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Vertical lifts save space for building products firm

03 May 2013

Aluminium profile building systems company SAPA has recently installed two Modula storage systems from Couzens Storage Solutions that will give the business the scope to consolidate three existing premises into a single facility.

The units have been designed to store an estimated 153,000 items and 1,258 lines including fixings, seals, handles, brackets and other components for its Gloucester-based replacement window and conservatory business. They are being used to hold small and medium parts to support production and customer installations, while longer profiles are stored on cantilever racking.


Modula is an advanced, computer-controlled vertical lift storage, picking and retrieval system. Ideal for storing a variety of goods of different dimensions in a single unit, it automatically selects and transports items to and from the operator, delivering improved productivity, faster picking and lower costs.


The two 10.3m high Modula lifts supplied to SAPA make maximum use of available headroom and provide over 260sq m of storage space on a footprint of around 28sq m. Each machine has 75 storage trays 3.1m long and 857mm deep, each with 500kg load capacity – and can be upgraded with a further 25 if required.


SAPA is already using similar machines elsewhere and has specified advanced software and digital technology to maximise productivity from their investment. Picking instructions are displayed on a touch screen colour console that slides along the full length of the picking face so it is always visible to the picker. The Modula software interfaces with SAPA’s own MRP and WMS server, providing complete, real time, stock management and control, all driven from the client’s host machine.

 

"The Modula machines have a total of 150 trays with configurable compartments, and have revolutionised our accessory stores and the way we operate."

When an item is selected and called up on the screen, the relevant tray is brought to one of two levels in the picking bay at a safe and comfortable working height in seconds, and a pick-to-light system identifies exactly where the required item is located. Modular dividers provide secure, precise and disciplined storage in each tray. Using a bar code reader the operative confirms the pick and the linked-in printer produces any required documentation. Orders are batch picked into totes ten at a time.


Improved speed and ease of picking ensures accurate and timely delivery of components for production and installation, and has allowed SAPA to redeploy several staff to other areas of the business.


Sapa’s Vince Gibbs summed up the company’s satisfaction with the project. "The Modula machines have a total of 150 trays with configurable compartments, and have revolutionised our accessory stores and the way we operate. We can now carry out simultaneous order picking with no wasted walk time, improving our picking productivity. Product quality is better too as the machines keep products protected and free from contamination.


"The installation by Couzens was safe, problem free and delivered on time. Support from Couzens was on hand – and while we were learning how to operate the machines they were more than willing to talk us through resolving issues or visiting us to assist.”

 

Key Points

* Two 10.3m high Modula lifts.

* Over 260sq m of storage space on a footprint of around 28sq m. 

* Each machine has 75 storage trays 3.1m long and 857mm deep.

* Each tray 500kg load capacity.

* Stores around 153,000 items for Sapa.

* Stores around 1,258 lines for Sapa.


 
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