Sainsbury's Distribution Centres, Hams Hall, Birmingham & Waltham Point, London.

Sainsbury's Distribution Centres, Hams Hall, Birmingham & Waltham Point, London.

Client: Sainsbury's
Type of works: supply of mezzanine floors for conveyor support platforms.

When multi-national logistics systems provider Siemens Dematic was awarded the systems contract at supermarket giant Sainsbury's new regional distribution centre at Hams Hall, in turn they placed a substantial sub-contract with Mezzanine for the supply and installation of conveyor support platforms. The 65,000m2 automated, paper-free, DC is the first significant part of a wide scale re-engineering of Sainsbury's supply chain network. It is designed to handle ambient, bulky, perishables and produce networks to serve over 200 Sainsbury stores.

Delivered by suppliers as palletised goods, product is picked by case, or item, and then despatched to individual stores in roll cages or on pallets. A continuous flow of goods is ensured using sophisticated materials handling equipment comprising pallet conveyors, automated storage & retrieval system (ASRS) for pallets, belt conveyors and totes. A double deck cross-belt sorter is used for perishable product cross-docking from 0800-2130 and for ambient sortation from 2130-0600; although, if required, both ambient and perishable goods can be picked concurrently.

In the ambient storage hall, Mezzanine constructed two mirror image platforms along opposite walls. Each platform supports conveyor systems routing pallets to 16 pallet stripping stations. Pallet stripping is enhanced by using 16 mini platforms, suspended from the main structure, each supporting a scissor lift. This enables the lifts to be parked below the decking and raised to operational level when required.

Built on a very large basic column grid, 14.6m by 8m, to ensure maximum space below the platforms, each platform is 1850m2 and is installed to a finished height of 6.2m. The largest beam spans are up to 18 m long, they are 914mm deep and weigh in excess of 4.5 tonnes. At one end of each platform Mezzanine has installed 5 'finger platforms' extending beyond the main structure to allow conveyor runs to reach the ASRS racks.

Mezzanine designed the platforms to suit the static and dynamic loads from the many conveyor runs throughout the mezzanine level. The main platform was also designed to accommodate robotic machinery, of the type used in car production lines. The platform was also designed to connect to 12 columns shared with an adjacent structure. After the main structures were installed, 19 additional operator platforms (incorporating 12 different designs) were mounted on each mezzanine.

Finally, Mezzanine designed and installed a 35m long, 6m high structure, incorporating walkways and access ladders, to carry the case conveyor transfer between the ambient and chill sections of the warehouse.

With Hams Hall successfully under way, Siemens Dematic awarded Mezzanine the sister Sainsbury project at the 56,000m2 Waltham Point site. Essentially a replica of its work at Hams Hall, the main structures at Waltham Point are each 1970m2.

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