Beginning as a pushcart delivery service 120 years ago, as it brought fresh market fruits and vegetables to the doorsteps of Chicago residents, Maglio Companies now processes, stores and transports fresh produce from facilities in four different states—Wisconsin, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Texas.
One of the keys to Maglio’s success has been the efficiency of its state-of-the-art warehouses. The company’s flagship location (in the Milwaukee suburb of Glendale) is a prime example. Realizing that coolers and freezers were a key component in any food processing operation, the company extensively modified its cold storage area, installing high-speed, roll-up doors to improve food safety and efficiency and lower its maintenance costs.
Sam Maglio Jr., a fourth-generation owner, was the driving force behind the Glendale facility’s overhaul. After obtaining the facility, he oversaw construction of a high cube cold storage area, featuring three unique temperature zones and nine loading dock bays, onto the existing structure.
The loading dock is kept at 50°F, while the separate storage coolers—measuring 28 feet tall and 110 feet long—maintain temperatures between 35°F and 40°F with humidity levels of 98%. Each cooler uses blowers to create a positive-pressure environment that keeps the humidity level that high.
Maglio used mechanical sliding doors for these storage doors initially. However, the slow cycle times and occasional forklift impact damage diminished the benefits of their high R-values. Plastic strip curtains didn’t work either, as they would blow out, due to the positive pressure within the storage areas.
High-speed, roll-up doors from an industrial door manufacturer were used with much better results. These flexible, temperature-separating fabric doors store inside a one-piece radial header above the opening, which minimizes the door’s overall footprint. Using motion sensors, the doors automatically operate when a forklift or employee approaches and then shut behind them after safe passage. To exit, employees simply activate the door with a push button or pull cord.
The quick cycle times minimize air infiltration, which stabilizes the temperatures and humidity level to maintain product integrity. In fact, Maglio no longer has to run compressors constantly to keep the storage areas at prescribed temperatures.
“The run time on our refrigeration units went way down,” Maglio says. “From the energy efficiency standpoint, they were an improvement. From the humidity standpoint, it was much better for our produce.”
Since the doors open so fast, the odds of them being hit by forklifts will decline. The impactable nature of the doors also allows them to take a rare hit. And, by using magnetic strips, they can easily be put back onto their tracks, thereby reducing costly downtime for repair.
Maglio estimates that the doors save his company $2,000 to $3,000 in energy and downtime costs annually.
“The high-speed, roll-up doors make our workers more efficient, which helps us deliver the freshest produce to our customers,” Maglio says. “[In addition,] they save energy and keep our utility costs lower.”
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