Storage strategies

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Industore is to supply Lex Auto Logistics with its Fast Pick Small Parts Storage package, at its new 268,000 sq ft £20 million facility in Chorley, Lancashire. It will comprise of 20 Hänel Lean-Lifts at a height of 12m, grouped into six separate activity zones. The zones will be served via a computer controlled-conveyor system.

The Industore software will be fully integrated with the Lex Auto Logistic ERP system and will control the functions of picking, replenishment and perpetual inventory, passing commands to the conveyor to control transactions associated with tote movements in and out of the zones. The software will also organise and co-ordinate picks into totes within the zones and control all associated paperwork.

Each Lean-Lift will be supplied with a label printer. Each label will include; customer, route, part description and order number. Lex Auto Logistics says that it has spent a considerable amount of time looking at a variety of suppliers to find the right solution and importantly the right partner to deliver its vision for the critical Small Parts Area of its distribution centre. Keith Dewhurst, head of information services said: “We have been able to work together with the Industore software engineers to provide us with a bespoke software solution that sits well with our existing host system processes and client specific requirements.”

Hänel is providing a new goods-to-man system for electronics distributor, Mayflex. The company has recently invested in the automated storage systems for its warehouse in Birmingham.

Small to medium-sized goods used to be stored on conventional shelving fitted on ground and mezzanine floor levels, however, due to expansion of its operation, Mayflex says that it was faced with a storage problem that traditional racking and shelving methods could not address. It investigated the automated vertical storage market and chose IAS Industore, the sole UK and Ireland supplier of Hänel automated storage systems, to provide a solution. IAS Industore subsequently installed six Hänel Lean Lifts, which fully used the 9.5 ms of height available in the warehouse. The mezzanine floor, along with all shelving, was removed. With all stock now stored in the Lean Lifts a massive 80 per cent of valuable floor space was saved. This provided Mayflex with the excess capacity sought within the existing warehouse area.

IAS Industore bespoke software was interfaced with the Mayflex warehouse management system, to enhance the stock pick/replenish operation. This provided further savings in time and labour costs which, combined with the massive space savings, gave Mayflex a return on investment which was well within the two year target for the project.

Jez Warne, Mayflex logistics manager said: “The speed at which goods are picked and replenished using the Lean Lifts, ensures that both efficiency and accuracy is substantially enhanced. The software designed exclusively for Mayflex by IAS Industore, offers us a unique picking experience not offered anywhere else in the UK”.

Linpac Storage Systems has completed a bespoke racking solution for Gefco Logistics Solution’s 21,000 sq m purpose-built facility in Coventry. With a standard pallet capacity of over 20,000 locations the first phase of the project began as the finishing touches were being made to the new building. Andrew Hill, Gefco’s UK logistics manager said: “My choice was motivated by Linpac’s absolute commitment that the racking would be completed on schedule and within budget. The assurances they gave us, supported by the strength of their UK based manufacturing facility in Milton Keynes, gave me the confidence to award them the business. In total there are 18 double and two single runs of racking, all of which are 32 bays in length to provide storage for either 20,700 1200 x 1000mm 4-way entry pallets or 30,800 Euro pallets.

Rentacrate has launched what it describes as “an entirely unique” RTP container and hygiene pallet pool for the food production and retail logistics market. Each of Rentacrate’s food trays and hygiene pallets are marked with a 2D Data Matrix code encoding a Global Returnable Asset Identification number. The unique identification allows for Automatic Identification and Data Capture using digital readers and its own bespoke Detect and Decode software. An entire pallet of nested or stacked food trays may be read and recognised within five seconds. In tracking crate and pallet movements the system’s digital image recognition is significantly more reliable and more cost effective than RFID solutions.

Rentacrate director, John Mitchell, says: “We already provide food producers and retailers with rental containers but could see that large segments of the same industries could benefit enormously by the move from cardboard to returnable packing. The main reasons for their reluctance to make the switch, was their concern about the prospect of extended rental charges on assets outside of their direct control and their exposure to compensation charges for tray and pallet losses.”

Barton Storage Systems has been chosen to deliver a storage solution for a major project at Bull Ring, Birmingham. Danny Rodbourne from Barton Storage said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to work on this high profile contract which will see the basements of Bullring transformed using our Industrial Mesh Walls. The mesh walls are fixed partitions suitable for permanent or temporary sitting in a variety of environments. The system is modular in nature and as such can be easily installed, extended or repositioned with minimal disruption.”

Peter Browning managing director at WPM Group said: “Barton Storage was the ideal choice for this project. They provided us with Industrial Mesh Walls, which was a resourceful method of using space by dividing the area into 10 separate rooms off one main corridor. This was an excellent solution as the partitioning is a very robust system, which created secure individual storage locations that are used by different retail stores.”

Rapid Racking has helped electrical contractor, Clarkson Evans, increase its storage capacity at its Staverton site, near Gloucestershire. Having worked with Clarkson Evans for many years, Rapid Racking had already maximised the Staverton premises, but further expansion was required.

Adrian Jefferies, a designer for Rapid Racking, said: “Their requirement is a pretty common one these days. Many companies are expanding and need to find additional storage space within their existing premises”. Phase one of the project was to erect a mezzanine floor over the top of the existing racking. Phase two of the project was to install further racking over the entire area of the new mezzanine floor. Rod Pratt, Clarkson Evans’ regional stores manager said: “It was essential that this project took place with minimum disruption to our operation.

Rapid Racking were able to install the mezzanine floor over one weekend. We needed to be up and running on the Monday and I am pleased to say that the job was completed on time within the agreed installation schedule.”

A bright spark

A new gravity-fed live storage order fulfilment system has been supplied to Yuasa Automotive Batteries Europe, one of the world’s largest battery manufacturers. The Live Storage Company has increased pick rates by reducing travel distances and eliminating congestion and delays for order pickers and replenishers.

The new system, which incorporates modular Span Track full-width flow track units, has also improved ergonomics because items are fed automatically to the pick face. The installation was completed by The Live Storage Company in one day, which helped minimise disruption.

“The anticipated efficiency gains will mean a quick return on investment,” says Martin Le-Roy, plant manager for Yuasa. “We are very pleased with the way this project was implemented and we intend to further strengthen our distribution systems at other sites.”

Through its continuous improvement process the company focused on the existing warehousing operation. Personnel were travelling up and down aisles of pallet racking on forklift trucks picking batteries from ground level locations to fulfil orders. The company recognised that pick rates could be improved by reducing the travel distances between stock locations. Yuasa chose The Live Storage Company to introduce a gravity fed live storage system into the distribution centre.

Consultant Richard Fernley said: “Handling automotive batteries with the inherent weight and hazardous substances involved requires some creative thinking. The Live Storage Company delivered the right design and service levels which were needed and the installation was completed with the minimum of disruption.”

The new system has 800 storage lanes split into two runs. Operatives can now access the majority of order lines within 30 ms. The new layout provides one central picking aisle and two separate replenishment aisles to the rear of the live storage racks. Yuasa says that pick rates have improved dramatically because travel distances have been reduced. Congestion and delays between order pickers and replenishers have also been eliminated.

Span Track is designed to take the abuse of busy warehouses and assembly plants. Full-width rollers ensure total support for items with up to 300 per cent more product contact than traditional plastic wheel tracking while snagging is reduced to maintain throughput and increase overall picking productivity.

Each unit is manufactured using tempered aluminium rollers with full-length axles mounted on durable galvanised steel side channels. The units are mounted on a pallet rack framework. Span Track can be installed in about one third of the time taken to fit traditional live storage beds.

New image for Schoeller Arca

Schoeller Arca Systems has launched a new corporate image. The company’s image, one of its key communication assets, comprises of a new corporate logo and the use of striking images on its web site.

The new logo is made up of the company name surrounded by a sweeping eclipse, which symbolises returnable systems. A tagline, ‘Creative solutions for better returns’, demonstrates that Schoeller Arca Systems is dedicated to finding solutions to help customers reduce their overall logistics costs and enhance product branding.

Schoeller Arca Systems, whose UK headquarters is based in Oxfordshire, provides reliable, high quality plastic packaging products and services. Its innovative systems are used in a broad range of industries including automotive, retail and postal services.

Images, made of up products such as bottles, fruit and stamps arranged in a pattern, are used on the web site and other promotional material to demonstrate these sectors.

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