Pipe Center has opened a new distribution centre (DC) in Measham, Derbyshire, the newest and most technologically advanced distribution operation in the supply chain of parent company, Wolseley UK.
The 142,000 sq ft facility, which went live in December 2014, has given Pipe Center the ability to provide next-day delivery across its entire network and has created over 50 new jobs. At its heart is a bespoke, 3,332-location KASTOunicompact 4.0 automated warehouse, built in Germany and supplied through KASTO Ltd, Milton Keynes. The cassette-type tube storage system provides dynamic goods-to-man presentation for efficient picking, which reduces the amount of manual handling required.
The warehouse structure, which required the installation of 182 drive piles to provide deep foundations, has boosted storage capacity by 20 per cent compared with the previous operation, which relied on storage of long stock using a mixture of cantilever racking and bulk stacking. There was also a separate section for small parts and an area for pallet storage.
The KASTO system has reduced the distance warehouse operatives have to move when picking, speeding the consolidation of orders. The warehouse design also increases the height used for storage of Pipe Center’s SKUs (stock keeping units). The consequently reduced footprint represented significant cost savings.
The KASTO control interfaces with Measham’s HighJump warehouse management system, which offers superior tracking and traceability of inventory, further maximising efficiencies and reducing costs. The resulting optimised storage and picking coupled with improved stock management allows an even broader range of products to be stored at Measham and delivered to the branch network. The portfolio includes Bondloc, Geberit, Ideal Stelrad, Spirax Sarco and Marla Tube Fittings, underlining Pipe Center’s status as the market-leading distributor of such products.
Each cassette is 7 metres long and 3,332 of them are arranged in 78 blocks horizontally and 22 rows vertically to a height of 12 metres on both sides of a central area, along which a picking crane travels on rails. Some locations are not filled due to the presence of building columns.
The width of the installation in the warehouse is just over 22 metres and the length is nearly 80 metres. The top seven rows contain cassettes measuring 645 mm high, the very top location being 40 mm deeper still, while the lower 15 rows house 435 mm high cassettes. All are 770 mm wide and accept material up to 6.8 metres long.
The crane travels with two cassettes weighing up to 4,150 kg each between the store locations and three input/output stations, extracting and / or returning material at up to 160 m/min longitudinally and 40 m/min vertically. These motions are performed simultaneously for maximum productivity, while cassette pulling and return speed is up to 80 m/min.
Andy Wighton, Managing Director of Pipe Centre and Climate Center said, “We have created one of the most dynamic and advanced distribution centres in the industry that will help us achieve customer service excellence.
“Measham DC is ideally placed geographically and fits with our supply chain strategy to operate as efficiently as possible. It optimises our distribution capability for Pipe Centre and Climate Center so we can offer our customers next day delivery and accommodates our exciting growth ambitions for the next 10 to 15 years.”