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A new warehouse complex for Sharp Interpack’s site at Aylesham in Kent has been fitted-out by Designed Storage with Hi-Lo’s Premierack storage.
The site is made up of two linked warehouses, storing raw and finished goods. The fitting-out of the newly built 4,000 square metre warehouse complex follows Sharp Interpack’s decision to reduce its dependency on third party storage. The new facility has also enabled the company to provide a faster response time to customers requiring its wide range of pressure and vacuum formed plastic trays for food and non-food applications.

The smaller of the warehouses, measuring 1,260 square metres, has been designed to accommodate raw materials and tools. Fitted with 176 x 2.7 metre bays and five metre high double deep Premierack storage, it provides 1,400 pallet locations. Finished goods will be stored in a second 2,700 square metre warehouse, which is fitted with 267 x 3.9 metre bays and 11-metre high double deep racking to provide 4,000 pallet locations. The front upright frame legs have been reinforced to add strength in case of truck damage and the warehouses have each been finished with an in-rack sprinkler system.

Hi-Lo’s double deep racking was chosen to make maximum use of floor space.
They have been centralised at the 12,500 pallet position site which acts now as a national distribution centre. Virtually all major high street and “out of town” retail outlets in the electrical products sector are serviced by the Masterplug business, while more than 2,000 trade outlets form the customer base for BG Electrical.
The product lines – some 4,500 to 5,000 are held in stock – are now located in both a bulk and fast turnaround racking installation that was completed in two and a half months by Link 51. The site makes extensive use of the company’s XL narrow aisle and standard aisle racking systems, the majority of which are arranged back-to-back to create 14 aisles and 28 picking faces with an average aisle length of about 100 metres.

“Because the majority of the installation is designed to create back-to-back racking with two single depth aisles along the perimeter,” says Link 51’s Ken Sharpe, “the layout is inherently safe. However, one of the single depth racks is adjacent to a pedestrian walkway so we suggested and then installed our new nylon netting safety system. This is attached via a series of vertical cables fixed to the back of the full racking run and held under tension to ensure there is no risk of pallets accidentally falling from the rear of the racking. This is not only an effective safety measure but one which is cost effective to install and we are delighted both to have introduced the product and for a project of such significance to have been used for one of its early installations,” he says.
The bulk storage area is arranged in a series of 2.7 metre wide bays each of which can accommodate two pallets. The area dedicated to the BG Electrical operation sees this arrangement at the higher levels with four levels of 1.05 metre high shelving created lower down.
A number of major companies, such as B&Q, IKEA, Caterpillar and ASDA Wal-Mart, have been taking up Rack Armour – a system invented by Gordon Thelwell and produced by The Rack Group. The company says users can make savings of 80 per cent reduction in racking upright replacement costs.

Rack Armour uses modern ballistics grade materials and the design is based on sloping tank turret armour profiles.
Rack Armour’s conspicuous colouring and shape provides a clear indicator to mechanical handling equipment operators for their safe operating boundaries. The external ‘shock deflector’ component is made from ballistics grade high density polyethylene. The curved shape gives this component a low friction coefficient with high deflecting properties, making this component the key element in its strength and durability. Finally there is an internal ‘shock diffuser’ is of such shape, volume and density so as to spread, or ‘snow shoe’, the impact forces and induce inertia and an exaggerated path to the shock pulse.

Elsewhere, Kardex has updated its Industriever range of vertical carousel systems with integrated inventory management and access software. Capable of operating either as a central inventory store or as a fully integrated on-line parts access system, the Industriever system requires only a few square metres of floor space to manage anything from miniature electronic components to parts 2.5m or more in length.
The system allows time savings during picking and delivers increases in stock accuracy. It says that accuracy levels of over 99 per cent are frequently achieved in practice. By ensuring that parts are delivered at a comfortable working height, the Industriever system eliminates around 80 per cent of the manual handling effort typically associated with static shelving systems.
Industriever systems use a series of shelves rotating under fully automatic control. Advanced picking and sequencing algorithms, which can operate in stand-alone mode or integrate with all the major warehouse management systems, minimise travel time and ensure the highest possible levels of operator productivity. The vertical carousel configuration allows the highest possible storage density and best use of limited floor space.

SSI Schaefer has been developing and implementing the SSI Pickomat in the UK, since its launch some three years ago. Improved security, due to the enclosed build of the device and improved stock protection against dust, dirt and physical damage are two reasons why the Schaefer Pickomat is now being used in industries such as pharmaceutical, engineering supplies and spares stores.
Stannah Stairlifts recently installed a Pickomat in its spares store. “The Pickomat can be used as a stand-alone system for storage, buffering, accessing and order picking,” says product manager David Long. “Due to the highly dynamic drive technology using frequency-controlled drives, a trebling of order picking performance can be achieved compared to static systems. The dual staging of containers and materials on the same height level additionally increases efficiency.”
The market has also seen some take-overs and mergers. Norwegian group Aker Material Handling has taken over Dexion Comino, the UK based racking and shelving company, for an undisclosed sum. The company will continue to be known as Dexion Comino and be managed by the existing local management.

A combination of cantilever and A-frame racking from Sheffield-based Pro-Dek Storage Systems is providing high-density storage at a new distribution centre in Coventry opened by Richard Austin Alloys.
The warehouse currently holds some 2,000 tonnes of stock – twice as much as the previous building in Nottingham – and has the capacity to hold 3,000 tonnes in the future. Products consist of extrusions up to six metres long and sheet in 30 different sizes up to six metres x two metres, with around 800 tonnes a month being supplied to customers.

Pro-Dek was responsible for planning the project to maximise storage capacity and for installing a mixture of existing racking from Nottingham and new equipment from Pro-Dek. The layout also had to allow existing counterbalance trucks and new narrow-aisle sideloaders to be used.
The sheet is stored on seven-metre-high cantilever racking with arm lengths from 1100mm to 2200mm. Each vertical column has seven arm levels, each arm being adjustable in 150mm increments to allow for different pack sizes. Arms have a nominal load capacity of 1.5 tonnes, allowing up to three one-tonne packs to be stored on two arms.

Smaller products are stored on 1100mm and 1350mm arms on racking with 2760mm guided aisles for handling by sideloaders, while larger material is held on racking with six metre aisles and handled by counterbalance trucks. Some arms have provision for lateral bars to be fitted, which give Richard Austin Alloys the flexibility to store a wider variety of sizes safely in the future.
Extrusions measuring up to six metres long are stored in double-sided A-frame racks with adjustable spigot arms on each side.

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