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Our Other Materials Handling Services

There is a multiplicity of mechanical handling equipment options available from manual trollies and trucks up to fully automated systems, from free path to conveyors and fixed rail and overhead systems.  There are also different ways of controlling and guiding equipment from manual control single operation, to multi leaved automated systems.

Whatever MHE is selected it has to be integrated with the picking and storage systems used, with the warehouse operation and with the material and people flows.  When designing / re-engineering a warehouse LPC consider in detail all the requirements of the operation, not just the MHE requirements.  In this approach we consider for instance, material flows, movement, storage or picking, the available area and identify and specify the correct truck for the operational functions from pallet movement to pallet putaway /retrieval to picking of cases or eaches and then whether a man up or man down operation.

The process starts with identifying the material flows, the unit loads to be moved and the frequency of movement.  When the requirements have been established the potential options can be considered and the costs and benefits can be determined.  It should not be forgotten that while there is the range of equipment available to make best use of the footprint and height of existing buildings, the best MHE for your operation will likely determine the size and shape of a new building if you have that opportunity.

Some of the options available are:

Manually Operated Forklift Trucks

Gas, electric and diesel choices are available for the more basic type of trucks such as counterbalance trucks, sideloaders and some articulated multipurpose trucks.  While it is more normal for externally operated trucks to be diesel or gas powered ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) this does not exclude electric from operating outside nor vice versa,  especially where crossover occurs.

The largest selection of manually operated warehouse truck types are electric and are either pedestrian operated stand on / in or ride on, dependent on the operation and distance to be covered.

These range in a general from

Truck Genre Pallet movement Pallet and storage Detailed Picking
Powered Pallet truck, pedestrian, stand on and ride on (PPT)

 

Low level order pick trucks (LLOPT)

 

Counterbalance (also pedestrian versions) for lower level storage

 

Reach trucks for higher level and common aisles with pickers / other trucks

 

Articulated trucks and narrow aisle

 

Very Narrow Aisle Trucks (VNA) Stackers

 

 

VNA Combi

 

Man up pick trucks mid and high level VNA plus

 

 

 

X = Primary Role  O = Secondary Role

Within these genres there are a multitude of types and models between the various manufacturers with many variations in specifications which LPC will identify specifically for a facility design and a client’s particular use.

Automated Guided Trucks

Automated guided trucks or automated guided vehicles (AGV’s), were generally as specialised carriers of pallets or bits of equipment, often used in factories. More recently,  and more usable in warehouses has been the introduction of many types of modified standard trucks capable of not only ferrying pallets or product from A to B but to also collect from and put into racking. There are also some small AGVs available for the transit of small items such as totes which can be transferred to and from the carrier automatically.

Guidance methods vary from infra-red and lasers to RFID tags and optical tracking on lines painted on the floor and inductive guidance with buried wires. All AGVs are fitted with anti-collision sensors and can be controlled by a suitable WMS and interfaces.

Picking Trollies

Trollies can be basic but in shelving systems and areas where there are small parts in particular trollies are more flexible and manoeuvrable than pallets on PPTs or pump trucks. They can be equipped with integral steps, multiple shelves and some with WMS terminals and sensors to confirm picks to the correct carton / tote / shelf etc.

Conveyor Systems

LPC often specify conveyors in conjunction with automated systems.  These could be either pallet conveyors, of roller or chain types dependent on direction, pallet type and use, or case or tote conveyors being powered roller or belt or gravity roller or chutes. However we also use them to optimise material flows in a mechanised environment to facilitate movement of product between areas in manual operations, such as movement of totes between floors in a multi floored mezzanine or to take away packed parcels from packing benches. In all cases the relevant systems that produce flexibility and performance and or cost benefits will be planed for and specified in our facility / warehouse designs

Shuttle Cars

When employing shuttles in our designs, LPC could employ two varieties, both very different from each other. Pallet shuttle cars might be used as a less expensive option to move pallets from one area to another or maybe between parts of a conveyor system, especially where volumes are lower.

The other shuttle variety is employed within racking installations.  They can also be known as “moles”, “pallet runners” etc. dependent on their manufacturer. We have often employed these in designs where high density pallet storage is required, in preference to pallet live storage or drive in racking but it is always dependent on the operational requirement and benefits

Overhead Systems

An overhead system for pallets is normally a suspended carrier or gondola for one or two pallets at a time running on an overhead monorail. Others especially overhead chain conveyor types can be for the transport of totes and cartons. The advantage of these overhead systems is that there is no need to have, for instance, a conveyor acting as a barrier on the floor. This is especially beneficial when there are long distances to be travelled and access across would otherwise severely restricted. Another purpose where LPC may recommend these systems for use is to transfer pallets from a production facility to a warehouse / distribution site over a roadway via a bridge.

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