Aluminium profile building systems company SAPA has recently installed two Modula lifts from Couzens Storage Solutions that will give the business the scope to consolidate three existing promises into a single facility. The units have been designed to store an estimated 153,000 items in 1,258 lines including fixings, seals, handles, brackets and other components for its Gloucester-based replacement window and conservatory business. They are being used to hold small and medium parts to support production and customer installations, while longer profiles are stored on cantilever racking.

Modula is an advanced, computer-controlled vertical lift storage, picking and retrieval system.  Ideal for storing a variety of goods of different dimensions in a single unit, it automatically selects and transports items to and from the operator, delivering improved productivity, faster picking and lower costs.

The two 10.3m high Modula lifts supplied to SAPA make maximum use of available headroom and provide over nearly 400m² of storage space on a footprint of only 28.5m². Each machine has 75 storage trays 3.1m long and 857mm deep, each with 500kg load capacity totalling more than 60,000kg per machine.

SAPA is already using similar machines elsewhere and has specified advanced software and digital technology to maximise productivity from their investment.  Picking instructions are displayed on a touch screen colour console that slides along the full length of the picking face so it is always visible to the picker. The Modula software interfaces with SAPA’s own MRP and WMS server, providing complete, real time, stock management and control, all driven from the client’s host machine.

When a pick list or an item is selected and called up on the screen, the relevant tray or trays is brought to the picking bay in an average of 26 seconds at a safe and comfortable working height, and a pick-to-light system identifies exactly where the required item is located. Modular dividers provide secure, precise and disciplined storage in each tray. Using a bar code reader the operative confirms the pick and the linked-in printer produces any required documentation. Orders are batched picked into totes ten at a time.

Improved speed and ease of picking ensures accurate and timely delivery of components for production and installation, and has allowed SAPA to redeploy several staff to other areas of the business.

Sapa’s Vince Gibbs summed up the company’s satisfaction with the project. “The Modula machines have a total of 150 trays with configurable compartments, and have revolutionised our accessory stores and the way we operate. We can now carry out simultaneous order picking with no wasted walk time, improving our picking productivity. Product quality is better too as the machines keep products protected and free from contamination.”

“The installation by Couzens was safe, problem free and delivered on time. Support from Couzens was on hand – and while we were learning how to operate the machines they were more than willing to talk us through resolving issues or visiting us to assist.”

Couzens Storage Solutions Limited

Keith Couzens

Tel: 01442 250010


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