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Smart technologies and robotics in cold storage facilities

Adam Fox 2 April 2024
Reading Time: 5 min.
In the contemporary frozen food logistics sector, automation plays a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency and maintaining quality. Smart technologies and robotics are revolutionizing the cold chain, empowering food manufacturers and distributors to meet increasing demands. As these technologies become integral to operations, it's essential to maximize their potential for capacity and efficiency while maintaining the highest standards.
Swisslog pallet automation for cold food storage

This blog post delves into the transformative impact of automation in cold storage, highlighting the range of solutions available to drive efficiency in different applications. First, we explore the benefits automation brings to cold storage facilities.

1. Cold chain compliance 

Automated systems reduce door movements, thereby preventing heat gain and ensuring cold chain compliance. Buffering pallets in a frozen environment and connecting production sites via bridges or tunnels allows for seamless automation and control with sophisticated software systems.

2. Energy efficiency 

As energy concerns grow, automation presents a solution. Automated facilities boast a smaller footprint and greater density, which translates into reduced wall and volume requirements, slashing energy consumption significantly. Innovations like inverters regenerating energy, further enhancing efficiency.

3. Labour cost and shortage 

Automation minimizes the need for human labour in harsh deep-freeze environments. By delivering products on conveyors for ergonomic picking and handling, facilities can reduce labour costs and mitigate the impact of labour shortages.

Swisslog pallet solutions

Swisslog has a range of logistics technologies suitable for use in a deep freeze environment, ranging from stacker cranes to gantry layer pickers.


Since 1969, Vectura systems have offered energy-efficient, high-density storage up to 45 meters high. Their ability to recuperate energy for upward motion and ease of maintenance make them a staple in modern cold storage facilities.


This high-speed shuttle system excels in space optimization. With shuttle carts on every level and a satellite system that handles multiple pallets in depth, PowerStore can drastically reduce the number of aisles needed. It’s also adept at utilizing awkward spaces and can adapt to various building heights.

Case picking solutions

In cold storage, there's a mix of whole pallet in/out and value-added services like case picking. Solutions vary from single SKU case picking to mixed SKU pallets, each requiring different robotic solutions.

Layer picking technology is beneficial for creating mixed SKU pallets, while a gantry layer picker can handle multiple source pallets simultaneously, which is ideal for complex orders with numerous SKUs.

The case for deep freeze warehouse automation

The integration of robotics and smart technologies in cold storage facilities represents a significant leap forward in the food logistics industry. With improved energy efficiency, labour management, and compliance with cold chain standards, these innovations not only enhance operational efficiency but also contribute to sustainability and better resource management. As the industry continues to evolve, these technological advancements set the stage for a more resilient and competitive future in frozen food logistics.

For further insight, sign up to watch the on-demand webinar “Smart technologies and robotics in cold storage facilities” here.

About the author
Adam Fox
Sales Manager of Swisslog UK
More about Adam Fox
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