TIMCO National Distribution Centre

The Client

Established in 1972 by Tim Midwood, TIMCO is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a family business. Renowned as a wholesale supplier to the construction and industrial sectors nationwide, the company specialises in producing quality everyday essentials made for the trade.

One of the key strengths of the business has always been supporting its customers with unbeatable stockholding and overnight deliveries. To achieve this, Timco has always invested heavily in its storage and distribution facilities.

The Brief

The last few years has been a really exciting period of growth for Timco, during which time it has launched over a thousand new products each year. This continuous expansion led to the need for an increase in storage space and a more efficient, automated materials handling solution for its distribution centre (DC) in Nantwich, Cheshire.

Competitive pitch process

In order to find the right automation company to partner with, Timco invited several companies to tender for the expansion project. Timco’s Head of Marketing, Charlie Du Pré, takes up the story: “The expansion project was critically important to our business and so we undertook a very competitive pitch process for the contract.

“From the first meeting, Conveyor Systems Ltd (CSL) demonstrated a clear advantage in their willingness not only to listen to our requirements, but also to understand our business model and how that may evolve in the future.”

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“The CSL engineers were meticulous in their attention to detail. They showed great patience in understanding our challenges and ensuring the solution they designed would meet our key performance indicators (KPIs) now and in the foreseeable future.

“This painstaking approach continued once we had made the decision to appoint CSL to design, build and install the project. Despite us moving the goal posts with revisions to the design midway through the project, CSL took everything in their stride to ensure we got the best result possible.

“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 despatched. And on the ground floor we’re achieving over 5000 lines a day going out of the building.”

Automated solution

Prior to CSL’s involvment, the Timco DC was essentially a manual pick and pack operation. In phase one of the work completed by CSL, a powered roller conveyor system was designed and installed serving both the mezzanine and ground floors.

This 24v zero line pressure conveyor system sped up the movement of stock and orders through the DC.  In addition, a spiral conveyor was sourced and fitted to transport product in totes up to, and down from, the mezzanine floor.

The conveyor system primary function was to take packed cartons from the multiple packing benches and convey them to the outbound carrier stations, passing through a barcode scanner array to determine which carrier lane they need to go to. The sortation was achieved by uniquely using the swivel wheel sorters to divert the boxes off at 90 degrees to the correct despatch lines.

Commenting on the success of the project Charlie Du Pré concluded, “Working with CSL has been a real pleasure. They delivered everything they said they would and more. Following phase one of the work, we asked them to carry out an upgrade to the system to accommodate more packing benches and yet again they delivered a solution on time and in budget. 

“We’re delighted with the relationship we have established with CSL and we’re delighted with the end results the project has delivered. I would have no qualms recommending CSL as a partner for automation projects and I’m sure we’ll be working with them again in the not too distant future as Timco continues to grow”.

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