With the capacity to store up to one million boxes and cartons, the recently opened Sala International facility in Sherburn, North Yorkshire, enhances the company’s position as one of the UK’s leading record management and document archive companies. The 92,000 sq. ft. facility also takes full advantage of pallet racking systems installed by Link 51, which are designed to optimise both long term storage and to provide an innovative means of live file retrieval.
Created to enhance ISO-accredited Sala’s established business, the development builds on the success of exiting facilities at Shoeburyness and Bermondsey. One of the key considerations of the layout and design at the new site was to enhance the organisation’s growing file management capability whereby retrieval of live files – both for physical transfer to customers and for scanning and electronic forwarding – is allowing the company to stay at the leading edge of the document storage sector.
"Each of the aisles at the site provides up to 12 beam levels," explains Link 51’s Sales Director, Keith Evans, "and, although based on a conventional back-to-back configuration, each run also features a central tunnel through its entire 126 metre length. This approach allows two-sided pedestrian access to the boxes stored at the lower levels – those most likely to be retrieved regularly – thereby enabling the maximum amount of storage space within the warehouse to be realised." He notes that the layout also benefits from two lateral forklift truck tunnels to aid vehicle movement around the warehouse.
Throughout the facility, Link 51 has used slatted wooden shelving onto which storage boxes can be placed directly. At the same time, the racking specialist has worked closely with the in-rack sprinkler system supplier – to include the installation of an external reservoir and pump room facility – whilst separate storage areas have also been created to allow Sala to offer customers FM 200 Gas Protection. The design also incorporates PIR-operated lighting which, because it is only activated when needed, makes a considerable contribution to controlling energy consumption costs.
"It is vital that we provide a facility to our customers that delivers both 24 hour file retrieval capability and long term storage – it being not unusual to hold material on site for up to 15 years although in a number of cases, the requirement is indefinite," says Ron Condron, General Manager at Sala International. "With customers in industries such as financial services, the public sector and retail as well as, extensively, the health sector, the creation and the need to retain documents is extremely significant and growing all the time." He also points out that the organisation offers an extensive histological archive for the NHS as well as providing micro-film and micro-fiche storage and a CD exchange and back-up service to the IT industry.
"This is a major development for us and one which enhances not only our performance capability but also our standing as a national service provider," continues Ron Condron, "and it was vital that the optimum mix of capacity and access was built into the design. At the same time, we required our racking installer to liase directly with a number of other key suppliers on site during the construction period to enable the build programme and the transfer of files from our premises in the south east to move ahead as smoothly as possible."
"This is an excellent example of our layout design and project management capability being used to tailor a storage solution to meet very specific requirements from a major customer in its field," adds Keith Evans. "With a million box capacity, this is clearly a major installation and one which we are delighted to have contributed towards."