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Keele University

About the Client:

Keele is a campus university with over 12,500 students, nestled in 600 acres of Staffordshire countryside, just an hour from Manchester and Birmingham. It’s a big campus but a small and cosmopolitan community, with space to think and plenty to do.

The Campus was established in 1949 by Lord Lindsay with aim to produce graduates who not only had the technical and specialist knowledge to move society forward, but who understood the social and political landscape that drove this need.

The campus has expanded exponentially since the early 2000’s with numerous new buildings, and expanded capacity. Together with new labs and facilities for students, there has been a push to provide office and lab space for businesses.

Keele University Central Science Laboratories

Keele University Central Science Laboratories

Keele University Central Science Lab

New – Impressive Collaborative Teaching Space


During 2019 the team at Keele University were looking to build a new 5300m2 central lab building. The £34m building aimed to improve the teaching provision across a range of scientific disciplines with students benefitting from transformational teaching in a space designed to encourage and enable collaborative and interdisciplinary working.

A part of the development was the combination of a number of departments into a single building, relocating them into a single space. When the planning was undertaken for the relocation of the geology archive it was realised that with limited space they needed a solution to compact these together, but keep then cataloged and easy to retrieve. Further, the geology samples consisted of rock, mineral and fossil samples numbered in their thousands. The shear number was a factor, but also the weight of them. The samples weighed many tons and it was realised that a standard shelving system would not cope with the volume or weight.

With experience in the Education storage sector stretching back to 1984, Keele University turned to local specialist storage supplier Rackline to look into their issues and suggest a solution.


Rackline sent in its space planning experts, who examined the space available, access requirements and weights of the samples. The conclusion reached was that the department required a combination of static shelving, combined with several racks of multitrak mobile racking (roller racking). This was to be bespoke manufactured to fit their space and feature robust metal drawer units instead of shelving to ensure the correct cataloging of items.

High Density University Roller Racking

Multiple banks of Multitrak mobile storage

Robust Roller Racking

Multiple tracks spread the immense weight

Strong Mobile Shelving

Each bank contains 60 strong steel drawers

Strong Static Shelving

Each end consists of strong Prospan static shelving

High Density Roller Racking

Steel drawers are designed to be labelled

Strong Steel Shelves Within Roller Racking

Drawers are designed to pull out almost completely.


Rackline’s high-density Multitrak roller racking system provides up to 70% more storage space than traditional fixed shelving. The steel construction ensures that, even with extreme weights the carriages don’t flex or deform.

Mutlitrak also come with multiple tracks which are manufactured and firmly secured to the concrete floor of the building. These spread the weight and ensure smooth operation for the units.

Drawers were designed to allow simple cataloging of items, resulting it quick retrieval when required. Additionally drawers retract out from the units almost fully for full access.

Other Projects:

Together with the implementation of mobile shelving/roller racking Keele University’s various departments have turned to Rackline for its storage knowledge. This has resulted in the supply of many products into their buildings, from mobile racking to static shelving.

To find out more about Rackline’s collection of Mobile Shelving see here, or to explore the solutions for the education sector see here.