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New doors open paths to productivity

Reliable high-speed doors ensure access to massive inventory for food distributor. By Josh Bond

Cheney Brothers is a major distributor of food and food service supplies based in Ocala, Fla., with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The company ships from two locations to customers in the southeastern United States, the Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America. In addition to dry storage areas, both the newer 480,000-square-foot facility in Ocala and the original 325,000-square-foot DC in Riviera Beach, Fla., have refrigerated multi-temperature warehouses and freezers. To ensure the uninterrupted flow of inventory in and out of each facility, the company installed new insulated doors on all its freezers and chilled storage areas.

Operating 24 hours a day during a six-day week, the company ships more than 19,000 SKUs to more than 16,000 accounts, using computerized systems to monitor the path of products from the racking to the dock and to the customer. Docks are kept at 38°F to 40°F, with product going in and out of -5°F freezer storage, 34°F cooler rooms, and a company-owned fleet of temperature-controlled trucks that are tracked by satellite as they travel a combined 8 million miles per year.

In the past, door damage sometimes meant taking a door out of operation for repair. Danny Wells, Cheney Brothers’ senior director of engineering, says he evaluated several door products to find the right fit.

“We cannot afford to have a door down—ever,” he says. “A number of door companies tried to come in on price, but what we can’t afford is door downtime. The new doors have proved very reliable.”

The new doors (Rytec) incorporate a new approach to maintenance. Originally, periodic inspection of the door’s counterweight required using a scissor lift to remove the cover. A new Plexiglas window in the door’s side column allows for easy inspection.

The new doors operate at a speed of 100 inches per second, meaning the 16-foot door on the freezer is fully accessible in just under two seconds and limits air infiltration and energy waste. Wells says the high speed also reduces the likelihood of forklift collisions,

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About the author
Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

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