Storage redesign increases capacity, improves ergonomics

The business of Security Business Records Management (SBRM) of Knoxville, TN, is storage and management: business records, paper documents, blueprints, microfilm, computer, digital and videotapes, optical disks, and other archival material. The company stores the material in boxes that are 12 in. wide x 10.5 in. high x 15 in. deep.

The company's success helped it to double in size in just three years. When a second building was deemed necessary in 2001, SBRM decided to build a 30-ft.-high facility to replace the 20-ft. building it was using. Company officials determined that they could get as much box storage capacity out of a 10,000 square foot building with a higher ceiling than they would with a 20,000 square foot building with a lower ceiling.

SBRM selected SpaceRak to design and provide the needed storage rack systems. SBRM owner Gene Akers decided to switch to a catwalk format with stairs and tiered walkways, so that personnel could directly access stored materials without using a scissors lift. When only a few boxes would need to be handled, personnel could walk the material down to the floor level themselves. The catwalk concept would result in additional savings that could be passed on to customers.

SBRM also wanted to create a higher density of stored materials, moving from a two-deep, two-high box configuration to a three-deep, three-high system. This design creates units of nine boxes, which are organized under a single barcode, and also reduces inventory tracking by assigning fewer spaces.

On the horizontal plane, there are nine boxes across each 10-ft. wide shelf. This adds up to a total of 81 boxes per shelf (nine wide x three high x three deep). The SpaceRak system supports this weight (approximately 2,800 lbs. with filled boxes) with a four-in. beam, as opposed to the four and 3/8 in. size that is typically used.

One potential problem: when a storage or retrieval order involves dozens or hundreds of boxes, the boxes are loaded onto a pallet for handling. Since the top storage level is higher than their lift capacity, a "pallet drop tower" was added to create a landing at a lower level that could be accessed by the lift. Without this custom-height tower, personnel would have to climb out on the lift to reach the boxes.

Another component of the tower is the sliding safety gate that protects personnel while they are loading or unloading a pallet. SpaceRak designed recessed tracks for the safety gate, so that the castors and track are not damaged by the palletss or the lift truck forks when they move across the opening.

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