FOOD & BEVERAGES: Orion The Latest In Cold Storage
Recent Western Cape Business News
A brand new 3 000 ton cold storage facility has this month opened its doors in Capricorn Business Park.
When Orion Cold Storage purchased the existing Parmalat facility in Capricorn Park in 2009, the intention was to convert the facility into a cold store.
However, after careful consideration the decision was made to completely renovate the building and offices, keeping the existing facility as a dry-goods store and warehouse for other business operations within the group, and to purchase the adjoining two properties for the purposes of erecting a new cold storage facility.
Managing director Patrick Gaertner explains: “Our cold store will be running at minus 20°C to minus 25°C. In order to install underfloor heating - to prevent the ground from icing up beneath the surface and cracking - as well as tracks for a mobile racking system, we would have been forced to lift the existing floor. Furthermore, the existing facility had height and layout restrictions which would have limited the space available for storage. It was therefore decided to build a completely new store adjoining the existing warehouse, thereby increasing access into the cold store by the existing 15 loading bays.”
The decision to go with a fully mobile racking system was a simple one. Although the initial cost is significant, the system requires only one aisle in each section of the cold store – almost doubling the storage capacity, and reducing the cooling costs per pallet. The company decided on the UK Storax System installed by Barpro in South Africa.
“I have visited cold stores all over the world, and have been planning this store for the past 20 years. I have yet to find a mobile solution that can come close”, says Gaertner.
OCS contacted various potential service providers to ‘tender’ for a complete solution that would include for all aspects of the build, including: conceptual drawings, civil / building works, structural steel works, insulated panel works and all associated services: electrical reticulation, fire protection, lighting and water.
GEA Project Solutions, a division of GEA Refrigeration Africa which is a global leader in refrigeration solutions, was selected to manage the project. GEA Project Solutions is an ‘in house’ project management business unit of GEA Refrigeration Africa. GEA Project Solutions primarily focuses on providing complete design and project management solutions for projects which have refrigeration as part of their primary process.
Orion Building is also the corporate head-office to other companies within the group, including Gaertner Exporters, Pateca and Superwatt. Pateca, an importer of steel and building materials, sourced the steel used in the manufacture of the cold store panels, ensuring that the material used would stand up to the harsh Cape coastal climatic conditions. Drawing on the expertise of Superwatt, a supplier of back-up power solutions, the new cold store has installed Variable Frequency Drives (VFD’s) to each of its screw compressors (including the backup compressor), which should reduce electricity consumption by 30 – 45%, and the entire premises is backed up by a UK Perkins generator. “The electricity crisis was very high on our planning agenda”, says Gaertner, and Superwatt has been heavily involved in the whole process.”
“Not only have we installed the VFD’s and mobile racking to bring down the per pallet storage cost, but backup plans are also taken care of through the standby generator in the event of a power outage, and a spare screw compressor in the event of any equipment failure”.
With some 30 years experience in meat, poultry and fish import and distribution, Orion Cold Storage supplies leading retailers, caterers, wholesalers and manufacturers throughout Southern Africa. The company intends to use approximately 50% of the store for its own requirements and will make storage space available to existing clients. The store will be run independently (through Orion Properties). The company is currently negotiating with possible anchor tenants for bulk storage requirements.
“With cold storage space at a premium, the interest has been overwhelming. After more than 20 years in the business we know just how important it is to be able to offer clients prompt access to their stock, short turn-around periods, and an efficient and professional service”, says Rory Klemp, a director of Orion.
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