Material handling firm European Conveyor Systems (ECS) has aided a £2.5m project to expand fashion retailer Boden’s warehousing facilities in Leicester.
The site currently dispatches 12,500 parcels a day to Boden’s customers, which will now have the capacity to increase after ECS installed two buildings linking with a two-way conveyor in a 90-metre-long covered bridge and installing new racking and conveyors to minimise walking time for staff and improve productivity.
The conveyor system installed by ECS marks a trend to automate warehouses. The system carries and directs goods via bar-codes on each item read by automatic scanners at transfer routing points. Throughput was specified by Boden at 480 boxes an hour over a 16-hour day, six days a week.
In-coming cartons are off-loaded from pallets at ten work-stations in the new building and identified with individual bar code labels that are scanned into a computer-based control system and which specifies their destination in the warehouses.
The boxes are then pushed on to a conveyor which carries them to a specified location in multi-level bulk storage areas in the two buildings. Mis-coded or damaged boxes are diverted automatically on to a separate spur to be dealt with.
The conveyor system includes zero-pressure accumulation sections at transfers and bar-code reader points, which allows boxes to queue without touching. If an accumulation section becomes full, the system dies back on a cascade basis and then re-starts automatically when the accumulation clears.
The main conveyor running from the goods-in area through the bridge to the original warehouse is reversible to allow cartons and boxes to be transported back to the start point at designated times. Steel shutters provide one-hour fire resistance where the bridge conveyor meets the two buildings.
Look out for The Manufacturer’s forklift supplement in the April Edition of the magazine.