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APC reaches new heights with 18m-high cold storage facility


Discover how the installation of one of the highest storage facilities – a South African first in cold storage systems – is accommodating uniquely massive loads for Idube Cold Storage.



APC Storage Solutions SA, the industrial storage solutions authority in South Africa, recently completed a mobile storage system installation in a Greenfield multi-temperature, multi-chamber cold storage facility for Durban-based company, Idube Cold Storage.

The internal height of the cold storage facility required some planned ingenuity from APC Storage Solutions SA, which resulted in elevating a casting wiring harness to conduct the roof installation. It is the first time in South Africa that a storage system has been installed this way.

Situated in the Dube Trade Port at King Shaka International Airport in KwaZulu-Natal, Idube provides cold storage facilities for importers and exporters of perishable goods. To ensure adequate storage capacity across varying temperatures in the 4 700 m² cold store, the facility was divided into three cold chambers, in which the storage solution would be installed.

The contract included the complete design, supply and installation of storage systems for the three cold chambers and all associated electronics that facilitate mobile operations. APC Storage Solutions SA installed Mecalux Movirack® mobile storage solution, designed to enable increased storage by eliminating aisle space. The cold storage facility is approximately 50% deeper than other similar facilities in South Africa, which means the number of bays usually used is almost doubled. The result is an 8 500 hi-cubed capacity mobile storage system across three chambers certified to carry 1.4 tonnes per pallet space. This means the cold storage facility is now capable of storing 12 000 tonnes of frozen product.

The 18 metre-high roof installation necessitated drilling from the bottom. Using specialised equipment, like scissor jacks for example, APC Storage Solutions SA elevated a casting wiring harness which enabled them to conduct the installation from the roof down. “This is the first time in South Africa that a storage system installation has been conducted in this way,” says Fred Albrecht, managing director of APC Storage Solutions SA. Although using equipment for rigging in lieu of manual handling is one of APC Storage Solution SA’s hallmarks, and the only storage solutions company in South Africa to do so. “This is because the Mecalux brand we distribute and install, among other reasons, means we adhere to European safety regulations which necessitates minimal manual handling procedures,” Albrecht explains.

One of the cold chambers is used specifically to handle drums for export and designed so that drum temperatures can be reduced in short times, similarly to that of a blast freezer. To ensure the storage system could accommodate the export drums it was specifically designed to contain 1.2 X 1.2 metre type M pallets.

“APC Storage Solutions SA carried out their scope of work among some trying working conditions,” says Idube’s Chief Operating Officer Hoffie Rautenbach. “In addition to Idube being one of the highest storage facilities accommodating uniquely massive loads, other contractors were onsite restricting the movement usually required for an installation of this nature. Additionally, APC Storage Solutions SA began their scope of work in advance of the electrical lighting installations and still managed to complete the project in time and to spec.”

APC Storage Solutions SA concluded the installation within the allocated two month period, completing its scope of work well in advance of other contractors. To achieve this, the company’s personnel worked throughout the December holiday period, closing only for the four religious holidays over the year-end break.

“We selected APC Storage Solutions SA after a rigorous tender process,” Rautenbach concludes, “with selection based on reputation, international experience, pricing and their high quality storage solutions. As the purpose of our facility is to provide a world class service to importers, exporters and local producers of perishable products, which can only be achieved with world class facilities, we are now certain we made the correct choice in selecting APC Storage Solutions SA for our storage system requirements.”

Training on the operations of systems for semi-automated storage solutions as well as maintenance training, incorporating the EU Harmonised Standards, was conducted for Idube personnel and APC Storage Solutions SA provides customer support throughout the year, 24 hours a day.


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