The late summer is a good time to get warehouse buildings ready for the coming winter, with the build-up to the Christmas peak approaching. On top of that, this year many businesses are taking more precautions than usual because of concerns about Brexit.

When getting ready for winter, checking your emergency lighting arrangements is a priority even in normal times. With any loss of power, effective emergency lighting ensures safety and peace of mind for everyone on the premises. Evacuating a warehouse in darkness can be difficult and dangerous, but emergency lighting ensures it is well-lit and easy to navigate, highlighting large obstacles or potential hazards. Emergency lighting is integral to evacuation plans for any building and is also a legal requirement where people are exposed to danger in the event of failure of artificial lighting, as is the case in today’s high-density warehouses.

Smart LED lighting in warehouse environments is the perfect choice for emergency lighting, say LED Eco Lights. Their SMART LED lighting systems transform the implementation of emergency lighting, among other things enabling businesses to automate routine and periodic testing of emergency lighting, and regulatory reporting and recording of test results.

Many warehouses would benefit from additional space to increase warehouse efficiency at the best of times, never mind in the current climate. Temporary structures offer a bespoke approach to overcome these hurdles. Copri Systems recently designed and installed a bespoke ‘T’ shaped canopy for Ocado, allowing vans to be loaded and left undercover, plugged into mains electricity, until ready to deliver. This freed space in the main warehouse for new goods coming in. In another recent Copri contract, Johnson Matthey’s Process Technology Division bought a purpose-built canopy for use as a combined storage and loading facility for finished products. Their considerations included the need for security, keeping the product dry and the facility to enter into a rental lease agreement over a five-year period, not just the short term.

Whatever else might happen over the next few weeks, warehouse occupiers need a reliable supplier of building products at all times. Founded in 1977, S & L United Storage Systems has developed from a racking and shelving supplier and installer into a major designer, supplier and manufacturer of mezzanine floors, staircases, lift shafts, bespoke fabrications, structural steelwork and specialist fabrications. S&L work closely with architects and specifiers to help clients achieve their goals. They still make racking and shelving as well.

Finally, warehouse buildings are getting smarter, in line with the rapid advances in materials handling technology and the move to automation. As an example, GEBHARDT’s GridPick is a new system for enhanced order picking efficiency in manual warehouses. GEBHARDT’s StoreWare warehouse control system guides the GridPick driverless transport robots through the warehouse and the picking process in a route-optimised manner. As part of the setup, LED strips are integrated on the side of the loading area, indicating the containers in which scanned articles are to be placed according to the put-to-light principle, eliminating false picks almost completely.

Bill Redmond

Features Editor