Astranomical

AstraZeneca is one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. The business is focused on turning good ideas into innovative, effective medicines that make a real difference in important areas of healthcare. In 2005 the company’s sales totalled $24 billion dollars, with sales being made in over 100 countries.

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One of its 27 manufacturing sites is in Macclesfield, the historic Cheshire town on the edge of the Peak District. In 1997 Redirack installed a wide aisle racking system in the bulk storage warehouse on the site. Recently we worked with AstraZeneca again to improve efficiency within the busy facility.

The 16,000 metre² warehouse has 11,000 pallet locations. However, around 50% of the racking was configured to store only bespoke AstraZeneca pallets. Over time this has caused problems as pallets from suppliers had to be stored in specific locations or re-palletised to be stored safely. A major refurbishment of the warehouse was seen as the opportunity to re-arrange the racking to remove this problem.

The racking in question was largely undamaged and in excellent condition. This meant that a solution utilising the existing racking would be the most economical. Ultimately, we proposed that a low profile pallet tray be used to sit on top of the existing beams – an idea that was adopted by AstraZeneca.

The pallet trays are fixed, two to a pair of beams, and have three load bearing members that will support any standard two or four way pallet. They extend equally over the front and rear beams, having a front to back measurement of 1000mm. Being less than 50mm high the pallet trays didn’t require the beam spacings to be changed to maintain lift off tolerances.

The pallet trays were installed in three phases to around twenty double runs of racking. Interestingly they were installed to some non-Redirack racking without any loss of effectiveness.

For AstraZeneca this was a cost effective solution, which resulted in a warehouse that functioned more efficiently and put an end to re-palletisation. AstraZeneca’s racking now holds any type of pallet.

Dave Barker, AstraZeneca’s Operational User Representative, commented, “By listening carefully to our brief, Redirack came up with a great solution. They provided an excellent service from planning through to implementation. Our innovative solution has resulted in massive efficiency gains. I am delighted to say that our fork lift truck drivers are delighted- it makes their job much easier.”

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