The complete range of Toyota warehouse and counterbalance trucks have been designed to work effectively in chilled environments down to 0°C without technical modification. However, for lower temperature stores down to -35°C most trucks will need to be adapted. Toyota offer a range of warehouse trucks including hand pallet trucks, order pickers, reach and VNA trucks, as well as counterbalance forklift trucks that are all fully engineered for cold store use. Some trucks in the range require little modification, for example, BT Levio powered pallet trucks and BT Staxio stacker trucks simply require low temperature hydraulic oil – in all other respects they are pre-engineered for cold stores with fully sealed components. All cold store machines are clearly defined by the snowflake symbol. This helps drive down costs by reducing the risk of trucks being incorrectly used.
The cost of maintaining low temperature environments is something that needs to be considered. In the same way that it costs electricity to keep your domestic freezer, cold stores consume energy to maintain temperatures. One of the most important considerations here is density of storage. An empty cold store is much more expensive to run than one that is full of stock. Toyota can offer a range of solutions that can maximise density of storage in order to reduce cost. These include: various types of racking; double-deep racking, mobile racking, drive-in racking and flow-through racking all of these provide high-density storage, all of which can improve cost efficiencies in cold stores.
The BT Radioshuttle is particularly suited to cold stores. It gives very high-density storage without compromising throughput. The end result is low cost-per-pallet-moved thanks to its semi-automatic operation. Loads are carried inside the racking on radio-controlled shuttles that are moved between slots with conventional trucks.
Very Narrow Aisle storage increases use of space by around 30% compared to traditional racking, which makes it a good option for cold stores. VNA systems can provide effective full pallet cold storage and also order assembly, picking from all levels. Toyota offers a range of equipment suited to VNA pallet storage and low and high level order picking.
Toyota offers a full range of trucks with heated cabs, carefully designed to provide an effective working environment fully insulated from the cold conditions. The use of heated cabs can have a substantial effect on costs. Extra work breaks are common practice for people working in cold store environments. Typically these can represent a 10-15% loss in productivity. Heated cabs on all trucks could help to reduce costs and increase productivity.