Spiral conveyors are used in warehouses and manufacturing facilities that have multiple floors to raise or lower products. Often considered a flexible and cost effective solution, they are popular within 3PLs, retail facilities, and factory sites.
In 2020 and 2021 Amazon accounted for a quarter of all newly leased warehouse space in the UK. Despite the economic downturn we’re experiencing, and reports that the eCommerce giant’s mega expansion on our shores is slowing down, industry commentators are confident that demand for warehouse space will continue.
Urban logistics – which involves small last mile warehousing in cities like London – is particularly relevant, and is seeing a growing demand from 3PLs (third party logistics operators), retailers and parcel carriers.
One way to do that is by using Spiral Conveyors, also known as elevators, which use a conveyor belt to transport products or boxes between floors, and can save up to 80% of floorspace.
What are spiral conveyors?
Spiral conveyors are used in warehouses and manufacturing facilities that have multiple floors to raise or lower products.
Often considered a flexible and cost effective solution, they are popular within 3PLs, retail facilities, and factory sites.
These automated systems eliminate the need for order pickers to carry totes from one warehouse floor to the next. This speeds up throughput and reduces the risk of accidents and injuries.
DB Schenker recently installed a conveyor system with two 6.5m high reversible spiral elevators, each of which carries 15 pick totes per minute.
Nick Morris, operations excellence manager at DB Schenker, says: “The automated order picking and replenishment system from Conveyor Systems Limited (CSL) has increased productivity by 5% for a team of eight pickers. Overall, a total of 832 working hours have been saved so far as a result.” Read more on this project here.
Minimal floor space requirements
Warehouse floorspace is expensive real estate – and it’s in high demand. Data from Savills’ July 2022 Big Sheds Briefing shows that, despite the economic downturn, there is a strong need to hold more inventory in the UK.
As industries compete for floorspace, reducing storage footprint with spiral conveyors and elevators is a smart option. So how do you make every cubic foot count? For a start, operators must think vertically, and choose materials handling equipment (MHE) that requires minimal floor space.
Unisurge International did exactly that. The leading manufacturer and supplier of medical provisions to healthcare professionals incorporated the Qimarox MK1 vertical elevator as part of its new automation system, installed by CSL. The elevator proved to be the most space-efficient and cost-effective solution without compromising the capacity requirements. Read more about the project here.
TIMCO – a specialist supplier to the construction trade – boasts high throughput following the installation of an automation solution by the CSL team, which included spirals from AmbaFlex Spiral Conveyor Solutions.
TIMCO’s head of marketing, Charlie Du Pré, says: “The automation solution they provided has made our DC operation way more efficient; we are seeing an increase in those lines stored on the first floor mezzanine with upwards of 3000 lines a day being dispatched. And on the ground floor we’re achieving over 5000 lines a day going out of the building.”
(Read the full TIMCO case study here).
Whether it’s fashion brands or automotive parts, efficient management of high throughput in UK warehouses and fulfilment centres is setting operators apart from their competitors.
Low energy requirements
Energy is an important topic among warehouse professionals in 2022, as they embark on stringent energy saving methods to future-proof their businesses. Electricity spending by the UK’s cold storage facilities has more than tripled between 2021 and 2022, according to a new report published by the Cold Chain Federation.
In the present climate businesses are being crippled by rising energy costs. This means that, as part of their power saving strategy, they must choose materials handling equipment which consumes low amounts of energy.
Spiral conveyors are low energy because they require fewer drives to operate. The conveyors maintain their speed due to the friction between the moving cage and the inside belt edge to provide the drive force.
Replacing existing automation with modern spiral engineering can be a highly effective way to maximise each pound spent on energy in the warehouse.
CSL spiral conveyors and elevators
CSL offers a range of high quality standard and bespoke elevators and spiral conveyors.
The Qimarox Prorunner Mk1 is a high vertical elevator that remains versatile while keeping a minimal footprint. The lift uses a low maintenance belt, which unlike chain lifts, does not require lubricating or tightening.
Prorunner Mk5 is a high throughput vertical lift with ultra-smooth continuous movements and transfers. The Prorunner Mk5 comes in multiple configurations to suit the application and products.
The Qimarox Prorunner Mk9 is a robust vertical pallet conveyor, which can be fitted with either roller or chain lifting platforms. In-and-out feeds can be either from right angles or from the front.
The Qimarox Prorunner Mk10 is a vertical four-post pallet conveyor that can be fitted with either roller or chain lifting platforms. The lift can be used as a vertical sortation/buffer system.
SpiralVeyor® SV Series
The SpiralVeyor® SV Series can save up to 80% of floor space. As standard, the SV series spirals are fully reversible for feeding to and from various floors; they are also available in a dual-lane version.
The SpiralVeyor® SVe is a continuous elevator for larger products. As standard the SVe spirals are fully reversible for feeding to and from various floors. It is suitable for cartons, containers, trays, bottlepacks, bags, crates, totes, luggage, and other larger items.
The SpiralVeyor® ML is suitable for multi-level induction and diverting of products. Benefits include an 80% floorspace saving, multi-track positions and it’s suitable for multiple floor connections.
Get in touch with CSL
CSL offers a number of conveying solutions suitable for most warehouse applications, ranging from start-ups to well established operations, and from existing to brand-new facilities.
Its mission is to provide the best solution for materials handling requirements using state-of-the-art 3D design, supply, and integration of proven quality equipment to achieve the best return on investment for its customers.
If you want to speak to a team of dedicated engineers about CSL’s conveyor solutions and how we can improve productivity whilst reducing energy costs, we’d love to hear from you.
Give us a call or drop us an email using the contact details below, alternatively fill out the short form below.