Park Logisitics - Creating Supply Chain Solutions

Park Logistics - Creating supply Chain Solutions

Creating Supply Chain Solutions
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WAREHOUSE FLOORING – Floors deserve more respect – Floor care and research will give best investment returns

Modern warehouse floors are like icebergs. Looked at by the untrained, inexperienced eye they can seem harmless enough and so can be largely ignored. Yet their latent ability to harm warehouse operations, from serious accidents to much-reduced productivity and damage to MHE equipment and stored goods should be given the respect they deserve. The reality is, alas, that floor maintenance budgets are rarely in place and there is much floor neglect.

chazIf planning a new warehouse many of the problems through subsequent wear and tear can be designed out. Joints, for example, are the greatest cause of problems in a modern warehouse so it is worth considering ‘jointless’ steel fibre, reinforced concrete floor slabs as they contain no sawn induced joints. Only metal armoured joints with heavy duty load transfer systems are installed at the perimeter of each day’s pour. Compared with traditionally reinforced floor slabs with sawn cut joints every six metres, the jointless approach will deliver a substantial reduction in long-term maintenance costs, partly because joints should be sealed annually as part of a maintenance regime.

Other more serious aspects of maintenance costs with traditional, sawn-cut slabs will arise through higher floor repair costs, damage to handling equipment and goods, and lower handling productivity because trucks are often forced to slow down by as much as 50% when running over poor joints. There is also the issue of driver comfort to consider because constant jarring from driving over damaged joints and potholes can pose health risks.

As with buying forklifts, it is important to consider a floor’s life cycle costs but obtaining cogent information on a floor’s cost effectiveness can be difficult. To help with this, floor specialist, The Twintec Group, advocates value engineering on construction projects as an integrated and detailed planning process that considers techniques and materials that could provide better performance and value for money over the project’s lifetime.

To use the iceberg analogy again, old floors can hide many more problems than can be readily seen. One such problem could be floor flatness even when it complies with standards like DIN 15185 specification. The problem could be the short wavelength characteristic of the floor (how much the floor ripples over a short distance) This is crucially important for VNA truck operations.

If a warehouse operator wishes to move from a wide aisle to a VNA or even narrow aisle set-up after moving into old premises then it is important to consider the issue of slab thickness and the impact VNA trucks could have on the floor. These trucks use relatively small, hard wheels, which means higher wheel point loads, so there is the potential for high floor damage costs. There may, however, be a relatively cheap solution by picking the right kind of forklifts. The articulated kind, for example, which can operate in only 1.6 mt wide aisles, use much larger and softer rubber wheels than are found on reach trucks and VNA machines and they also dispense with the costly need for rail or buried wire guidance, the latter being prone to disruption caused by many, poor condition, sawn-cut joints. If cursed with a substantially dishing floor, the good news is that a relatively cheap and less disruptive remedy is available from firms like Twintec and Uretek who use foam injection techniques. They are much cheaper, less disruptive and quicker to install than pile driving.

To cut the many thousands of warehouse accidents every year, operators should concentrate on good housekeeping, not only keeping floors clear of debris and slippery surfaces but also ensuring that the floors are well marked with safety lanes and other signage. A safe warehouse is a happier warehouse.

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