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(Editor’s note: The Business Journal features profiles of North Bay construction projects that are complete or nearly so. Send details to jquackenbush@busjrnl.com or fax to 707-521-5292.)

[caption id="attachment_17446" align="alignleft" width="313" caption="Installation of wall panels around the 11 million pounds of steel racking in Meyer Corp.'s new automated warehouse in Fairfield. (Meyer Corp. photos)"][/caption]

Meyer Corp. automated storage and retrieval system building

2001 Meyer Way, Fairfield

Owner: Meyer Cookware Industries Inc., Vallejo

Project manager: Danae Gemmell, Gemmell Consulting, Vallejo

Description: 165,000-square-foot addition to an existing 363,400-square-foot distribution warehouse

Estimated completion: February 2010

Contractors: general – Carmichael Construction, Carmichael; automation – Daifuku America, Salt Lake City; rack manufacturing and installation –Frazier Industrial, Long Valley, N.J.

Architecture: structure – Comstock Johnson Architects, Mather; landscape – MTW Group, Sacramento

Engineering: civil – Creegan & D'Angelo, Fairfield; structural – Bevier Structural Engineering, Sacramento; electrical – Norberg Engineering, El Dorado Hills; soils and materials – Kleinfelder, Sacramento

[caption id="attachment_17448" align="alignright" width="314" caption="An artist rendering of Meyer Corp.'s new automated warehouse in Fairfield."][/caption]

With steel racking 11 stories tall and weighing 11 million pounds, the automated warehouse Vallejo-based Meyer Corp. U.S. is completing at its Fairfield distribution facilities is one of the tallest buildings in Solano County.

When completed next month as anticipated, the 100-foot-high building will be able to accommodate 66,000 pallets of kitchenware produced by Hong Kong-based affiliate Meyer Manufacturing Co. Ltd. A dozen fully automated cranes are designed to move 60 pallets an hour.

It's thought to be the largest automated warehouse in the western U.S., according to the Solano Economic Development Corp.

Such heavy-duty racking to allow such high stacking and robotic pallet handling allowed the building to occupy a much smaller footprint, according to spokeswoman Cathleen Mandigo.

"The equivalent number of pallets in a flat traditional warehouse would have taken up 750,000 square feet," she said.

The racking segments measure 10 feet deep by 60 feet long by 100 feet high and needed to be installed on the reinforced concrete slab before the walls were attached. The slab called for 11,000 cubic yards of concrete, poured 30 truckloads per evening from three concrete plants.

The project included reclaimed materials, including 80,000 pounds of asphalt ripped up during the repaving of nearby Interstate 80 and 80 percent recycled steel in the racking.

Meyer recently had a 485 kilowatt-hour per year photovoltaic power system installed on the existing 364,000-square-foot warehouse, and the new facility is designed to accommodate more panels.

The company has about 600,000 square feet of warehouses and offices in three Fairfield locations, with plans to build more offices and facilities on another 20 acres of land.

Meyer acquired the land in 1997 and started construction on the addition in April 2009.

[caption id="attachment_17447" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Rails inside the warehouse"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_17444" align="alignleft" width="235" caption="Meyer Corp.'s new automated warehouse can be seen on the left side of the existing distribution center at the top of this aerial photo."][/caption]

Meyer Manufacturing started in 1951 to make flashlights, ashtrays and other consumer products then transitioned to cookware in 1971, when Chief Executive Officer Stanley Cheng joined the business. The distribution company relocated to California in the early 1990s.

According to Meyer, the Meyer group of affiliates is the second largest cookware manufacturer in the world, producing more than 30 million pans annually in global markets. The affiliates have plants in Italy, Thailand and China. Brands include Circulon, Anolon, Farberware, KitchenAid Cookware, BonJour and SilverStone. The Meyer group also makes private-label cookware for retailers such as Sur La Table and celebrity chefs like Rachael Ray and Paula Deen.

CORRECTION, Jan. 15, 2010: Meyer Cookware Industries Inc. is the owner of the project. Meyer Corp. U.S., Meyer Cookware Industries and Meyer Manufacturing Co. Ltd. are part of a group of affiliated, separate companies. Incorrect information appeared in the story.