Cold Chain Logistics

Cold Chain Logistics

Effective cold chain logistics are essential to keep fruit fresh, flowers from wilting, and various chemicals and pharmaceuticals  safe during transit. In all modes of cold chain transport, temperature sensitive products are susceptible to a loss of quality.

The Global Cold Chain

Globally, there is a heightened interest in healthy food. Consumers are looking for higher-end products, such as Alaskan salmon, that must travel long distances and move quickly to ensure freshness and quality.

“Demand for fresh food is growing, and that requires increased innovation to overcome capacity and infrastructure constraints, and mitigate disruption risks to ensure quality delivery,” adds Tim Smith, executive vice president, sales and business development, for Lineage Logistics. Adjusting to these new demands while maintaining prices, places added pressure on every element of the supply chain.

Maintaining control of products is a major concern for many shippers.

Cold Chain Must Maintain Quality

In the food industry, there is an increased focus on quality, health, and integrity. Cold chain logistics must ensure that changes in texture and taste do not occur.  When a shipment strays outside recommended temperatures, quality will deteriorate rapidly.   

More premium products with a shorter shelf life and greater sensitivity to temperature, are raising the bar for temperature control and cold chain logistics.  Refrigerated warehouses across the food cold chain must maintain as many as five different temperature zones.

Cold Chain Logistics with Powerblanket

Powerblanket offers innovative cold chain solutions that will meet the demands of unique temperatures during transit. With the new Powerblanket ICE industrial cold chain solutions, you can efficiently regulate temperature-sensitive material under both regular and hot conditions. Transporting food, chemicals, and other heat sensitive materials is no longer a major challenge.

Cold Chain Logistic Options

Icepack Blanket

  • Insulated, ensuring that your ice packs will last longer than ice alone and longer than other non-insulated options on the market
  • Internal pockets place the ice directly against the surface of your container

  • An affordable option for cold chain logistics
  • Easily portable solution
  • Temperature adjusted by the number of ice packs used

Circulation Blanket

The Powerblanket Ice Circulation Blanket, a more advanced cooling solution, is combined with either a cooler or chiller to achieve optimum results. The Circulation Blanket draws heat away from the contents of the container and consistently circulates cool.

Blanket with Cooler

  • Surround your product in constant cool as ice cold water from the cooler is pumped through the blanket
  • Maintain a minimum temperature of 32°F/0°C or lower the temperature with salt or other freeze point modifiers.  
  • Forty pounds of ice can maintain the temperature of the product at 55°F/13°C for nine to ten hours in 100°F/38°C ambient temperatures
  • Operates on 12VDC or 120VAC power.  

Blanket with Chiller

  • Achieve colder and continuous results
  • Maintain industrial cooling of 20°F/-7°C
  • One chiller can operate with two 55-gallon drum blankets
  • Ideal for process cooling and other industrial cooling applications

 

Technology and Cold Chain Logistics

Like all supply chains, cold chain operators must continually upgrade technology to ensure efficiency, integrity, and safety. This includes both back-end IT infrastructure and front-end devices that gather and report key data in real time.

Some shippers use removable sensors to independently track the temperature of cold cargo, usually for high-value goods and international shipments.

 

There is a sincere need for products that can can analyze and deliver data where and when it’s needed. Powerblanket has partnered with Beacon Controls to create a solution that is effective, reliable, and on the cutting edge of real-time smart temperature monitoring.

Smart Cold Chain Temperature Monitoring with Beacon

  • Change settings locally or connect remotely through Wi-Fi or Cellular networks, so you can keep your operation running smoothly wherever you are.
  • Customize scheduling and alerts based on temperature, electrical current, voltage, and resistance readings
  • Enjoy peace of mind for cold chain logistics
  • Compatible with a wide variety of cooling or heating devices
  • Create multiple users with varying levels of access and control for added security.
  • 120/208/240V AC options, switch up to 24 amps

 

 

 

How to Keep Perishables Cool

Perishables and Temperature Control

Whether you vote red or blue, there is one thing everyone can agree on: food. Although technology for transporting perishable goods has advanced dramatically, keeping perishables cool can be a problem for people who do not have large scale refrigeration resources. Read on for solutions for keeping produce fresh.

Goodness Gaseous: Understanding Ethylene and Respiration

Ethylene, often referred to as the ‘death’ or ‘ripening hormone’, is an odorless, colorless, gaseous plant hormone that exists in nature. Not easily detectable, the largest producers are plant and plant products (ie. fruits, vegetables and floral products) which have ethylene within their tissues and release it into the surrounding atmosphere.

bowl of tomatosEthylene plays a regulatory role in many processes of plant growth, development, and eventually death.  The common practice of placing a tomato in a paper bag to speed ripening is the classic example of the effect of ethylene on produce. Increased levels of ethylene contained within the bag serve as a stimulant and initiate the production of more ethylene, which is then reabsorbed by the tomato and repeated over and over (Flower).

Flowers, fresh fruits, and vegetables remain alive by respiration, which is their process of converting fuel into energy. High respiration rates rapidly create more ethylene, and deplete stored carbohydrates (fuel) which shortens the life of the produce. Respiration also increases as temperature increases, and therefore temperature control during transport is critical for food and other perishables to be fresh on delivery (Benkeblia).

Woman holding bunch of flowers in a fieldFlower Power: How to Keep Flowers Fresh

Flowers go through respiration just like other produce. The trick to keeping them alive is to store and ship them in cooler temperatures. A flower held at 86°F/30°C will age (respire) up to forty-five times as fast as a flower held at a colder 36°F/2°C.  When cooler temperatures are applied and the cold chain is maintained, the vase life of cut flowers is greatly extended (Reid).

Food Fight: Using Cold to Preserve Perishables

Produce temperature is the most important factor affecting its quality and preventing food wastage. For fruits and vegetables, respiration increases by a factor of two to five for each 18°F/10°C increase in temperature above the recommended holding temperature. For example, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries have a shelf life of seven days at 32°F/0°C, but only one day at 68°F/20°C. Longer-lived produce such as green beans, mushrooms, and green onions last only two to three days at 68°F/20°C. Above 86°F/30°C the produce will die or lose quality rapidly (Benkeblia).

All the way through the cold chain, produce should be held at its lowest recommended storage temperature. Keeping temperature in check is vital.

BananasBananas are a prime example for the need for temperature control of perishables in transport. To obtain maximum shelf life, bananas are harvested when they are mature, but not yet ripe. The fruit requires careful handling, rapid transport to ports, cooling, and refrigerated shipping to prevent the bananas from producing ethylene.  “To bring this tropical fruit to distant markets and have it be edible is kind of amazing,” says Randy Ploetz, a professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida. “It’s pretty much a science” (qtd. in Dawson).

Flux Wrap and North Slope ChillersKeep Perishables Cool with North Slope Chillers

So how do you keep perishables cool and safe without investing in a reefer truck?  Your operation needs cooling; however, you do not have the resources to support large-scale refrigeration. North Slope Chillers offers innovative industrial cooling systems that will keep your assets safe. With the new North Slope Chillers industrial cooling product line, you can efficiently regulate temperature-sensitive material under both regular and hot conditions, preventing food wastage. Transporting perishables and other heat sensitive materials is no longer a major challenge.   

  • Ready-to-ship industrial cooling / process cooling products are available for 15, 30, & 55-gallon drums, and for 5-gallon buckets.
  • Custom systems can be designed for a large variety of industrial cooling applications, and shipped within 2 weeks.
  • Blankets use North Slope Chiller’s patented heat-spreading technology in reverse to draw heat to the blanket and cool the contents of the container
  • Blanket cover and insulation are the same as the robust system used in Powerblanket heating products
  • North Slope Chillers industrial cooling systems are portable (120VAC required)
  • Control the temperature of your equipment or bulk materials
  • When materials are delivered too hot, waiting for the material to cool can mean lost hours/days
  • Blankets can be left installed and running while bulk material containers are in use

 

Works Cited

Benkeblia, Noureddine.  “Transportation of fresh horticultural produce”. Post harvest Technologies for Horticultural Crops, 2009, Vol. 2. 8 March 2017. http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/datastore/234-1291.pdf

“Flower Care”. Grower Direct. 9 March 2017. http://www.growerdirect.com/flower-care-ethylene-gas

Reid, M.S. “Handling of Cut flowers for Export”. 8 March 2017. http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/datastore/234-1906.pdf