In today’s high-pressure business environment, having ambitious growth plans to become a market leader often means needing to increase your output significantly. Such scaling up can involve installing a conveyor to load lorries faster; for larger operations it can mean investing in automated conveyors and sortation systems, capable of handling thousands of products an hour and working up to 24/7.

To help in reaching your decision about what kit to get, the answer is to call in a supplier partner who is an expert in designing and building the right solution, with knowledge built up over many years and experience gained in real life scenarios. Rather than go for the biggest supplier, it’s better to look around and choose a company used to working with similar size operations to yours, who will understand your needs.

First of all, if your priority is loading trucks more efficiently, FMH Conveyors’ BestReach Gravity Telescopic Boom Conveyors, as featured at the recent LOGIMAT in Stuttgart, will load most items quickly and safely by extending directly into the trailer without the need of support. Using these units will reduce load times significantly, while improving operator working conditions.

FMH’s units can of course also be used in conjunction with sortation systems or feeding conveyors. Speaking of which, Interroll’s new Modular Pallet Conveyor Platform (MPP) is a versatile solution for handling pallets. Combined with their tried and tested flow storage systems, the ‘MPP’ provides the ideal basis for creating comprehensive storage and conveyor solutions. On the conveyor controls front, Interroll has also launched a new DC platform comprising a roller drive, a multi-control unit and power supply.

Looking at larger scale operations, Conveyor Systems Ltd (CSL) carries out turnkey projects for an impressive client list drawn from a host of industry sectors. In a recent assignment CSL installed a new replenishment and order picking system for electrical wholesalers City Electrical Factors’ (CEF) new eCommerce distribution centre, to enhance the process from order placement through to despatch and provide the allimportant end result, increased throughput.

CEF’s replenishment and order picking takes place over two mezzanine floor areas. Each floor has four offload transfers, each with a bi-directional transfer and spur conveyor, providing eight working locations per floor. Completed order picks or empty replenishment totes are lowered to the ground floor using a fourth spiral and delivered to one of 40 pack benches, using a two-tiered conveyor system.

In another case study about a largescale conveyor and sortation project, Conveyor Networks are celebrating 10 years of delivering turnkey automation solutions and have a long-standing relationship with Pets at Home, having worked on several projects including implementation of a new controls system for tote sortation at the retailer’s Stoke distribution centre last year. By replacing its ageing and costly interface with warehouse control software, Pets at Home is on track to make its money back within 18 months.

Following this success, Pets at Home commissioned Conveyor Networks to deliver the integration of a fully automated picking and packing solution at the business’s ecommerce distribution centre in Northampton. With objectives to digitise the business and become the market leader for online pet care, Pets at Home needed to increase its output to facilitate its ambitious growth targets. You can read more of this story on our front page.

CHARLES SMITH

Feature Writer