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Racking plays key role in new warehouse for distributor

15 October 2018

Aerospace aftermarket firm Satair has developed a new UK warehousing and workshop facility, close to London’s Heathrow Airport which will extend its capacity for handling dangerous goods.

The new warehouse at Space Waye, North Feltham Trading Estate, is part of a multi-million pound investment programme. As a result of rapid growth throughout the Group, Satair required a larger premises with maximum capacity and scaleability for future expansion, and that would facilitate the extension of its dangerous goods handling service.

The Space Waye site has six times the area and 11 times the cubic capacity of the previous Heston, Middlesex location, which Satair had occupied for almost 30 years prior. 

Having worked with Jungheinrich on other projects internationally, Satair commissioned the intralogistics experts to collaborate consultatively on the design and implementation of a bespoke man-up high bay racking solution, with supporting materials handling equipment, to create and manage approximately 1,000 pallet spaces. The solution comprises everything from the racking, to the high rack stacker – the Jungheinrich model EKX 412 – and a range of additional equipment, including the Jungheinrich EFG 430k electric four-wheel counterbalanced fork lift truck, EJE 116 powered pallet truck and a number of hand pallet trucks.

Jon Ravenhall, managing director Satair UK and Head of Operations Repair Europe (UK), explains: “Satair UK operates in a niche and highly regulated arena, maintaining and servicing aerospace batteries. As a Group, we have been growing rapidly over the past three years by 17-18 per cent per annum, which resulted in us outgrowing our existing operation. So, when it came to designing the new warehouse solution, it was imperative that it was flexible enough to scale with the business, but while meeting strict regulations, with a materials handling operation that could be relied upon to safely manoeuvre dangerous goods as well as stock of all shapes and sizes.

“The team from Jungheinrich discussed with us our aims and objectives at length, and presented a number of design iterations in order to come up with a solution that suited everybody, and that was wholly operational and flexible. From that point on, Jungheinrich handled everything, from installation of the racking to delivery and commissioning of the trucks, right through to arranging training for the operators. The handling methodologies are proving excellent and it is already evident that, with the space and layout we have, our operations and maintainance of stock integrity are far more efficient.”

Steve Richmond, director – logistics systems, Jungheinrich UK, concludes: “Satair operates a successful and fast growing business that is also very specialised and highly regulated. A one size fits all approach was simply out of the question, and so we were pleased to work consultatively with Satair to design and implement a bespoke solution that would accommodate all of their UK business needs. Every operation is unique, and treating each one as such is a commitment that lies at the very heart of Jungheinrich and its end-to-end approach to intralogistics.”

Currently Satair services some 7,500 aircraft batteries a year, making it one of the largest commercial aircraft battery servicing operations in the world. Some 180 customers, ranging from international scheduled airlines, charter carriers, large low-cost airlines and regional airlines to MRO companies, helicopter owners, business jets and private aircraft owners have their batteries serviced by Satair UK. The business is also one of the world’s largest aviation battery distributors, and provides genuine Airbus Material Support as the sole Airbus authorised distributor for a wide range of Proprietary Products and Services accessible through the trading partner Airbus SAS.

Completion of the new site for Satair’s UK operation, which became fully operational earlier in the year, was marked by an open day with customers and suppliers on 25th September.