THE RISE OF THE REFRIGERATED BOX-IN-A-BOX
Ti Cold’s Modular Cold Box or Ti-MCB is experiencing a spike in activity. The rise in popularity and use of the Ti-MCB comes from its flexibility, speed of installation, and cost. Ti-MCB is a highly suitable alternative to new construction as it is less expensive and it can perform at any temperature range. Additional functionality can be added such as QuickFreeze™, a Quick Chill and Quick Temper, In-Rack freezing system. More popular temperature ranges are from 34° to 38°F.
Processors in need of additional refrigeration capacity who have suitable ambient space available often decide for a box-in-a-box installation. With the capability to have clearance heights up to the joist of the existing ceiling, space and cube can be maximized. Likewise, maximum square footage increases as the box-in-a-box allows for the installation of insulated panels close to the walls. Moreover, these installations require little ‘prep’ work and can be put up in phases or increments as needed by the user. With virtually nonexistent cold storage capacity throughout the entire US, industrial building owners or landlords are quickly adopting modular cold boxes in increasing the value and utility of their buildings.
One of the key drivers for a box-in-a-box installation is return on investment. From experience, a box-in-a-box installation for mid-30 degree temperatures is cheaper than the cost of new construction. Landlords find these installation upgrades highly appealing as they increase property values. There are a variety of incentives associated with these opportunities including the addition of new jobs.
The ability to generate premium income increases dramatically as construction times are significantly less than a traditional cold storage warehouse, resulting in a greater ROI.
Another attractive consideration for the box-in-a-box installation approach is that the investment cost may provide a lower rent requirement to generate the required ROI. Operators have the ability to offer pricing across a much wider range to meet the ROI specified. This places the operator in a highly desirable market position especially in cyclical markets of changing supply and demand. The combination of decreased investment cost along with expedited income generation at much greater flexibility is a very attractive consideration for higher ROIs.
The vast majority of Ti-MCB installations from a ‘dry’ warehouse to a refrigerated space require sizable electric service upgrades. Many times, upgrades have to increase from 400 amp service to 3,000+ amp service. Utility providers are motivated to develop approaches where there is no cash layout for the upgrades. This further makes the box-in-a-box installation approach more appealing.
Ideal box layouts and economically feasible boxes start at 50,000 sq. ft. and the most efficient and cost effective layouts are in excess of 100,000 sq. ft. Refrigeration units can be roof mounted or pad mounted on the outside of the building. Roof mounted units are recommended as less piping is required and refrigerant flow is more efficient. Wall panels provide four to five inches of insulated metal panels. Ceiling panels are comparable to wall panels. After permitting, order lead times and construction can be completed within three to four months, depending on size and scope.
Ti-MCB boxes are designed to be multi-functional, appealing to other users or shippers. In many ways, these modular cold boxes become smaller versions of public refrigerated warehouses, but with more capabilities. Additionally, they become higher revenue generators for landlords as well as the existing user who can defray much of the cost by providing other cold storage services.
Author: Ti Cold