As a company specialising in Industrial Storage Equipment, we are often asked to undertake larger projects on behalf of clients, however, rarely are they more involved than this particular distribution warehouse in Andover, Hampshire. The project comprised of a Category A, Crane Driven pallet Rack at over 60ft in height and a high bay shelving system, also crane driven and at over 50ft in height.

In all, 7 pallet racking cranes and 7 lighter grade shelving based cranes had to be removed together with two massive storage equipment installations occupying almost 200,000 square feet of warehouse. (Please see our separate case study covering the removal of the shelving based cranes.

Planning for the project took almost 3 months to complete and document. All steps of the project were carefully considered, before creating a health and safety based project binder of over 900 pages.

The entire project took a team of over 10 men, 3 months to complete.

Dexion Speedlock - Crane Driven pallet Racks

Our picture gallery shows the huge scale of these racks. Visually when stood at the foot of the racks, they have a scale more akin to a football pitch placed on its side. Designed by Dexion using captive aisle technology and 7.5 ton mobile Demag pallet cranes, the racks are tied together at the top using a system of portal beams. The cranes run along rails set within the ground based aisles and an Arial rail suspended from the portal beams at the top of the racks.

The racks contained several thousand bespoke slave pallets, which had to be removed before commencing any dismantling.

By arrangement, the cranes were left parked at the very end of the aisles and were planned to be removed once 80% of the racking installation had first been dismantled. At 60 ft high, we required a lot of space to handle the cranes within, and also to lie them down at floor level. Once the cranes were lifted down and cut up, the balance of the racking was then dismantled.

The ground based guide rails were removed first. This allowed us to deploy specialised platform lifts in to the aisle areas, from which, the top guide rail, portal ties and finally the racking would be dismantled.

Such was the narrowness of the aisles (Circa 2 Metres wide overall), only one company in the whole of the UK was able to supply the platform lifts at the specification required and at a price that made the eyes water.

Dismantling racks of this type is very much the opposite of constructing them. Therefore a top down protocol is adopted, starting with the top guide rail and portal ties, followed by beams and ancillary steel work. All work teams wear harnesses and lanyards whilst working at height – it is a slow, meticulous, methodical process. All recovered steel work must be loaded in to the platform lift before being lowered to ground level ready for packing up and removal from site.

Frames are lowered to ground level using a high lift fork truck equipped with a frame hook attachment. The hook engages with a frame about halfway up, before the frame is lifted just a few inches and then gently turned horizontally as its is lowered to ground level.

Once on the ground, the frame is split at its splicing points before being stacked and banded ready for transportation away from site.

Dexion Impex - Crane Driven Shelving Racks

In an identical manner to the crane driven pallet racking, the shelving installation was dismantled using specialised platform lifts in a top down manner.

Ground based aisle rails were removed first allowing us to deploy the platform lifts to the aisle areas. The top rails and portal ties were then removed followed by shelf panels and other ancillary steelwork. Frames were lifted out in modular sections before being lowered to ground level.

The majority of the picking cranes were removed before the outset of the second phase of shelving removal. It was necessary to dismantle a large volume of shelving in phase 1 in order to create enough space to lower the cranes to ground level.

All racking contained live sprinkler (Fire Suppression) systems which had to be removed before any racking was decommissioned.

The project created :-

12 No x 44 ft articulated lorries full of slave pallets,
20 No x 44 ft articulated lorries full of pallet racking in component form,
20 No x 44 ft articulated lorries full of shelving in component form,
20 salvage Containers of Waste Metals