Wednesday 28th Sep 2016 - Logistics Manager

Conveyor offers flexibility for future expansion Voice system enhances accuracy and productivity

A fully integrated handling system has been installed at Retail Variations’ 21,390sq m warehouse at Workington. The conveying system was designed, manufactured, installed and commissioned by Peer Conveyors along with the writing of PLC software and integrating controls.

Peter Holding, project manager at Retail Variations, awarded the contract to supply a conveying system to service the needs of the distribution depot for the handling of cartons and plastic tote boxes of goods from the vehicle unloading bay and storage areas. Incoming goods are transported via an operator-input station, scanned and diverted electronically to bulk storage located at ground level and on two mezzanine floors.

Commenting on the contract to Peer Conveyors, Holding says: “Their system proposal was competitive and, more importantly, met our criteria and system functionality required in terms of volume throughput and carton size / capability. The system design also provided Retail Variations with the flexibility to extend the conveying system to meet future expansion. There was the additional advantage of Peer Conveyors providing a ‘one stop source’ service.”

Incoming cartons, weighing about 12kg, are barcode labelled for identification and tracking, and placed on to a low level 12m gravity roller conveyor. They transfer to a high-level powered lineshaft roller conveyor to be transported along the main building wall towards the bulk storage area, where they are identified by scanner and automatically routed via a chain transfer unit and incline/decline belt conveyors to one of three floors.

At each level, product feeds off the conveyor belt on to a 3m section of gravity roller track for manual loading/unloading as required. All powered roller and belt conveyors supplied are reversible to provide for maximum system flexibility.

Product is picked from bulk store on floors one and two to replenish stock for despatch at ground floor level. On both upper floors, plastic order pick containers are manually loaded onto a lineshaft conveyor incorporating a 90° bend, feeding onto a decline belt conveyor to deliver the goods to ground floor level.

Holding says it is vital that product flows smoothly and without risk in terms of health and safety. “The conveyors have provided us with this and can be expanded and updated as volumes increase,” he adds.

Retail Variations’ operations include businesses such as Past Times, Hawkshead, Manners, SF Cody and Ocean Home Shopping.