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Material Handling
Wednesday | 13 September, 2017 | 1:11 pm

Waste not, want not

By Colin Linneweber

Above: Completed narrow-aisle storage system is serviced by two Hubtex four-directional, 10,000-pound capacity sideloaders. Ultrasonic sensors automatically recognize guide rails, enabling the truck to steer itself down the aisles.

Cantilever racking, innovative sideloader help a distributor to create efficient storage and properly manage inventory

September 2017 - “Waste is just really a design flaw,” said Kate Krebs, who once served as executive director of Americans National Recycling Coalition.

Design Storage & Handling has amassed a comprehensive selection of material handling solutions for countless industries since its establishment in 1990. The Fredericksburg, Virginia-based company also engineers turnkey material handling solutions for metals, automotive, aerospace, building materials and energy sectors.

As the only authorized North American distributor for Hubtex and Cavaion Baumann sideloaders, Design Storage has researched and analyzed hundreds of warehouses and distribution centers over the last quarter-century, giving it the knowledge to achieve results for any facility.

Paul Sartore, vice president and regional sales manager for Design Storage, says Hubtex’s ultra-productive, multidirectional sideloaders are configurable to meet the end-user’s specific requirements. The trucks are available in capacities ranging from 1,500 pounds to 50,000 pounds. The loader effortlessly moves in four directions. It does so reliably with features including AC electric motor technology, aisle recognition, load moment monitoring (overload detection), laser height selection and hydraulic fork adjustment.

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Prior to installing racks, Dalco Metals had sheet and skidded coil products in piles of inventory on the floor, often five bundles high, requiring repeat handling.

A well-designed selective racking system, combined with an onboard warehouse management system, facilitates more efficient order fulfillment and inventory management, Sartore says. Design Storage’s Narrow Aisle System Design creates more storage while taking up less space, minimizes product damage and maximizes efficiency.

This all-in-one system, where applied, eliminates unnecessary downtime by demanding less runtime than conventional storage methods that require digging for material. For these reasons—and safety and profitability purposes—the Hubtex-based system provided a return on investment for Walworth, Wisconsin-based Dalco Metals Inc., a family owned service center that has supplied flat-rolled steel processing services since 1973.

Dalco Metals Operations Manager Jeff Pipiras introduced company owner Bill Ring to Sartore at an industrial equipment show. Pipiras and Ring explained to Sartore the type of products they needed to rack. Soon, Sartore outlined a slew of racking options and reviewed Dalco Metal’s warehouse layout. Sartore ultimately sold Dalco Metals the complete sideloader and racking system.

Searching

“The use of racks as well as the barcode system has helped our operations flow from production to shipping,” says Pipiras. “It has reduced our searching time for outbound material by up to 30 minutes per truck.”

Prior to installing racks, he says, “all our sheet and skidded coil products were in piles of inventory on our floor. We could have had up to five bundles high and it was a handling and moving nightmare to dig out the material the loaders need for their trucks.”

The unnecessary repetitive handling got out of hand. “We were always moving product with our overhead crane from one pile to another to get to the material we needed for the truck,” Pipiras says.

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With the bar-coded racking system, it is much easier to find material because the storage location shows up on the sideloader’s onboard terminal.

However, with the racking system, it is much easier to find the right material because the storage location shows up on the sideloader’s onboard terminal, says Pipiras. “We were able to move an employee to the sideloader and he fills the racks with finished goods and restocks and also picks the material for the outbound trucks.”

Responsive

Beyond enhanced uptime and efficiency, Pipiras was impressed by Design Storage & Handling’s level of customer service and responsiveness. “Their team was very helpful and worked great under short lead times,” he recalls.

“We started in one certain area of our warehouse to initially make room for a new laser machine and space and storage was very tight. The Design Storage team came in and hit the ground running. Our guys like the racks and the amount of extra room it has freed up.”

Adopting this material handling system not only allowed Dalco Metals to install a new steel processing machine, “but also gave us the space for better inventory flow, providing a safer work environment.”

As the famous architect R. Buckminster Fuller said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

For Dalco Metals, what’s obsolete now are the dangers, stresses and wasted time spent finding and moving incorrect material to the incorrect location. MM

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