Toolbank (Ireland) Interfloor fulfilment centre
Toolbank, Regional Branch in Dublin. Previously trading as Tucks O’Brien Ltd.
Toolbank are one of Europe’s leading specialist distributors of hand and power tools, in association with many of the leading independent DIY retailers and the world’s leading manufacturers. CSL have worked with Toolbank at 6 of their distribution centres over the last 10 years.
Under Toolbank’s continuous expansion programme, it was decided that due to the ever-increasing amount of business emanating from Ireland necessitating large shipments from the UK, they needed to invest in a permanent branch but needed an established and highly reputable business in a good location so Tucks O’Brien was ideal with their long experience of the Irish market and a 35,000 sq. ft warehouse.
The site, which had an existing two floor mezzanine, was to feature an automated multi floor order picking/sorting conveyor system to service over 16,000 product lines. The system needed to deal with a wide range of order sizes ranging from single totes up to multiple tote orders, along with separating work streams for B2C packing.
The system also had to be capable of reversing for stock replenishment up to all floors and allow for future expansion.
CSL, who have installed well over 100 Ambaflex Spiral conveyors across the UK, worked together with Toolbank to create a unique and efficient solution whilst saving valuable space.
The solution required the ability to deliver products between floors for further product picking and order consolidation. The challenge was to deliver a system that was both space efficient and work within the confines of the existing warehouse/mezzanine footprint.
To automate this process, CSL designed a solution whereby two spiral conveyors were on top of each other, creating a multilevel application, where products could be stopped at any level and the direction reversed when needed. Essentially operating as one system, providing an infeed and outfeed from the first floor and delivering to either the ground or the second floor using the same common conveyors.
From the second floor, the totes with picked orders are placed onto a conveyor and transported down to the first floor via the top spiral lowerator. On arriving at the lower first floor level, a manual sort determines whether the tote requires removal for order consolidation with parts from that floor level or placing onto the adjacent conveyor for transporting down to the ground level.
The second (and lower), of the stacked spiral lowerators continues to take the products to ground floor level, where another manual sort takes place for adding any parts from that floor. All completed orders are transferred onto a transit roller conveyor, which conveys the totes to the end of the system for palletising.
The design included an HMI touchscreen on the electrical control panel which at the touch of a “button”, reverses the whole system at the ground floor level to feed upwards to replenish stock to the relevant floors above.
A Toolbank spokesperson commented ‘the new system will make picking and dispatching orders more streamlined ensuring we can deal with higher demands/peaks, whilst also providing a very compact and space saving solution. Toolbank have worked with CSL on numerous projects and found the process from concept to installation and beyond a smooth and professional experience”
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