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Breaking the Ice on Cold Storage Automation

Robert Humphry | 08 October 2020

Bastian Solutions’ Supply Chain Explained: LIVE webinar series continued with Robert Humphry, manager of systems sales taking a look at the complicated industry of frozen and refrigerated goods.

What is the Cold Chain?

At the most generic level, there is a network of food growers or producers, as well as storage, transportation, and distribution providers which ensure fresh and frozen food gets to consumers safe, fresh, and conveniently – this is known as the cold chain.

Producers are under a lot of pressure to evaluate where their products are produced vs. where they are consumed. Obviously, the further away from the consumer, the more points in the supply chain before being consumed. The use of technology, automated systems, intelligent software, strategic network design and a widespread, diverse network are all tactics to helping today’s cold chain professionals manage their operations.

Cold Chain Automation Solutions

Increasing popularity of online food sales in addition to surges in demand are putting pressure on speed, and everyone is facing labor shortages. This cold chain industry is no different with that regard. However, the associates working in these facilities must be highly trained as they are working with heavy industrial equipment and sometimes inside a deep freezer environment.

As the technology used within this space becomes more capable, better connected, and better controlled, it will unlock new business opportunities, like automating your cold chain facility.

Automation reduces expenses and costs for labor, increases storage density and creates ergonomic (and socially distanced) workstations. Automation is needed to help drive efficiencies in this inherently inefficient supply chain!

Technologies like automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS), mixed-case palletizing and automated forklifts address issues and are available at a range of budgets. There are also numerous building operational considerations that need to be addressed. Our team of supply chain consultants can help analyze and determine the right automation and building considerations for your cold chain operation.

For a deeper dive into the topic, watch the recorded webinar.

Need a quick view? Here are the key timestamps:

  • Industry Challenges: 2:45
  • Operational Considerations: 14:18
  • Building Style: 16:00
  • Technology Selection: 17:17
  • Software: 25:02
  • Q&A: 27:40


Author: Robert Humphry, PE

Robert is a Senior Solutions Account Executive based out of Indianapolis. He joined Bastian Solutions in 2014 after receiving a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri. He is responsible for pursuing clients for industrial automation & supply chain execution software solutions. Robert and his wife Abigail are busy raising two young engineers.


Jun Liu says:
12/16/2020 11:29 AM

Hi Robert, Could you comment on whether the current battery technology is good enough for cold storage application? If not, what's the cost to cold storage customers by using the current battery driven automation solutions? Thank you! Please feel free to reply to Best, Jun

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