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Space saving solution

12 December 2012

With tough times likely to persist for some time,Keith Couzens from Couzens Storage
Solutions believes carousels are proving their worth by reducing costs and boosting
productivity in the warehouse

For many businesses

With tough times likely to persist for some time,Keith Couzens from Couzens Storage
Solutions believes carousels are proving their worth by reducing costs and boosting
productivity in the warehouse

For many businesses today, whether manufacturing,
distribution or service, their priority will be to stay afloat
while at the same time dealing with often sharply reduced
levels of activity. Space is one of the biggest overheads that usually
incur heating, lighting and other costs, as well as rent or simply
tying up capital. So using it more effectively or even reducing the
amount you need could make a significant difference.

Releasing several hundred square metres of space in an existing
building or even consolidating a company's activities into fewer
premises are the kind of results that could have a positive impact
on the bottom line almost immediately.

We have also helped expanding organisations avoid relocation,
saving the cost of building and moving into new premises by
utilising space more effectively. Our range of goods-to-man
systems has achieved this for a number of clients.

Carousels use power-driven storage trays stacked one above the
other, selected quickly and automatically by the operator, and can
cut space needed by 80% or more, both within an established
storage zone and in previously unused overhead space.

The market has many storage systems designed for uniform,
easily stowed parts and components that readily sit on pallet
racking. But many companies find that dealing with heavy,
awkward and difficult to handle items, such as tools, jigs, cable
reels, bulky spares and rod and bar stock - often in confined
spaces - is not so straightforward.

As well as providing highly productive and efficient picking
and storage for standardised containers such as cartons or totes,
carousels can accommodate almost anything from small, delicate
electronic components up to heavy and bulky metal sheet, bar
and rod. The recently launched TowerMat can store individual
items up to five tonnes and 12m in length, and is the ideal storage
and handling solution for large and awkwardly shaped items.

Individual units can hold up to 5,000 kg per tray and a total
capacity of more than 700 tonnes.

Security is high on the agenda for many businesses and this
may equally apply to how a business stores and manages its stock.

Lost, stolen or mislaid items can disrupt production or order
preparation through non-availability, and poor supervision can
leave the door open to wide-scale pilfering. Carousels of all types
are designed to enclose stock in a secure steel framework and can
be fitted with electronic security systems to strictly limit access to
authorised users.

Today's automated carousels have been developed to take full
advantage of the recent huge advances in software and digital
systems. Over the past few years the power of such systems has
increased dramatically while costs have shrunk, bringing formerly
unattainable technologies within reach of most companies.

Combined with highly productive, space saving and efficient
equipment, today's smart technologies deliver instant information
and outstanding stock management.

Realtime visibility
In a typical modern carousel system a fully integrated network
will link equipment software with the user's own systems, with
data management, machine and operator functions - using
equipment such as bar code readers, security entry systems,
scanners, RFID, PC screens and weighing scales. As a result
management has full, realtime visibility and control over all stock
movements and is able to determine at any time the location and
status of each item in store.

Equipment software can be integrated with popular ERP
systems, with standard or bespoke software modules available for
all types of equipment as part of a complete turnkey package.

Indeed, the entire Couzens' product range can be delivered and
used with or without inventory management software.

One of the latest developments using the most up-to-date
technologies is the introduction of biometric security which uses
a fingerprint reading to control access - a particularly vital
process for companies storing exceptionally high value or sensitive

Picking or replenishing from a carousel or lift by viewing a
picture of the required part on screen is now also in use, avoiding
faulty picks and their potentially damaging consequences.

While it will continue to be difficult for many companies to
justify capital investment, in our experience carousels and lifts can
quickly repay their cost in terms of space released or reallocated,
reductions in stock or even saving the cost of a move. These
decisions can help enable a
company to survive and thrive.