A carton-conveying system installed at the Northamptonshire premises of UK Greetings Ltd by European Conveyor Systems has reduced the footprint of the equipment, the travel time for completed orders and the potential cost if the existing system had simply been replicated.
ECS was appointed by UK Greetings, the UK’s market-leading direct-to-retail supplier of greetings cards and associated giftware, to supply the new system at the Corby premises following a successful contract at the West Yorkshire head office.
At Corby ECS engineers took the opportunity to redesign the layout of the conveyor system and shorten the distance from the checking and packing area to the despatch bay, which eliminated about 50 metres of conveyor. Costs were also reduced by making use of some existing equipment, adapted for the new layout.
Bulk stock is delivered on pallets and stored on the ground floor in 9000 locations. The live storage on the mezzanine floor is replenished from this stock as necessary by means of an ECS goods lift and a number of pallet gates. Staff on the mezzanine pick orders deliver them in cardboard cartons of various sizes to one of 16 conveyor lanes where they are checked, packed and labelled.
When they are ready for despatch, the cartons are pushed on to a powered conveyor linking the 16 checking/despatch lanes to a powered telescopic boom that carries them inside the delivery vehicles. En route to the boom conveyor the cartons pass down a decline belt that has been re-used with modifications from the previous system and then along a number of accumulation zones that provide buffer storage during interruptions such as delivery vehicles being moved. The accumulation section has been located in an otherwise unusable part of the building, freeing up space elsewhere.
The whole system has been designed to allow for a wide variety of carton sizes and weights up to 20kg.