World leading manufacturer and distributer of power tools –STIHL, recently appointed Conveyor Systems Ltd (CSL) to streamline their order picking operation, which was previously carried out manually over a two tier mezzanine floor area. The process involved using pallet gates in conjunction with a fork lift truck to deliver palletised picked goods to the ground floor and was then done in reverse, to replenish stock to the relevant floors.
STIHL approached CSL with a brief to provide a semi-automated system to accommodate order picking and stock replenishment over two floors, with a fully reversible capability. They also required the ability to stop product between floors for consolidation. The challenge for CSL was to deliver a system that was both space efficient and featured a ‘bolt-on approach’ for future integration to the new WMS that would include Bar code reading, moving this forward to a fully automated system.
Due to the range of small items and spare parts being handled within this order picking application, all goods are transported in conventional totes. This provides uniformity and is a perfect fit for CSL’s range of standard tote conveyor systems and spiral elevator/lowerator.
CSL took a unique approach to combine a space efficient product that required no additional guarding or complicated controls – incorporating two spirals, one stacked upon the other. In essence they are two machines, operating as one solution, providing an infeed and outfeed from the first floor and delivering to either the ground or second floor using the same common conveyors.
From the second floor, totes are loaded onto a conveyor and transported down to the first floor via the top spiral lowerator. Here, a manual sort determines whether the tote requires removal for order consolidation or placing onto the next conveyor and spiral lowerator to be taken to ground level, where another manual sort takes place. On completion of orders, the finished totes are presented to a transit conveyor to be transferred to the end of line packing operation. Stock replenishment operates in reverse.
CSL provided the full turnkey conveyor project including control, installation and commissioning of the wide range of packages.