CASE STUDY – COLD STORAGE FLOORS: KALMAN SOLVES VERSACOLD’S INDUSTRIAL CONCRETE FLOOR NEED
At Versacold’s grocery distribution facility in LaPorte, Texas the aisles are often filled with pallets of beef for export. You’ll also see chicken and seafood bound for major retail and food service customers serving much of the south. Versacold is a high-volume cold storage grocery warehouse facility.
“We’re a high-volume facility and can’t afford to shutdown areas for maintenance,” says Tim Oros, the chief engineer for the 8.5 million cubic feet of storage of which 95 percent is kept at minus five degrees. Self-polishing Kalman Seamless Concrete® floors have helped Versacold maximize the facility’s material handling efficiency under these demanding conditions.
Those conditions result from:
- Double–digit growth at the Port of Houston
- More growth forecast due to waterway improvements
- Signing of a series of Free Trade Agreements
Demand is so great in the region that Versacold has twice expanded the facility in 2001 and 2006. Originally built in 1991, it’s strategically located just one-quarter mile from the Barbours Cut Container Facility.
Creating an Efficient Cold Storage Warehouse Facility
When expansion plans were first announced, Oros and his company’s management and design–builder, Environmental Structures, Inc., knew there would have to be changes to the original design if they were to create the most efficient cold storage grocery warehouse facility and take full advantage of their location.
Perhaps the biggest challenge was the industrial concrete floor:
- The original floor had saw joints every 20 feet — that increased damage to the load wheels on pallet jacks and forklifts
- Joints are the number one floor problem every distribution center with an industrial concrete floor wants to avoid
- Curled joints and broken edges not only decrease equipment speeds, they increase operator fatigue as well
- Spalling on the docks and in the freezer
“I could see we had higher maintenance costs with the floor than what I was used to,” said Oros.
“A Kalman floor was suggested by one of our corporate engineers for the 2001 expansion. We had to improve the economics in the new section of the facility.”
Versacold’s new loading dock allows for faster handling.
Oros had never worked with a Kalman industrial concrete floor in his career. That year Oros hired Kalman Floor Company to install 69,500 square feet of self-polishing, abrasion-resistant Kalman Seamless Concrete®.
The result, 80% fewer joints than their old cold storage floor.
In 2006, Versacold, responding to greater demand on the port’s distribution facilities, decided to expand its grocery distribution facilities. They wanted a Kalman Floor Company premium grocery distribution warehouse floor. “At that point, our first Kalman floor was five years old and no maintenance had been required. The new floor spanned 83,300 square feet of Kalman Seamless Concrete® and was part of an expansion design built by Primus Builders, Inc.
“I was really impressed during installation—they were like a group of workers bees. It got knocked out on time,” Oros said.
“The choice in 2006 was easy because we already could see it paid a dividend to have a Kalman floor”
The LaPorte facility now has 36 truck doors, a fully–refrigerated cold storage dock and 4 rail doors. Material handling is done by 54 double–pallet jacks and forklifts.
But what if there is a problem?
Kalman Floor Company’s three-year warranty, the longest offered in the industry, made it easier to select Kalman. When asked about the warranty Oros said, “It’s a great warranty, I think. I haven’t had to use it.”