Industry: Metal manufacturing and distribution
Challenge: Storing and moving 4,000-pound loads of powdered metal that cannot get wet
Solution: Moving the product from floor storage to double stacked loads on two levels of racking with 3 and 4 deep push backs
Product: Pushback Racking System
PushBack Solutions for Extra Heavy Loads
In the manufacturing world, storage solutions are as unique as the items being stored. Factor in all the moving parts of a functioning warehouse and it’s like a macrocosm of a living organism. When organized correctly, parts and people move in and out and everything works in harmony.
This does not happen by accident. Planning and design come together to accommodate every specific need.
Some needs are less common than others. For example, one of our metal manufacturing clients we partner with uses a powdered metal that has very unique storage needs.
The imported powder ships in super-sized sacks stacked on pallets. While this seems standard enough, this particular powdered metal has 2 uncommon qualities.
- It’s heavy.
“Unusually heavy,” said Ivar Lonon, AEC Conveyor and Material Handling Specialist. “Most heavy loads are 1,500 to 2,000 pounds. This was 4,000 pound sacks, stacked on pallets two high, on the floor.”
- The powder cannot get wet because of a chemical reaction it has with water. This means the room in which it is stored must be clear of all potential liquid contamination including a sprinkler system.
To accommodate this need, they had cleared a space dedicated to this product—not necessarily an easy task to create a sprinkler-free zone within a large and busy complex. Although the space worked at first, increasing demand meant increased quantities of the powdered metal. Soon there was not enough room to efficiently manage storage and keep up with first in first out (FIFO).
Push Back to Move Forward
We were called in to provide a solution. The temporary fix of floor stacking had to change. Because this system didn’t allow for FIFO, our client was forced to constantly move one 4,000-pound stack of product to get to another.
To maximize efficiency, we installed a heavy duty push back rack system. “Our client needed a solution fast. Without a lot of room to work with I knew the push back system would be the perfect fit for their need,” said Lonon.
Pushback racking systems allow forklifts to load a pallet, then load a second pallet (or more) from the aisle, pushing the first pallet back. This works by means of a nested rolling cart riding on inclined rails installed on the racking system.
When a pallet is removed, those behind it shift forward to become flush with the aisle making it easy for the forklift to access and remove them.
Increase Storage Potential in Small Spaces
In a small space, pushback rack also removes the need for multiple aisles. Removing the extra space that a forklift would need to access each load on selective racking can increase product storage up to 90% depending on the warehouse.
For our client, the solution allowed for double stacked loads on 2 levels of racks, 3 pushbacks deep on one side of the room, and the same but 4 deep on the other.
“The new system means no more moving product around just to get to product. Now they can get in and get what they need quicker and safer,” said Lonon.
Our client is extremely satisfied with the results. They can now get all the needed product stored in the designated area with far simpler FIFO inventory control.
Ivar Lonon is a Conveyor & Material Handling Specialist at Advanced Equipment Company. He is responsible for system sales and turnkey integration of material handling systems with over 30 years of experience in systems engineering, project management and systems integration.