Flexible handling boosts loading bay efficiency

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Davies Turner has invested in flexible, high-volume carton handling equipment at its distribution centre near Dartford, Kent, which provides third-party logistics to customers in the South-east. The equipment was installed by European Conveyor Systems (ECS).

In order to maximise the space available in the despatch area, Davies Turner had to be able to unload incoming deliveries in the loading bay as quickly as possible and deliver them with minimal manual handling to a first floor mezzanine for sorting, palletising and then storing in the high bay warehouse. The company also wanted a safe, convenient method of delivering out-bound cartons from the three mezzanine floors down to the despatch area, where they can be loaded directly on to trailers or batched/pallletised before loading.

For incoming goods ECS installed four powered flexible conveyors, each linked via belt belt conveyors to a high-speed lightweight vertical carton lift. The flexible conveyors are long enough to reach inside trailers parked at any of the warehouse’s 17 loading docks. Sensors at the lifts’ entrance detect carton size and index one or two cartons onto the lift carrier belt, which automatically sends them to the first floor mezzanine. The lifts take up minimal space in the despatch area, which was essential to meet Davies Turner’s requirements, and can complete 300 cycles an hour each.

Old-bound cartons collected from the pick-faces on the three upper decks for despatch are delivered to the ground floor by central belt conveyor with tight curves that minimise the space they take. ECS installed a belt conveyor system rather than chutes to aid manual handling, give easier operation and avoid damage to fragile products. The belt conveyors can also be reversed to take incoming up to the first floor, when required, with throughputs of 1,200 cartons per hour.

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