Pampered Pallets

Sep 01, 2002 9:30 PM  By

If you are looking for pallet technology to pump up your pick-and-pack warehouse operations, check out Swisslog North America’s new pallet handling systems that can protect beverages in cardboard cartons in the warehouse. The Denver-based company’s solutions include automated storage and retrieval systems in high-bay warehouses, warehouse management systems for inventory control, and customized control systems for cranes and conveyors.

Sweden-based spirits maker Absolut commissioned Swisslog to improve procedures in its Ahus, Sweden, DC. Here is how it works: When trucks arrive at the warehouse from the local distillery, they are unloaded by an automated conveyor in the trailer. A profile gauge checks the pallets for size and weight before Swisslog stacker cranes move them into the high-bay warehouse. Conversely, to move the cartons from the warehouse for shipping, a conveyor moves the pallets to a station where they can be put on new pallets bound for their final destination. For more information, visit www.swisslognorthamerica.com.

The Damage Prevention Company has come up with a solution that helps minimize losses. The Denver-based company offers a free assessment of clients’ shipping methods, whether the materials are shipped by rail, sea, or road. “We can eliminate costly in-transit product damage,” promises Mark Hoeft, Damage Prevention’s national account manager. The company’s experts will come to your facility, talk to your people, and observe your shipping procedures firsthand. They will supervise a test loading, then meet the shipment at its destination to check the results and make any necessary modifications. The recommendations made for a damage control program will fit your system, even if that entails customizing product designs. Costly shipping losses can be avoided by the use of Damage Prevention’s filler, buffer pads, and protecto-cell panels with a honeycomb design; all three of these tools are reusable. Other products the company offers include so-called space braces — suitable for use in boxcars and trucks — that are easy to assemble and install, replacing wood and nails. Call Damage Prevention at (303) 295-3003 for more information.

Batching With Ease

Compsee Inc. has released the Apex III Program Generator, software that allows users to create data collection screens, perform sophisticated math functions, and create complex program flows. The program, which works with Windows, features an extensive library of procedures. A user can create simple or complex batch applications without the need to write a single line of program code. Screen creation tools and defined procedures make creating user prompts for data collection, data validation, and bar code scanning effortless. The structured code can be compiled and used as is or can be further modified and enhanced, using a simple text editor. It supports the development of new applications as well as the modification of existing applications. A specification sheet as well as a demonstration version of the Apex III Program Generator can be downloaded at www.compsee.com/ApexIII.htm.

52,584 Hours and Counting …

Until robots do absolutely everything, we can’t really count on avoiding all delays and all work-related accidents in perpetuity (and maybe not even then). But FKI Logistex White Systems can now claim to have come as close as possible with its bottom-drive horizontal carousels. A case study was performed over more than six years for cutting tool manufacturer Iscar Metals. The end result: uninterrupted 24-hour operations without any worker injuries.

When Iscar outgrew its 15,000-sq. ft. warehouse space, it installed six horizontal carousels, occupying 4,500 sq. ft. and holding three times the inventory. Iscar teamed these carousels — which were reengineered for larger live loads per bin and heavier duty cycles — with its own paperless Lightrees and TXP transaction software to fill 1,100 orders each day and restock at night. Inventory control, restocking time, and accuracy were all improved.

Thanks to the high efficiency and dependability of the carousel technology, up to 99% of incoming orders can be shipped the same day, so nights can be used for replenishing the stock. Replenishment uses the same process used for fulfillment, only in reverse. White carousels — a series of bins mounted to an oval track that rotate to bring the required items to the operator — are engineered for larger live loads (up to 2,500 lbs.) per bin and heavier duty cycles. To learn more about these carousels and White’s other products, visit the company on the Web at www.whitesystems.com.

Press ENTER

Fastpic Systems is introducing an advanced order processing module that boosts the efficiency of material storage and retrieval as well as accuracy in order picking and reducing restocking time. The software module, dubbed FastPic4 v4.02, is especially useful for operations that manage multiple workstations, storage, areas, or locations of an SKU. The allocation method always tries to pick the exact amount requested from the largest quantity available, thereby minimizing overages in picking. The order processing module uses a suite of powerful algorithms to perform an analysis of the required quantity of a specific SKU, then automatically selects the optimal pick location to match the order request. This process reduces restocking time, mistaken picks, walk and search time, order rerouting, and shortages resulting from the depletion of a SKU in a single area.

FastPic4 software — which runs on Windows 95, 98, NT, and 2000 — is designed to manage virtually all manual and automated storage and retrieval systems; it can also manage multiple work zones where several different types of storage and retrieval systems are used in a single operation. An efficient plug-and-play direct link with the host system allows users to download orders, receipts, and cycle count transactions. For more information, call (207) 854-8663, or visit www.FastPicSystems.com.

Ruth Hein is an editor, writer, and translator who lives in New Haven, CT. She can be reached at ruth.hein@snet.net.

The Doctor Is In

ESKAY’s Warehouse Rx® warehouse management system software provides real-time inventory control, tracking items from receipt through storage, picking, and shipping. It thus prevents lost inventory or unexpected stock-outs. “With real-time inventory control, you always know what you have and where you have it,” says ESKAY product manager Craig Welch. He points out that Warehouse Rx eliminates overstock and can reduce inventory levels and their related costs by 15%-20%. And because workers do not have to search for items, the cycle time for picking orders is reduced by at least 50%.

Warehouse Rx directs automated replenishment of stock when the inventory drops below a set level. Workers can manually restock, or automated handling systems can deliver the new stock to the pick face. For more information, send an e-mail to info@eskay.com, call (801) 359-9900, or visit ESKAY on the Web at www.eskay.com.