Saturday 22nd Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Bringing home the bacon

The newly opened Direct Table Foods bacon processing factory in Bury St Edmunds has presented the company with an opportunity to design and build a state-of-the-art facility. Its opening in the summer of 2006 represented a show-piece for many of the industry’s most advanced and efficient techniques. The chilled warehouse design has met the same requirements and is now home to a Link 51 pallet racket installation. 

The £20 million investment is centred around nine production lines on which a wide range of bacon products are prepared. These are then transferred to packing stations ahead of dispatch to a growing list of customers including leading multiples and supermarket outlets nationwide.

Because a key requirement of the overall operation is to achieve the optimum blend of longer term storage and rapid response, it is vital that both handling efficiency and versatility was built into the racking layout.

This is one of the principal aims that has been addressed by the Link 51 design. Chris Hopkirk of Link 51 says: “We specified a system that could house 1,100 pallet positions throughout the cold store which operates down to – 5 ºC. At the same time it was important that we made full use of the height of the warehouse area as the layout had to incorporate a number of aisles of sufficient width to accommodate occasional block-stacking of specific trays to meet the needs of one of the company’s major supermarket customers.

“In turn this has seen four beam heights being installed to create five levels of storage, including the floor. Installed back-to-back, the aisles feature bays of two pallet widths each.”

Galvanised pallet racking from Link 51 is used in the Brine Mix Store at the site while, in an adjacent room at ambient temperature, Link 51 Stockrax shelving has been installed. This is used for the storage of the vast range of packaging labels and associated material that are a continuous part of the process. With deep shelf dimensions and minimal upright requirements, the maximum amount of shelving surface can be used by Direct Table Foods.