Thermal insulation is a key structural component helping to maintain necessary temperatures in a cold storage warehouse. It keeps the cold temps in and the hot temps out.
The efficiency of thermal insulators — the materials resistant to energy loss — has grown over the last 20 to 30 years. As a result, the effectiveness and profitability of modern-day cold storage warehouses have increased as well.
Some time ago, cold storage warehouses were constructed with cork and tar vapor barriers, applied by hand when the bricks were laid. The interior of the complex would typically have a ceramic or cement finish.
Then the industry moved to mostly using Expanded Polystyrene Sheeting (or EPS) which was applied to the walls with tar. The interiors were often finished with corrugated metal.
Sandwich Panels: A True Hero
As time went by, various technologies were introduced eventually leading to the development of a new insulation standard known as sandwich panels. This was a major breakthrough for the cold storage industry, according to Interlake Mecalux, a leading company providing storage systems and solutions.
Sandwich panels are easy to move and assemble, simplifying the building process. Depending on the way they are used, a broad range of thicknesses are available. They are an excellent barrier for vapors and incredibly heat-resistant. Even if a fire starts in a warehouse, sandwich panels can prevent the spread of most fires. They are also easy to clean and cost effective.
The manufacturers of sandwich panels are constantly looking for ways to improve upon their effectiveness. The cold storage industry has come a long way in the last 30 years, and innovations like this are one reason why.
Sandwich panels work very well with rack-supported refrigeration chambers, which began to be used more heavily in the construction of cold storage facilities about 20 years ago. Because the complete square footage (from ground to ceiling) is able to be taken advantage of more fully, rack-supported construction helps optimize the costs of power required for refrigeration compared to traditional warehouses, which take longer to construct and have more unused space.
Photo credit: Interlake Mecalux