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Home>Industry Sector>Distribution>Clipper Logistics deploys automation to serve eComm clients

Clipper Logistics deploys automation to serve eComm clients

03 October 2016

3PL Clipper Logistics used BS Handling Systems to boost fulfillment operations for its eCommerce fashion clients. 

Leicester based materials handling specialist, BS Handling Systems, has recently completed three valuable contracts at the extensive Clipper Logistics facilities in Swadlincote.

The variety of work carried out by BS Handling Systems at the Swadlincote site showcases the company’s ability to fulfill diverse materials handling challenges on a large scale. Alongside a vertical crossbelt sorter in the main facility, Swadlincote 1, it has installed conveyors, an automated carousel, a goods lift, longspan and pigeon hole shelving as well as a garment hanging system and packing benches.

Next door in Swadlincote 2, a substantial wide aisle pallet racking system has been designed to fill the warehouse with efficient storage for a variety of Clipper’s shared use retail customers. 

“We’ve done lots of good work with BS Handling Systems previously – they’re a well-established supplier,” explains Rob Kay, project manager for Clipper Logistics. “They tendered for the sorter project and their proven track record gave us confidence that they would be able to meet our strict deadlines and work within the budget set. They came back with a suitable solution that met our exacting criteria and it was accepted.”

In Clipper’s main warehouse, Swadlincote 1, BS Handling Systems took down four complete runs of racking to install a vertical sorter. All of the beams that were removed were re-used to make shelf levels in the existing racking.

The 24 destination sorter, which can process up to 5,000 items per hour, is used in an overnight operation to handle online orders. It runs for 100m – almost the complete length of the warehouse located underneath two mezzanine floors.

Kay comments: “It was a very difficult build for BS Handling because at the same time as they were installing the sorter, the mezzanine floors were being built directly above them. They collaborated well with the other contractors, delivering the project to specification both on time and in budget.

“From the outset they demonstrated that their brand values are very much aligned to ours – they are both responsive and extremely agile. Inevitably, with a large project like this, requirements change and where practical, they were able to accommodate those changes.”

Click and Collect

For one of their clients, a click and collect operation, orders are collected by Clipper from various warehouse locations each evening; these are delivered into the Swadlincote distribution centre. The trucks begin arriving at around 7.30pm and continue with their inbound deliveries right up until 1am.

Operatives feed the orders onto a fast moving incline conveyor through a barcode scanning point station into the cross belt sorter where they are directed down one of the sorter’s 24 chutes. At the bottom of each chute is a manual six way sort into store cages; operatives scan each order and place it into the correct cage for onward delivery to the store with the first despatches having to leave by 2.30am. 


Two large mezzanine floors of the Swadlincote DC are dedicated to the warehousing and e-commerce business for one of Clipper’s major retail clients. To extend the operation, BS Handling Systems has installed a variety of materials handling and storage facilities to move and store the products inside the distribution centre.

Products that arrive in individual cartons are loaded by operatives onto a new incline conveyor system which has been installed to transport the products up to both the first and second mezzanine floors.

Palletised goods are taken up to the storage areas by a goods lift. Each item is then priced and labelled ready for display instore and placed into the most appropriate storage depending on the nature of the product. BS Handling Systems has installed both longspan and pigeon hole shelving for the larger items whilst apparel is stored on hangers in specialist garment racking.

Small, valuable items are placed into an automated vertical carousel which is accessed from the first floor mezzanine; the carousel is a highly efficient option for the secure storage and fast retrieval of lightweight products.

BS Handling MD Robert Smith explains: “The successful completion of these three important contracts for Clipper Logistics at Swadlincote demonstrates our capability to deliver a full range of highly engineered materials handling and storage solutions.

“It also underlines BS Handling Systems’ customer-centric approach. Our aim is to fully understand each individual client’s needs so that we can deliver the most effective and efficient solution for them, one that will not only help to reduce their costs but also increase productivity.

“It’s a proven approach that works whatever the size of project – whether we are tendering for a complex turnkey system for a high throughput distribution facility like this one, or for smaller materials handling contracts.”