16 conveyor platforms under one roof

March 16, 2023 2:38 pm

How WPSS platforms helped optimize one retailer’s ASRS

To keep pace with new throughput demands in the e-commerce era, distribution centers are having to rethink order fulfillment processes. No longer is it efficient to have a human locate, pick, and pack items for shipment. Many distribution centers are turning to automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) to expedite pick and pack processes, where automated pickers deliver products to human packers via conveyors.

Though effective, the extensive conveyor systems required for ASRS operations can be difficult to integrate into existent warehouse spaces. This retailer needed to transition to ASRS to reduce labor costs, keep up with new throughput demands, accommodate the large conveyors while preserving space on the ground floor for merchandise storage and forklift navigation.

conveyor platformsInstead of expanding the warehouse footprint, this retailer decided to utilize their existing vertical square footage by investing in Western Pacific’s SureSTEP platforms. With WPSS’ signature long spans, this retailer was able to maintain an abundance of unobstructed space on the ground floor for inventory and machinery.

The sizable operations required more than one platform — 16 platforms in total. Not only did the WPSS team have to create 16 separate platforms for one application, they had to do so in the same tight timeframe.

To keep on track, three estimating engineers, three CAD designers, and three project managers were used for the job, with each platform treated as its own project. Although all platforms were going to serve as supports for the conveyor system, their dimensions and requirements varied greatly depending on the portion of the conveyor they needed to support. For those platforms supporting normal conveyor components, such as rollers, less stringent criteria was required. Whereas platforms holding the heavier equipment, more stringent design and deflection criteria was necessary.

And the challenge didn’t stop there. Many of these platforms were part of a larger, connected platform spanning the width of the warehouse. This in turn required that the design and engineering teams work together to optimize post and beam members, to maximize floor space. With strong collaboration between teams, the end result was a diverse set of platforms, with dimensions ranging from 8’x12’ to 580’x 20’, and connections that enabled maximal free space on the ground level and seamless transitions on the top floor. Moreover, with the addition of SureSTEP staircases, the top levels could be easily accessed by maintenance and other employees, minimizing downtime.

WPSS proactively brought everyone together, created strong lines of communication across parties and departments (from PM to CAD, manufacturing to installation), delivering on time, within budget, and with minimal onsite reworking.

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