Unique ‘stacked’ Spiral Conveyor System for Major Fashion E-commerce Retailer’s Distribution Centre
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Conveyor Systems Limited (CSL) recently designed and installed an innovative, cost-saving material handling solution for a major fashion e-commerce retailer which operates over 180 stores in the UK and Ireland.
The unique installation, aimed at enhancing stock handling procedures and addressing health and safety concerns, features a ‘three-stacked’ spiral system with in-feeds and out-feeds on multiple floors.
A Fruitful Partnership
The partnership between the major fashion e-commerce retailer and CSL commenced four years ago when the retailer sought initial concepts and solutions advice. Over time, the relationship evolved, and the retailer enlisted CSL’s expertise to develop a comprehensive solution for its extensive distribution centre (DC) in the south of England.
CSL designed and installed a multi-tier conveyor and spiral lift system for the retailer’s DC, streamlining order picking and stock replenishment processes. See the three tiers being delivered and lifted into place in our brief video here.
The 13.4m high multi-tier conveyor and spiral lift system transports apparel-filled totes to four floors via in-feed and out-feed points. This setup consistently achieves a throughput of approximately 500 totes per hour.
The solution delivered by CSL has not only increased the previous throughput but also addressed crucial health and safety concerns. The automated system provides the fashion retailer with a reliable and robust method for storing stock on the three mezzanine floors of its distribution centre and moving picked items back to the ground floor for dispatch.
Multiple Operational Benefits
The spiral lift system has significantly boosted efficiency at the distribution centre. The Senior Operations Manager of the company commented: “The spiral lift system currently operates continuously from 5 am till 10.30 pm and has the capacity to work 24 hours a day.
“It only takes two and a half minutes for totes to reach the top floor, and the system is programmed to ensure that each tote is delivered to the right place every time.
“The system operates much faster and is far more reliable than the manually stocked goods lift it replaced, which could only carry four totes at a time. Additionally, the fully automated system has eliminated the tote misplacement errors we experienced, where totes went to the wrong floor.”
Jim Farquhar, sales director at CSL, highlighted the keys to the project’s success: “One of the major factors that enabled us to deliver on this was our design engineers’ attention to detail at the briefing stage.
“Fully understanding and appreciating the customer’s application requirements and performance parameters is absolutely fundamental. As is the ability, if necessary, to adapt the designs as the project develops.
“Maintaining effective communication channels with the retailer throughout the design, build, and commissioning phases was key. It helped, not only to create a deep trust between us but also to ensure the finished solution was fit for purpose.”
After the satisfactory servicing of the conveyor and spiral lift systems over the past six months, the fashion retailer has now confirmed an ongoing maintenance contract with CSL.
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