Turning 'dead space' into productive storage with a mezzanine platform and pallet racking.
Having just extensively increased handling capacity by investing in a £5m state-of-the-art automated carpet cutting, wrapping and sorting machine our client was in urgent need of additional storage space to feed this extra volume. The new machine had been installed in an area previously used for dispatch and the loss of space was severely hindering the ability to handle materials, impeding dispatch and hampering productivity.
The client identified, part way through the installation of the new machinery, that they would not be able to continue operations once the machine was installed without increasing their existing storage capacity.
The client’s busy warehouse handles hundreds of orders per day and could not afford the disruption of large scale works, even for a short time.
While the existing warehouse initially appeared quite spacious with a lot of potential for extra storage, it quickly became apparent that due to the nature of their product and the specialist equipment used to handle it, there was no potential for existing racking on the floor of the facility. The turning circle required to safely handle the carpet stock was such that the apparent space was constantly in use for material handling.
The new machine, being long and low in shape, left considerable ‘dead space’ above it. Space Productiv Limited designed a 62m long ‘Mezzanine’ platform sitting 4.9m tall above the carpet machine and then installed 5m tall carpet racking along its whole length – providing 20 bays each with 6 levels.
The mezzanine uprights were designed to mirror those on the carpet machine to maintain clear access. Because mezzanine floors are designed to deflect, directly in contradiction to pallet racking which is designed not to, Space Productiv carefully adjusted the mezzanine design to ensure that it worked with the pallet racking and was completely safe.
Specially designed timber decking was then positioned within the beams to prevent unwanted movement.
Because the machinery was already installed, cranes and specialist equipment was needed. The client’s operation is 24/7 and works were continuing throughout the installation so careful risk assessments and management of health and safety was needed. The whole programme of works was completed on nights to ensure minimal disruption to the client – with phased deliveries and partial handovers to enable the night shift to continue picking hundreds of carpets every night ready for dispatch the following day.
The new storage solution has significantly reduced fork truck journeys and general handling, while accommodating 500/600 rolls per day – approximately 50% of the overall daily dispatch volumes. By making productive use of otherwise dead space we were able to save the client from considerable costs as the only alternative solution would have been to build, buy or move to create more storage space for their operation. This clever solution saved money while maintaining material handling efficiency and health and safety.
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