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Link 51 storage connects with electrical distribution needs

The electrical product distribution success that sees 5,000 lines supplied to both the retail and the trade sectors by Nexus Industries via their Masterplug and BG Electrical operations, has now been enhanced by a major Link 51 pallet racking installation. The facility provides some 12,500 pallet positions at the organisation's Telford premises and is one of the first sites in the country to benefit from a newly introduced safety feature from the country's largest pallet racking manufacturer.

The premises represents the centralisation of the Masterplug and BG Electrical operations and now acts as a nation-wide distribution hub, replacing corresponding facilities in Wales and Kent. 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 majority of the former is via a number of regional distribution centres whilst the latter also sees supply direct to individual trade counters.

The vast range of product lines – typically some 4,500 to 5,000 are held in stock – are now located in both a bulk and fast turnround racking installation that has been completed in just 2½ 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 approximately 100 metres. With up to seven storage levels available, a remarkable 16 kms of linear space is now available at the site which is serviced by three dock levellers and one flat loading area. These can receive up to six containers in a day with corresponding despatch via twelve 40 foot lorries and a number of smaller distribution vehicles.

“Because the majority of the installation is designed to create back-to-back racking with two single depth aisles along the perimeter,” comments Link 51's Major Accounts Sales Manager, 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 a highly effective safety measure but one which is extremely 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. However, the area that is 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. These latter elements have been fitted with chipboard infills designed to accommodate smaller cartons broken down from the bulk storage area – thus matching the distribution profile required by the BG Electrical operation.

Representing a complete re-fit of an existing building, the Link 51 design makes full use of the triple apex roof design and incorporates a series of forklift truck access aisles where the lower levels of racking have been removed. Storage facilities are still retained above but this arrangement makes a significant contribution to efficient forklift truck movement around the premises. The racking frames themselves have been installed to a maximum height of approximately 8.5 metres and can accommodate up to 1,000 kgs per unit.

“This is a major development for our operation and, because it represents the rationalisation of our distribution network, it is clearly a vital element of the continuing success of both the Masterplug and BG Electrical organisations,” comments Nexus Industries' Project Manager at the site, David Weatherstone.

“It is a facility that reflects Masterplug's leading position in its sector and BG Electrical's role amongst the top four or five trade distribution operations and which we believe has benefited from the combination of design, versatility, delivery capability and competitive pricing that Link 51 has been able to supply,” he concludes.

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