Park Logisitics - Creating Supply Chain Solutions

Park Logistics - Creating supply Chain Solutions

Creating Supply Chain Solutions
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BITO to show off its new Pallet Live System at IMHX

At IMHX 2013, Bito Storage Systems will be showing PROflow, its new Pallet Live System that features its new M-Stop load separator. A major issue with pallet live systems is that separators, which hold the pallets in place in the flow lanes, often have to be customised to suit different pallets. Bito has designed its new that offers a modular and very reliable pallet live systems that will also reduce production costs and lead times.

Bito Storage Solutions will throw the spot light on its brand new Pallet Live System on the company’s Dynamic Storage Solutions themed IMHX stand. The new Pallet Live System, which is due to be launched at the beginning of 2013, is a modular system that can meet individual user requirments and can be easily expanded or modified as these requirements change. PROflow also features an innovative new load separator, called M-Stop, which enables a mix of different pallet types on a single flow lane.

“Having enjoyed tremendous success in the UK with our Pallet Live Systems and becoming renowned for taking on complex installations, Bito has devised a new Pallet Live System that not only allows it to continue to meet these demands but also to ensure that lead times for new systems are kept to a minimum,” said Edward Hutchison, MD at Bito Storage Systems.

As the PROflow name suggests, the system is based on Bito’s renowned PRO pallet but it offers key advantages over standard pallet racking. These include high volume storage based on the FIFO (First in, First Out) principle, which aids shelf-life monitoring; separation of replenishment from picking aisles to increase productivity and improve safety, and a reduction of internal transportation of stock by accommodating more pallets to be placed directly at the pick location rather than transferred from bulk storage.

Based at its plant in Meisenheim, Germany, Bito’s RD team spent every day over a six month period devising a new solution to cut lead times for its Pallet Live Systems from the current 20 week delivery down to below 6 weeks.

To help achieve this, rather than designing a system specifically to meet each individual customer BITO’s new Pallet Live System is based on a range of modular units. Crucially, the new system offers the flexibility to the meet a broad range of customer requirements thanks to its innovative new pallet separator called M Stop.

With pallet live systems it is necessary to separate the pick face pallet from the rest of the line – which can be an accumulated load of several tonnes – when retrieving pallets with a lift truck and more importantly with an automated stacker retrieval machine.  This usually involves a spring loaded end stop at the pick face position connected to a pallet separator stop, which is designed to create a gap between the pallet at the pick face and the rest of the loads in the lane. This holds the pressure as the load lane fills and minimises pallet damage.  When the pick face pallet is removed the separator automatically releases the second pallet and captures the third as the line moves forward.

Traditionally each flow lane of a pallet live system would be dedicated to one type of pallet because the separator was activated by paddles at the end of the lane, which lean forward as the pallet travels over it. The crucial distance between the separator stop and the paddles is based on the length of the pallet. This reduces flexibility for the user because it means having different flow lanes for different pallets.

With PRO Flow, the new M-Stop separator works like a single sided saloon swing door: when a pallet flows down the live storage lane it opens the door and up pops the stop behind the pallet to keep the next pallet in place. With the PRO Flow Stop it doesn’t matter what length the actual pallet is.

Once the empty pallet is removed from the pick face the door swings back and releases the separator for the next pallet to flow down the lane and take its place. The lane continues to be filled and the stops prevent the first two pallets touching by using break rollers to create a gap. With the PRO Flow Stop again reactivated the lane is again ready to be loaded or off loaded. This simple and reliable solution from Bito allows a mix of different types of pallets on the same flow line. The new separator can be positioned wherever the user wishes and the mechanics involved are not as complicated as traditional separator systems.

Another important new product launch at IMHX will be Bito’s Sprinkler Shelves. Fitting of sprinklers is a growing issue in warehouses, with more insurance companies insisting upon open shelves to allow the water from sprinklers to flow through.

To achieve a 50 per cent open area for the shelf, which is required to allow water to flow through effectively, usually means using expensive wire mesh shelves or standard galvanised shelves with round punched holes of approximately 25 mm diameters.  This however risks creating a ‘cheese-grater’ effect, where pickers can catch their fingers on the sharp edges of these relatively large holes.

Bito has developed a new method of punching shelves that creates both a smooth surface on the shelf and a pattern of small holes of just 11 mm square, which is too small to catch a finger.

Bito’s manufacturing plant in Germany has tooled up with a brand new machine to create these punched shelves. Bito simply puts a finished standard Bito shelf onto the machine and punches it.

This new tooling and process reduces the cost of producing punched shelves by half to provide a far more competitive product, particularly when compared with wire mesh shelving, that also improves safety.

“Tooling up to produce these punched shelves required significant investment from Bito,” said Edward Hutchison. “We can now offer our customers, who may not yet have fitted sprinklers, the chance to invest in the right product for the future, should their insurance company insist on sprinklers and shelving that allows them to be fully effective. This type of punch shelving can also be used in refrigerated storage and food storage where that requires a good air flow.”

Bito’s IMHX stand will also feature the other products from the company’s complete range of storage solutions, including the Multishuttle semi-automated storage solution and examples from its comprehensive range of bins and containers.

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