Large Refrigerated Space Exceeds Expectations of Pharma Distribution Company

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One of the nation’s most prestigious pharmaceutical distribution companies was on the brink of winning a contract with a large client. However, the pharma company was tasked with receiving and storing a large volume of product that required cold storage with highly specific requirements.

The pharmaceutical distribution company initially explored a solution involving scores of refrigerated shipping containers inside its warehouse. However, at the 11th hour, the company called Sunbelt Rentals to find a better method to create over 25,000 square feet of refrigerated space.

While the pharmaceutical distributor had sufficient warehouse space, it was unable to maintain a controlled, cold-storage temperature for the large volume of product. Sunbelt Rentals had the perfect solution: two custom, refrigerated structures built inside the company’s warehouse.

The Challenge

In order for the product to maintain the specific temperature within the storage structures, the temperature would have to be pulled down roughly 34 degrees below the ambient warehouse temperature. The structures also needed to be insulated and tightly sealed because once a space is cooled, any moisture in the warmer air around it will condense on the structure. Proper sealing would be needed to prevent any intrusion of heat or moisture from the outside air. In addition to these challenges, a line of columns running down the center of the warehouse facility made installation difficult. The refrigerated structure solution would need to be custom built to accommodate these obstacles.

Despite the significant challenges of the structures, time was also of the essence. The client was depending on Sunbelt Rentals, along with its vendor partners, to complete the structures rapidly in order to receive the large shipment of product.

The client’s structure needed:

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Refrigerated Storage Structures

Sealing and Insulation


Fast Installation


The Solution

The initial solution using shipping containers would require more than 50 containers. These refrigerated containers would release heat back into the warehouse making it impossible to regulate the temperature inside the facility. Most importantly, in terms of access for order pickers, the company would have had more than four dozen different locations to manage and track inventory. The 56 containers would create 56 potential failure points.


Sunbelt Rentals' solution for the pharmaceutical company was to construct two, temporary clear span structures inside one of the distributor’s warehouse. One structure was 50’ x 295’; the other was 40’ x 295’. Sunbelt Rentals worked with a strategic partner who provided a chilled water solution to refrigerate the space and bring the temperature down to the required range. Both clear span structures’ ceilings and walls were double insulated.

The product the pharmaceutical company was dealing with has a very thin tolerance for failure. If the cooling system is down, the product is unable to be out of the set temperature range for more than a few hours. Sunbelt Rentals' solution allowed for fewer fail points with a fully redundant, monitored and backed up refrigeration system.

The Result

refrigerated-project-managerv2This was a case of urgent need, requiring Sunbelt Rentals' rapid response. The Sunbelt Rentals team was contacted at the end of July and was on site by the second week of August. Sunbelt Rentals had everything installed within two weeks. Upon completion of the install, there was a long waiting period required for final adjustments to the system — Sunbelt Rentals personnel remained on call and responsive. The customer was pleased with the outcome and impressed by what they assessed to be the best, custom-tailored solution for this unique need.

The Takeaways

TripSunbelt Rentals Project Manager, Trip Gintz, who has been with Sunbelt Rentals for seven years, said that this project is one of the more complex that he has encountered, and he is extremely proud of his team for their dedication to finding the ideal solution for the client that resulted in state-of-the-art refrigerated clear span structures to meet the unique needs of the product. This is just one example of the Sunbelt Rentals team delivering on its fundamentals: respond quickly and bring your ‘A’ game.

Sunbelt Rentals teams are currently preparing these complex and customized solutions for a multitude of industries around the country. If your team is in search of specialized solutions to meet unique and complex needs, Sunbelt Rentals is ready to help.

Interested in learning more about Sunbelt Rentals' custom solutions? Simply click on the button below to speak with one of our experts.

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