Americold recently celebrated the grand opening of its newest and most automated $93 million cold storage facility in Rochelle IL.
With 180,000 square feet of cold storage and operational space, the state-of-the-art facility incorporates innovative technologies to more efficiently service customers in the Midwest region and beyond, the company said.
“The Rochelle area is a big trade hub and a priority for many of our US retailers and producers, which is why Americold has invested significantly in the new automated facility,” said Fred Boehler, president and CEO of Americold. “The level of technological integration throughout the warehouse is unmatched in the cold storage industry and allows us to more efficiently fulfill customer orders.”
The new warehouse is the most recent addition to the company’s portfolio of 179 locations around the globe. The expansive storage facility boasts 173,000 square feet of refrigerated space and 7,000 square feet of non-refrigerated space for offices, electrical and engine rooms, maintenance and other operational duties. The facility receives customer product, including “thousands” of pounds of frozen desserts and potato products for restaurant and grocery store chains, through five rail and 23 truck dock doors inducted into its automated system, stored and transported through 55,800 pallet positions, according to Americold.
“One of the reasons Americold’s newest and most technologically advanced, state-of-the-art facility is located here is because Rochelle was ready and able to deliver the necessary infrastructure for an Automated Storage and Retrieval System,” said Richard Ohlinger, Chairman of the Greater Rochelle Economic Development Corporation (GREDCO) Board of Directors.
Americold leverages automated sub systems throughout the facility to help ensure efficient operations and product handling. The Wagner Low Oxygen system aids in fire suppression and eliminates the need for traditional sprinkler systems, and the Riantics gantry system automatically picks individual layers from pallets and builds mixed SKU pallets to satisfy customer orders and replenish mini-load layer storage, according to the company.
With the Riantics system in a freezer environment for the first time, the need for manual labor inside the freezers is eliminated, creating a better environment for warehouse associates, Americold maintained. The seamless integration of pallet storage, layer picking, layer storage and loose case picking technologies also creates the ideal environment for Consumer Packaged Goods.
“I feel blessed as a community to have the spirited growth and the support of companies such as Americold that have made the decision and commitment to ‘Come Grow With Us’ in Rochelle,” said John Bearrows, Rochelle’s mayor.
The Rochelle storage facility services customers across the US, with a primary focus on the Midwest region. The highly automated facility will employ more than 100 associates in full and part-time positions, with an added need for skilled laborers in operations management, maintenance and IT services. This need reduces the number of associates present throughout the warehouse at any given time to approximately 30 people, compared to a much larger presence of approximately 100 associates in traditional Americold facilities.
As part of Americold’s commitment to fighting childhood hunger and providing resources to the local communities it serves, Americold and Feed the Children distributed more than 200 boxes of food and essentials and an assortment of children’s books from Disney Publishing Worldwide and backpacks filled with school supplies to Rochelle families struggling below the poverty line immediately following the grand opening ceremony.
“Feed the Children is proud to partner with Americold to help vulnerable children and struggling families in Rochelle,” said Travis Arnold, Feed the Children president and CEO. “We know that when we combine our efforts, we will have a greater impact on the lives of families who need us most.”