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Narrow aisle and double deep storage saves APC client millions

With 106 product lines and a production capacity of 1.6 billion bottles and jars per annum, a large paper and plastics packaging business in Wadeville has highly specialised requirements when it comes to storing its products before shipping them off to manufacturers across South Africa. Faced with having to relocate when the facility’s 7 500 m2 warehouse started nearing capacity, it urgently needed a solution that would accommodate 300% more pallets within its existing warehouse facility.

To cater for this growing production output, the company contracted APC Storage Solutions SA to create a completely new racking system layout. APC Storage Solutions SA previously optimised warehouses across South Africa for this client.

“We originally installed about 5 500 pallet positions at the Wadeville facility seven years ago and, while the racking delivered excellent service, there was a lot we could do to reach the warehouse’s true capacity,” says Etienne Meyburgh, General Manager for Projects, APC Storage Solutions SA. “This warehouse conversion involved dismantling the existing 3 500 mm wide aisle racking entirely, and reassembling it in a completely new double-deep, narrow aisle, configuration that would reduce ‘dead’ aisle space and boost storage density.”

During the first installation phase, APC Storage Solutions SA supplied an extra 2 000 pallet positions worth of racking, and in the second phase an extra 7 532, bringing the capacity to well within the nearly-impossible 300% increase targets of 15 032 pallet positions.

Making this installation exceptionally unique was the further reduction of access aisle width – from 3.5 and 4 metres to just 2.4 metres. “It’s very rare that a warehouse uses double-deep and narrow aisle configurations at the same time, since forklifts that feature double-deep extending forks almost always need wider aisles to operate. Our Artix®, an articulated narrow aisle forklift, however is the only pallet handler capable of working in these space restrictions and able to service a double deep design,” says Meyburgh.

APC Storage Solutions SA supplied the client with an Artix® articulated forklift fleet, which combines turret truck features with a reach truck and counter balance forklift. The result is a double-deep extending forklift capable of operating in aisles of just 1.6 metres. “As pallets for these product types are light, the Artix® can easily lift them as high as ten metres. Its ability to operate indoors and outdoors further meant our client could retire the reach truck previously necessary for outdoor pallet handling, and manage the entire warehouse with just a single machine type,” says Meyburgh.

The Artix® fleet is further supported with a reliability-centred maintenance programme by APC Storage Solutions SA’s material handling division, IHS – Integrated Handling Solutions. This ensures significantly more uptime, improved aftersales services, preventative maintenance and twice-monthly mechanical inspections.

APC Storage Solutions SA also supplied the highest quality pallet available in the market place and placed 16 000 pallets into the customers current pallet fleet to be utilised in this facility, thereby offering a turnkey solution.

“We’ve estimated that a facility relocation of this nature could easily cost up to R70-million. So by opting for a complete system re-vamp instead, we’ve helped our client avoid having to spend millions of Rands on a new premises, relocation services and other associated costs, while providing the same benefits of high-volume storage,” concludes Meyburgh.

APC Storage Solutions SA offers world-class service in Gauteng and throughout South Africa, including Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg. Services are also available throughout the African continent.

APC Storage Solutions SA, though its dedicated material handing division, IHS Forklifts, offers a range of warehouse forklifts to handle any application and includes extensive service plans and workmanship guarantees.