the WMS communicates with the forklift’s on-board computer to notify the driver a pallet will be waiting at a designated freezer door. The instant the forklift arrives the pallet is deposited by the crane outside the doorway before the door closes in 2 seconds.

“Cold storage is pretty demanding,” notes Perry. “From what we have seen at the Elizabeth facility, the doors have helped take us to that next level.” 

About the Author

Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

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