Kiwi Box Blog

7 Ways To Keep Cool With Refrigerated Shipping Containers

Christchurch company Kiwi Box are experts in the modification and adaptation of refrigerated shipping containers. Brothers, Greg and Steve Flynn are forever coming up with new ways to make these bespoke containers the coolest things their clients have ever seen!

 

Breaking The Ice Like Never Before

When thinking of refrigerated shipping containers, you can’t be blamed for imagining a giant, walk-in fridge like the one you find at the bottle store. Food and beverage preservation is the obvious use for these majestic fridges, but the real kings of cool are the containers used for purposes that aren’t so obvious. Here are a few to think about next time you sit down with a cold one…

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A nice little weekend project for the Kiwi Box crew!

Four For The Realists

  1. Air-conditioned Bach, Sleep-out, Office Or Workshop

You’ve probably seen the huge popularity of converting shipping containers in living and working spaces. This is great, but standard containers aren’t usually insulated, which means that without a lot of work they’ll be freezing in winter and boiling in summer. Temperature-controlled containers like the ones Kiwi Box work with feature extensive insulation, essential to their ability to maintain temperatures between -30c and +30c. They can even be split into multiple spaces, each set to a different temperature so you can have cold/warm storage separate from your living or working space.

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This monster takes container homes to the next level.

 

  1. Off-grid Solar Power Generator

Complementary to your secret getaway or portable office mentioned above could be your power source that helps you stay self-sufficient. The off-grid solar power set-up in the video below cranks out some serious power, and no doubt heat, too. The refrigerated container keeps the valuable equipment out of the elements and at an optimum operating temperature.

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This power container may be overkill for your bach, but you get the picture. Beam me up, Scotty.

  1. Seaweed Drying House

Kiwi Box were approached by a commercial seaweed harvester  who needed a container in which to dry their seaweed. To prepare the seaweed for export, the harvester needed the ability to control both the container’s temperature and humidity to create the optimum drying conditions.

 

  1. Getting To The Core Of The Problem

The USA’s National Ice Core Laboratory drilled over 1,500 metres into the Antarctic ice sheet to retrieve ice samples for important climate change research. Naturally they used 25-foot-long refrigerated shipping containers to transport the samples back to their Denver base some 1,770km away. The ice – which will help the scientists construct a 40,000-year record of the earth’s climate – is so clear it looks like a piece of glass.

 

Three For The Hedonists

 

  1. Ice Skating Rink

What better way to celebrate a kid’s birthday party or to create your very own winter wonderland than a refrigerated container converted into an ice skating rink. What are you waiting for? Get your skates on!

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  1. Curling Rink

When you’re tired and bruised from skating, a little ice maintenance is all that’s needed to turn the same container into a curling rink. With a 40ft container you could stage your own neighbourhood Winter Olympics! There may not be enough room for car curling in just the one container – perhaps that’s best left to the Russians…

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  1. Ice Sculpture Art Gallery

They say art is in the eye of the beholder. If you’re talking about ice sculpture art and its temporary nature, it may not be there for long! Wouldn’t an entire gallery of the stuff be cool (that was too easy)? How about a group of refrigerated containers, each showcasing a different work like the amazingly intricate sculptures in this clip?

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Whether you’re a realist looking for an accommodation solution or a hedonist who wants to host their own Winter Olympics or an ice art exhibit, the Kiwi Box crew can help and would love to hear what unique refrigerated shipping container project you have in mind. Drop them a line.

 

Posted in Kiwibox

Four Questions You Must Ask Before Buying or Leasing a Refrigerated Container

If you’re in the market for a refrigerated storage container, there are 4 essential questions that you must ask yourself before you decide which storage unit is right for you. Let’s jump right in!

1. The most important question: WHY does your business need a refrigerated shipping container?

Do you need to expand onsite storage? Do you require offsite long-term storage that isn’t accessed daily? Does your company need a refrigerated storage option that can be easily transported? Is a refrigerated unit part of a long-term business need or is it due to recent expansion or a short-term demand due to oversupply or a recent busy season?

The refrigerated storage options that are right for you will depend strongly upon your business needs. Here at KiwiBox we offer refrigerated units for both short and long term hire – starting at just $14 a day – as well as for sale.  The great news is that you can try one out through renting to see if it meets your business needs.  The even better news, we pride ourselves on our skill at adapting any refrigerated unit for any situation.

2. WHAT is the product you are storing?

What temperature does your product need to be kept at and why?  This will help you make decisions regarding the specific temperature the refrigerated unit needs to be maintained at.  All our units are in prime shape to operate with temperatures in the range of -30 degrees Celsius to +30 degrees Celsius to match your needs.

You can also rest assured that here at KiwiBox we take our clients’ needs very seriously.  We have a 24/7 breakdown service and we strive to be there within the hour should a problem arise.  Once a year we travel across the South Island to personally inspect all our units out on lease.

3. HOW is the product stored?

Thinking about how the product is stored – in boxes, pallets, on shelves or in bottles – will also help you determine how much space you may need.  Will the product be accessed daily or monthly?  How can you and your staff easily access and assess the inventory stored in the container?

We offer both 20-foot and 40-foot shipping containers so we can scale to your needs.  With our rental programme, you can upgrade to a larger unit should you need more space.

We also customize units to fit your specific needs – we’ve never thought that a one-solution-fits-all makes sense for our customers! We’ve built customised units for a variety of businesses including LSG SkyChefs, Kono Seafood Processing Plant, Heinz Watties and Mao Brewing Company to name a few.

4.  How do you plan to access your product and what power can you provide?

These shouldn’t be thought of as minor details!  Will you be moving your product in and out by hand, or using machinery?  Asking these questions will help you determine if the container should be on the ground or at dock level. Regarding power, do you have access to 3-phase or 1-phase?  We can provide containers that work with both power supplies, but it is important to know as there are unique advantages to both.

Here to help

More questions?  Get in touch.  We are a family-owned company with over 23-years of experience in the sector with qualified refrigeration engineers as our founders.  Our customers span hundreds of industries and there is no need too small or challenge too big for us to handle!

 

Posted in Kiwibox

Ensuring That Refrigerated Containers Function Optimally With Routine Servicing and Maintenance

Maintenance and servicing is an aspect that is often overlooked by people who are in the market for a refrigerated storage unit. If you are leasing or purchasing a refrigerated container, it’s important that you understand that the unit is far more than a shipping container. It’s better to think of it as a large appliance that requires routine maintenance and servicing in order to ensure that it continues to operate properly and provides you with adequate temperature control.

 

 

Kiwi Box offer routine maintenance of our leased units

If a refrigerated shipping container fails, the loss of product can have a severe impact on the business’s profitability for the year. We want our customers to know they can trust the equipment we provide to them. In order to ensure the reliability of our refrigerated containers while they are out on hire, we ensure that all our chillers and freezer containers are fully serviced before they are hired out and then conduct routine, onsite servicing of the units for as long as they are out. Our pre-hire service includes a full inspection of the electrics, power lead and plug, as well as fitting a current COC electrical certificate that states the lead is safe to use.

In the Canterbury region, we have a maintenance programme for all leased containers. One of our technicians will come out every six months to inspect and service the refrigeration system and electrics to ensure they will continue to be reliable for present and future customers. For the rest of the South Island, we make a visit once a year to examine the containers, write a report and issue a new COC electrical certificate.

We do all of this at no extra cost to our customers. It’s all about keeping our containers running smoothly and providing that extra layer of assurance to our clients. We have found that this servicing programme pays off in the long run because it keeps our containers in good working order and minimises occurrences of costly breakdowns.

Purchasing a second-hand refrigerated container

Many of our customers are interested in purchasing a used refrigerated container, rather than leasing one. We offer a wide variety of used shipping containers, all of which have had a thorough inspection and servicing to ensure they will provide reliable service to their new owners. If you’re considering a used refrigerated container, we advise you to view the maintenance and servicing records. We recommend against purchasing from someone who is unwilling to share these records with you.

You should also consider having a refrigeration engineer inspect the container before purchasing. The engineer will seek to determine the following:

  • Does the container have a good condenser? The condenser is like the radiator in your car. If it is corroded and has fins missing, it will overheat on a hot day. This puts stress on the compressor, as it has to operate at very high pressures.
  • Is the compressor pumping correctly? A badly worn compressor may be pumping refrigerant at half of its capacity, which means the container will have to run many more hours to maintain a cool temperature, thus increasing the unit’s energy consumption.
  • Are the inside evaporator fan motors and outside fan motors noisy? If so, they may eventually seize and the motor windings will burnout. This can be very costly to repair and translates to downtime for the customer.
  • Are the defrost heaters working and not down to earth? This means that when they go on defrost, they will trip out the earth leakage circuit breaker on the main power board.
  • Does the motor, compressor, main power lead, power plug and all electrical equipment read correctly? If there are low readings, this could indicate potential problems in the future.
  • Are there any holes in the roof of the container? Holes that have been around for any length of time will allow water to soak into the roof insulation. This liquid is impossible to remove and causes the refrigeration plant to run many more hours than it would otherwise need to.
  • Are the container’s doors easy to open and close? Are the door seals in good working order? Door and seal issues can translate to unnecessarily large power bills.

We pride ourselves on the quality of the second hand refrigerated containers that we sell and lease. If you buy a used refrigerated shipping container from Kiwi Box, you don’t have to worry about any of these issues because our team goes through great lengths to ensure that our boxes are in full working order before they are sold or leased. Please contact us today to learn more!

 

 

Posted in Kiwibox

5 Business That Can Benefit from Refrigerated Storage Containers

There are a variety of businesses that can benefit from our refrigerated units, which can be customised to suit most applications. Our reliable, airtight seals and temperature regulation controls ensure the safety of your products while allowing you to take advantage of power-saving technology with three-phase containers. They can be installed anywhere on your premises and, if you move, they can move with you! In today’s post, I’m going to tell you about 5 business types that I think can really benefit from refrigerated shipping containers.

1 – Vineyards and wineries

Here in New Zealand our grapes are often refrigerated after they are harvested and refrigerated shipping containers provide a quick, accessible onsite solution at the very first stage in the wine making process. For the finished product it is critical that wine be stored and transported in temperature-controlled facilities. Wine can be affected by light, oxygen and temperature changes. And what better way to keep the valuable finished product safe from theft than in an airtight, climate controlled unit with a customised locking unit.

Refrigerated shipping containers can even be turned into wine cellars as Abbott Miller of the American design company illustrated in Food&Wine. In 2006 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the shipping container, he kitted a container out with wine racks and furniture for guests, then buried it in the hillside. In doing so, he hoped to challenge the ‘high culture’ associations of wine tasting.

 

Pharmaceutical Companies

There are many life-saving medications that are required to be stored and shipped at controlled and lower temperatures. Following production, these medicinal products need to be stored and shipped at lower than ambient temperatures to preserve quality and stay in compliance with strict guidelines. Some cold chain items, such as vaccines, insulin, and products derived from blood or plasma, can be classified as particularly high risk because they are at not just susceptible to elevated temperatures but at risk from freezing. The mobility of a refrigerated shipping container is key for shipping the goods while the design of a larger walk in unit on site makes filling orders and organising stock efficient.

Florists

Due to the invention of the refrigerated shipping container florists can design arrangements and fill orders with a staggering array of options no matter the season or location. It is well known that flowers and plants begin to decline in quality as soon as they are cut, but keeping flowers cold during transport places them in a state of suspended animation. Flowers have tiny, intricate veins that carry moisture to the petals through the sap, by slowing this down this respiration process by storing them at one degree above freezing will expand their lifespan three times.

Our customised and adaptable shipping containers can also be fit within a florist’s shop, prolonging the product through humidity and temperature control. Other creative uses have seen shipping containers turned into temperature-controlled greenhouses, potting sheds and prize-winning displays at flower shows.

Festivals and street celebrations

This fast growing and dynamic field is undergoing changes where the strategic employment of refrigerated shipping container can solve logistical issues while transforming the appearance of an event. With more events in unexpected places and celebrations spanning several days having a refrigerated shipping container fit out to serve as various temporary venues from ticket offices, food stations, stages and sleeping quarters allows festivals to take the experience to another level.

The basic modular design and robust structure of shipping containers have made them popular with architect’s the world over – and with the insulation of a refrigerated unit that can provide comfortable, controllable zones the possibilities seem endless. Week long events can provide adequate food and beverage storage, no matter the location through mobile refrigerated units all with little impact on the environment. These same units can be converted into mobile bars and restaurants as well as places to house staff and guests. The shipping containers can be converted to the facilities needs, delivered, then packed up after the event all without leaving a trace.

 

Restaurants

Restaurants face a number of increased costs and one way to control them is purchasing food in bulk. A refrigerated shipping container can provide an easier and more cost effective solution for storing bulk food than a cold storage unit hundreds of kilometres away. Our containers offer an elegant solution to tackling the necessity of storing poultry, game, meat and seafood at different requirements while preserving freshness and flavour. Another handy feature of having a refrigerated storage container is the flexible ability to grow your restaurant because you can quickly add more space, making it easy to locate and move products as necessary.

In one of our previous posts, we discussed how farming solutions inside shipping containers also offer a unique way for restaurants to grow certain herbs and vegetables onsite, offering their guests a truly unique dining experience.

We’re here to help!

Whatever your commercial refrigeration needs are, KiwiBox refrigerated containers are perfect for storing and transporting your products in a temperature controlled environment. With over fifteen years industry experience, we can provide you with customised solutions to suit your unique needs. Contact us to discuss how you can best use a KiwiBox refrigerated container for permanent or temporary commercial refrigeration.

 

Photos

Grapes by tribp, CC BY 2.0

Inhabitat by TRANSported at Brookfield Plaza, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

 

Posted in Kiwibox

Avoiding Spoilage & Refreezing in Cold Storage Containers

The use of a refrigerated shipping container, like the ones we offer at Kiwi Box, is one of the best methods ensuring the integrity of your products. Our customised units can be used to keep products at a specific temperature to lengthen their lifespan, prevent spoilage and ensure they are always ready when you or your customers need them!

That being said, improper use of your cold storage unit can lead to common storage problems like spoilage and refreezing. In today’s article, I’m going to share my best practices on preserving food in cold storage units. By taking a few minutes to read this article, you can avoid the stress and financial loss that can occur when proper cold storage techniques are not used.

Be strict about stock rotation

In order to ensure that goods don’t get lost in the back of your storage unit, I recommend sticking to a “first in, first” out system. This system requires that older products, which are closer to their expiration date, are moved to the front or brought out of cold storage before new products are added to the unit.

frozen-fish

Be diligent with temperature regulation

Most losses occur within 24 hours, which means you have a small window of time to detect and address a problem before all is lost. Make it part of your routine to regularly check the temperature of your cold storage unit. By doing this, you’ll be immediately aware of any temperature fluctuations that could damage your products. It’s much more cost effective to deal with a temperature problem in a timely manner than write off a lot of spoiled goods.

Install a temperature alarm

Better yet, invest in temperature alarms that will automatically alert you when the temperature in your cold storage unit goes above or below your specified range. This technology can provide some extra peace of mind. Just don’t forget to have your system maintained and checked at regular intervals to ensure it is working as intended!

Maintain proper volume

You need to know exactly how much volume your unit can handle. An over-packed unit cannot maintain an even temperature throughout. With an over-packed unit, you cannot be assured that your goods will be safe for sale or distribution. Know your volume limits and stick to them!

Use appropriate packaging

Goods that have not been packaged appropriately are more likely to experience freezer burn or contaminate other products in your refrigerated shipping container. Packaging is something that should be taken seriously – don’t cut corners or try to run things on the cheap.

frozen-berries

Call in the experts!

I’ve saved my best piece of advice for last. When in doubt, reach out! At Kiwi Box, we have helped hundreds of customers prolong the shelf life of their products with our cold storage shipping containers. During this time, we’ve learned just about every trick in the book and we’re always happy to share our knowledge. If you’re in doubt about how you’re storing food or just want to make sure you’re doing it the best way possible, please contact us today. Our friendly team is happy to field your questions and give you pointers on any aspect of cold storage.

 

Photos

Frozen lives by Marra Taqos, CC BY 2.0

Winter freshness by Sergey Kukota, CC BY-SA 2.0

Posted in Kiwibox

Uses of Shipping Containers in the Fruit & Vege Industry

Shipping containers are used in vastly different ways across a wide variety of industries. As the South Island’s leading distributor of refrigerated and insulated storage containers, we have seen first-hand how these versatile units can transform a business. One of the most interesting applications of shipping containers is in their role in the preservation and production of fresh produce.

There seems to be a recent upsurge in interest around the use of controlled atmosphere (CA) containers to extend the lifespan of fruit and vegetables after they have been harvested. The ability to preserve fresh produce for longer means that producers can use more economic methods of transporting their goods or ensure that a bumper crop doesn’t go to waste. Applying similar principles, some farmers have taken things a step further by growing food inside of shipping containers!

Insulated containers allow for better ethylene control

Ethylene control is an important aspect of extending the lifespan of fruits and vegetables. Ethylene is a plant hormone that controls certain aspects of a plant’s lifecycle. Commercially, ethylene is used to ripen certain fruits and vegetables quickly so they can be sold as ripe products. Bananas and figs, for example, are commonly ripened with ethylene once they have arrived at their final destination.

Plants naturally release ethylene after they have been picked, which is why many kinds of fruits continue to ripen at home in your fruit bowl. This can be a problem when produce is being shipped long distances, causing the product to arrive in an over-ripened state. To prevent this, ethylene control technologies can be used to manage the amount of ethylene present. These systems work best when they are used in a controlled atmosphere container, like a shipping container, where the levels of gas can be carefully monitored and altered as needed.

Before the use of ethylene control systems, the best way to transport produce over longer distances was in refrigerated shipping containers. While cold temperatures are effective at extending the lifespan of produce, they use a lot of energy and therefore are not environmentally friendly or cost efficient. Ethylene control technologies are beneficial for several reasons. By lengthening the lifespan of fruits and vegetables, there is less overall wastage. A longer lifespan also allows growers to distribute produce by ship rather than air cargo, which costs significantly more.

Farming inside shipping containers

Freight Farms is pioneering a novel approach to indoor farming by creating mini-farms inside of shipping containers to grow specialty produce year-round. The founders of this innovative company discovered that they could precisely control indoor environments in shipping containers, which has remarkable applications for agriculture. Using LED lights and hydroponic farming techniques, Freight Farms is able to produce 48,568 heads of mini-lettuce inside a shipping container in one year! Able to nutrient distribution, temperature and light, farmers are no longer dependent upon weather, soil quality, or large areas of land to produce food.

The applications of farming inside a portable container are endless. Farmers can now grow food when and where it is needed, eliminating the need to ship it to a final destination. Food could be grown in climates that are otherwise unsuitable for food production. Shipping container farms also provide a viable option for framers wishing to grow crops in urban areas, where larger amounts of land are unobtainable.

 

flowers-pink

What’s your dream?

If you have a unique vision for growing food in an unconventional location, please get in touch with us. We offer complete customisation of portable shipping containers and can work with you to achieve your goal. We can meet nearly any specification – from controlled atmospheres to in-built shelving and speciality doors – to build a shipping container that meets your needs.

 

Photos

Container-farm by Engineering for Change, CC BY-SA 2.0

Posted in Kiwibox

10 questions to ask when choosing a refrigerated storage container

Here at Kiwi Box, we have been helping businesses keep their goods cool and dry for over 14 years. During this time, one thing has become very apparent to us – our customers have very unique needs when it comes to refrigerated storage. We pride ourselves on our ability to customise containers that meet our customers’ requirements each and every time. We rely on direct communication with our customers to help us achieve this level of personalised service.

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Not Just for Shipping

Today, shipping containers are frequently repurposed for uses that have nothing to do with shipping goods. At Kiwi Box, we found that insulated shipping containers are an excellent solution for those who need to maintain controlled temperature environments. But, we’re not the only ones finding creative ways to recycle these versatile containers!

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Save Time And Money With A Refrigerated Container

There is nothing like the convenience of having everything right where you need it. While many businesses that need a large space for refrigeration opt to hire space at a cold store, there is an easier and more cost effective way to store your merchandise.

Shipping containers are designed to store a large quantity of product and the refrigerated containers make climate control easy to adapt to whatever your needs are.

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Posted in Kiwibox

Fantastic Options For Commercial Refrigeration

Any business that requires a temperature controlled environment for storing their goods will understand the importance of finding a refrigeration option that suits their needs. Don’t settle for less than you require – with the massive range of options available for commercial refrigeration you can be sure of finding something that is perfect for your business. To choose the most effective refrigeration system, it helps to know what options are available, so we’ve taken time to outline some key considerations.

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