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New warehouse increases space using radio waves

Draper Tools have upped the available pallet space in their new warehouse 20% by utilising an innovative automated handling solution from Toyota.

The Draper wholesale facility in Chandlers Ford represents probably the largest stock of tools in one place in the country, however consistent order growth has lead them to expand to a new facility nearby.

Draper worked with their long term supplier, Toyota Material Handling to identify a solution that made the best use of the space. Working with Toyota's storage specialists, account manager Darren Carson, recommended the innovative Radio Shuttle, combined with BT Reflex reach trucks.

Unique to Toyota, the Radio Shuttles transport each pallet along specially designed racking, placing it ready for the handling task. Controlled by a radio signal, the shuttle will bring the next available pallet to the pick face for picking operations, or during put-away it will transport the pallet to the rear of the racking, gently positioning it in the next available station.

Up to 50% of the handling process is automated, reducing the distance travelled by the reach trucks and freeing them up for other operations once they have placed a pallet at the pick face – the Radio Shuttle will do the rest.

The Draper trucks only operate from a central aisle, improving space utilisation and minimising the risk of damage to the truck and racking.

Darren advises: “In comparison to other methods of aisle-free storage, Radio Shuttle is proving very effective for Draper as there are no moving parts to be maintained within the racking. The shuttles are compatible with standard trucks and can be moved around the warehouse as required, offering greater flexibility if business needs change. Practical utilisation is high at up to 90%, whilst straightforward maintenance keeps cost per pallet low representing a significant lifetime saving for operations like Draper”

Keith Mclean, warehouse manager, Draper Tools, concludes: “When we looked to specify a fleet for our new warehouse, we naturally turned to the BT range. Once again they were able to help us maximise our operations with the Radio Shuttle, which has provided a cost effective option for aisle-free storage.”

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