Storage Facility

Storage Facility

 

a building or structure used for storing raw materials and other materials, equipment, manufactured products, and the like.

Storage facilities are subdivided into the following categories: base, production, production-commercial, commercial, transit, distribution, general-purpose, and specialized facilities. Distribution storage facilities ensure the efficient transfer of goods from production and intermediate locations to final destinations, as well as efficient control of storage and distribution of material resources. General-purpose facilities are used for various materials and goods that can be stored together under identical conditions. Specialized warehouses are used to store goods of a special nature, such as liquid, loose, or explosive substances.

Storage facilities are set up to coincide with the principal flow of goods from producer to user. They may be built as individual facilities or as complexes with other facilities. The locations of storage facilities are chosen on the basis of the properties of the goods to be stored and the possibility of expanding the storage area. Preparatory and some production operations are often performed at storage facilities, for instance, the batching and prepackaging of items.

Piece and bulk goods are principally stored on racks or in stacks. Racks may be movable either by hand or a mechanical drive, or they may be stationary tunnel-type or multitiered racks. The handling equipment used in storage facilities includes mechanized and manual transport vehicles that move on rail tracks or across the open floor and that can handle goods in batches; hoisting cranes and mechanisms that provide a continuous transport of goods are also used. The most commonly used machines for handling materials are transport conveyors and floor vehicles, such as electric and automatic loaders and remote or program-controlled stackers for stacking and palletizing goods. In large facilities, the identification of goods, choice of storage location, and control of mechanisms are computerized.

Storage facilities may be open, semienclosed, or enclosed. Facilities built on open areas are used for storing containers and heavy loads. Semienclosed (canopy-type) facilities may be single-span or multispan structures. Enclosed storage facilities —warehouses—may be single-story or multistory buildings with heating or without it. They may be built above ground, underground, or partially underground. The planning and structural design of storage facilities are governed by general design principles for industrial buildings. The most widely used type of warehouse is single story and may use multitiered rack facilities. This type of structure offers a number of advantages in comparison with a multistory building if the turnover of goods is high and the inventory is quite varied. Such advantages include the possibilities of integrating use of the warehouse more effectively into the production flow, using the available storage area more efficiently, and reducing operating expenses.

Metal or reinforced-concrete tanks built above ground, underground, or partially underground are used to store such liquids as petroleum products. Storage facilities for loose materials that are unaffected by atmospheric conditions are usually built as open facilities and are equipped with bridge cranes, gantry cranes, or jib cranes. Loose materials that may be adversely affected by atmospheric moisture, such as ores and chemical fertilizers, are stored in warehouses equipped with conveyors or under canopies equipped with bridge cranes or jib cranes. Silos equipped with vertical and horizontal conveyors are used to store grain products, cement, and other valuable loose materials.

Current trends in the design and construction of storage facilities include increasing the height of the storage space, spacing support columns more widely apart, using lightweight load-bearing and enclosing structures, such as roofing made of corrugated aluminum-alloy sheets and wall panels made of shaped sheet steel, and incorporating the rack structures in the roof design and in the fastening of the enclosing walls. The use of inflatable structures, underground structures, and facilities located in mining excavations can be very effective ways of reducing capital investment.

REFERENCES

Smekhov, A. A. A vtomatizatsiia na skladakh, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1971.
Perten, lu. A. Mekhanizatsiia i avtomatizatsiia skladov shtuchnykh gruzov. Leningrad, 1972.

A. IA. GIMMEL’FARB [23–1515–]

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