We were approached by a pet-food supplier to look at ways they could streamline their end of line / despatch process. Traditionally, it is this area – the critical order despatch process – that can be a bottleneck for many operations.
The specific challenge was to design a transport conveyor which could deliver totes of picked product to sixteen dedicated packing benches. It then needed to allow operators to pack the products into delivery cartons, apply a courier label and then send the completed order to a single despatch location. There could be no walking with, or lifting of, any product during the process.
To achieve this, PJP designed a bespoke two-tier conveyor system that does the following:
- The top tier delivers totes to packing bench positions using Zero-Line Pressure (ZLP) technology to ensure no collisions or finger traps occur during use – health & safety is a very important factor for us and our clients.
- Specially designed packing benches (workstations) then allow operators to simply slide the tote onto their workstation and process it.
- Once complete, operators use the lower tier by sliding the completed, boxed order onto a small decline belt, which automatically drives every box in the warehouse to the dedicated despatch point. This is achieved via an intelligent traffic light system with no interaction required from operators.
Another part of the remit was to keep the footprint of the system as small as possible as space, like in any warehouse operation, is a very valuable commodity. The two-tier setup and twin lane approach gave maximum performance whilst keeping the footprint to a minimum.
Prior to this system being implemented, the client was achieving a completed order every 3-4 minutes. The new system allows them to achieve a throughput of one order every 10 seconds. All in all, a very attractive return on investment was achieved which eliminated manual lifting and walking from the process.
Challenge accepted and solution delivered!
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