As visitors to the recent IMHX 2010 will recall, Elettric 80 stood out among the exhibitors at the NEC. With its automated warehouse equipment solutions spanning reach trucks, laser guided vehicles (LGVs), which are passive and work by lasers and reflectors, with no wires involved and offering total flexibility, stretch wrappers and palletisers, the Italian-owned company offered visitors a somewhat different perspective to manual storage and retrieval solutions based on forklift trucks working in racking.

Elettric 80’s President Enrico Grassi is a larger than life character famous for wearing cowboy clothes. But there’s nothing of the gunslinger about Elettric 80 as a company. If anything, its warehouse automation expertise means it’s viewed as the lawman in the sector.

Since its inception in 1980, Elettric 80 has been at the forefront of change in the global warehouse automation environment. In 1994 it launched Freeway®, the world’s first fully integrated end of line solution to combine robotic palletisers, LGVs, labellers, product tracking software and a PC-based monitoring system. The Freeway® system is based on a simple idea – robotic palletising cells handling goods at the end of the production line, and LGVs transporting them to the stretch wrapping and labelling equipment and to storage in racks or on the floor. The technologies are adaptable, and their built in flexibility makes them suitable for any plant layout or design.

Elettric 80 has since extended the capabilities of the Freeway® system with the introduction of the LGV Storage & Retrieval system, and to date over 500 Freeway® systems have been installed worldwide.

Elettric 80’s end of line solutions have been deployed by companies large and small in numerous sectors, most notably beverage, food and paper goods. In the UK they have case histories for numerous blue chip customers including Gerber, Scottish & Newcastle, AG Barr, SCA Tissue and Heineken.

Given that the UK warehouse industry is based largely on forklift trucks, Trevor Mitford is keen to point out that Elettric 80’s laser guided vehicles can work alongside manual forklifts. He explains that the two types of machine can coexist, but users should avoid mixing the traffic and responsibilities. “Our LGVs deliver added value for customers, because they achieve huge reductions in collision damage to goods and infrastructure and minimise Health & Safety issues compared to fork lifts.”

Because they are automated, Elettric 80’s solutions are ideally suited to operations running two shifts or working in extreme low temperatures, such as cold stores. At night they can also consolidate and reposition stock in the racks, or on the pickface and pre-stage areas, ready for the next peak of activity.

With its growing global office network Elettric 80 offers customers around the world local expertise backed by international insight, says Trevor: “We pride ourselves on offering all the pieces of the warehouse automation puzzle, and are happy to discuss anything from a makeover of an existing warehouse set up to a greenfield site.”

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