MIDDLETON – Waste management machinery designer and manufacturer Whitham Mills, has been appointed by leading sports-fashion retailer JD Sports Fashion plc to design, install and maintain a new waste management system at its national distribution centre at Kingsway Business Park, Rochdale.
The six-figure contract will see Whitham Mills install a 1700mm wide conveyor which will transport waste cardboard to a 20 tonnes-per-hour GB1111FS baler, situated outside the main distribution centre building.
Waste streams in distribution centres are identified as a potential fire risk leading Whitham Mills to design an enclosed baler feed conveyor system which includes an automatic fire door and fire-suppressing sprinkler system.
If activated, the system automatically closes the fire door at the conveyor’s exit point, isolating the fire and allowing the sprinkler system to take control.
The design separates both the waste stream and its sprinkler system from the rest of the distribution centre reducing any risk of water and smoke damage to the stored stock awaiting fulfilment.
Fire risk at distribution centres were starkly demonstrated in September 2014 when a fire at online fashion retailer ASOS’s distribution centre in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was reported to have caused £30 million of damage.
Managing Director at Whitham Mills, Ben Smart, said: “At Whitham Mills we take the challenges set by our customers and identify efficient and imaginative systems which respond to their needs. There is rarely an off-the-shelf system which is suitable which is why our engineering know-how is so important to our customers.
“In this instance we’ve designed a system which will supress any fire in a way which will protect stock and allow the distribution centre to return to operations as quickly as possible.”
Whitham Mills secured the contract following a recommendation from JD Sports’ waste management company, Wheldon Brothers and will also be providing a service contract.