Seven Things to Consider when Installing Conveyor in your Cooler or Freezer

Life is full of so many things to ‘keep in mind’ or ‘remember to do’. When considering installing conveyor in a refrigerated or frozen environment, it’s no different. Beyond just selecting the right conveyor product solution for your needs, when considering automation for your cooler or freezer environment there are many special considerations you need to take into account in order to ensure optimal performance of your automated system.

Below are a few of these considerations. You can also download a brochure version of the list here. Of course, as part of your supplier evaluation be sure to ask for freezer or cooler references.

1Using high efficiency gear motors that have variable frequency drives will increase the life of motors. If using standard motors in freezer environments the life of that motor will be cut in half. The safety factor of the gear motors must be greater than with systems in ambient temperature environments. The size of gear motors need to be sufficient to power up a system after it has not been operating for a prolonged period of time.


2Special Lubrication/Grease/Bearings will keep everything moving properly. Using standard lubrication will cause premature failure with chains and gears, not to mention lots of headache and system down-time. This must be coordinated during the commissioning and go-live of a project since most times commissioning of a system takes place at a different temperature than go-live.


3Re-tightening once your system is installed and the space is brought down to temperature will be necessary due to the change in the physical characteristics of material as a result of the temperature change.


Red-numbers-4  An Interlock is a space or transition from one temperature zone to another. Air curtains or air vestibules (two doors separating temp zones) are often used to reduce condensation and ice build-up.


Red-numbers-5Instead of photo sensors, use limit switches at the interlocks where there is bound to be some condensation (for example, when a fork truck drives into freezer from ambient temperatures – the cloud of mist created can flag photo sensors giving a false reading).


Red-numbers-6For AS/RS (automated storage/retrieval systems) or lift systems, cable that is just freezer-rated isn’t good enough – it also needs to be rated for the flexibility that goes along with moving up and down continuously. Carefully evaluate the application of each piece of equipment. Also note that at different temperatures, an AS/RS may require different lubrication.


7Special Belts are needed for conveyor used in cold temperature conditions to resist cracking and premature wear.

About John Clark

John is responsible for Marketing and Business Development at the North American headquarters of viastore systems in Grand Rapids, MI.

He has over 20 years of broad hands-on experience in all aspects of marketing and communication, including writing, content marketing, advertising, design, trade show and event planning, public/media relations, website, lead generation and management.

Prior to viastore, he has held marketing management positions at TGW Systems and Dematic, both global material handling automation companies.


  1. I have a buddy who has been considering making conveyor installments in his larger freezer. He’s been having a hard time knowing where to start. I’ll send this his way, I think he’ll need it.

  2. Great point about keeping these things in mind when installing your conveyor. The point about lubrication is especially important. Some friends of mine recently installed a conveyor into their grocery store to facilitate unloading trucks into their refrigerator. I’ll have to share a copy of this article with them. Thanks again!

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