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Great ideas for the Pharmaceutical sector at the Materials Handling Show

Taking place only once every three years, the International Materials Handling Exhibition (IMHX) is a must for all those with responsibility for logistics – and those in the pharmaceutical sector in particular have much to gain from visiting the show.

Held at the NEC, Birmingham, from 13-16th March 2007, IMHX will feature over 265 exhibitors and promises to be brimming over with products and ideas to improve materials handling across a whole spectrum of applications. Dubbed ‘The Big One’ by co-owners BITA (British Industrial Truck Association) and Quartz Publishing and Exhibitions Ltd, IMHX 2007 will span halls 17, 18, 19 and 20. With a total footprint of 45,000m2, the show runs under the slogan ‘Inspiring Materials Handling Excellence’ and is expected to attract in excess of 17,000 visitors from the UK and overseas.

Innovative solutions for the pharmaceutical industry
As ever, the exhibition will feature all the major players in the forklift truck industry, and will also show a wide range of racking & shelving, storage systems, order picking solutions, pallets & containers, health & safety, software solutions, third party logistics, flooring, packaging, financial services and warehousing. Many of the show’s exhibitors have supplied products and services to the pharmaceutical sector, with some having developed solutions specifically designed to meet the needs of a particular application or customer.

Proteus WMS controls storage of GSK’s products IMHX exhibitor Proteus Software (stand 20B30) has supplied its Warehouse Management System (WMS) to a facility distributing GlaxoSmithKline’s products. GSK were looking for a third-party logistics company to store and ship their goods on behalf of their Ireland operation, as well as a warehouse management solution to control stock movements and ensure delivery. After a selection process, GSK chose PRL Group, a large third-party logistics group in Dublin, and the Proteus WMS. The Proteus solution controls the shipment of prescription medicines. Visitors to the Proteus Software stand at IMHX will be able to view Proteus in action, including the intelligent tools of Proteus Smart Monitor and Proteus Action Manager.

Track and Trace technology from 3M Supply Chain Solutions
3M Supply Chain Solutions (stand 17S90) offers Track and Trace technology, a critical tool for ensuring effective supply chain visibility in the complex healthcare and pharmaceutical market. The company supplies HighJump Software, an RFID-enabled package that ensures item authentication to deter drug counterfeiting, accurate tracking of drugs and equipment, real-time visibility for customer orders and improved inventory control. 3M Supply Chain Solutions understands the stringent regulatory requirements in the pharma sector and works with clients to achieve the approvals they require.

Airsweep helps with silo discharge
Berkshire-based Southworth Handling (stand 20A83) offers an ingenious solution for those manufacturers needing to start and maintain the flow of bulk granular materials or powders in sectors such as pharmaceutical, food and chemicals. The Airsweep bin discharge system controls the product flow rate with minimal compressed air and causes no damage or wear to the silo. Simple to install, Airsweep can even be retro-fitted to existing silos and requires little maintenance.

Automation proves the right tonic for Greek pharma firm
Ionas Stroumsas, headquartered in Thessaloniki and one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Greece, is enjoying the benefits of an automated logistics solution supplied by IMHX exhibitor, Knapp (stand 20F22). With speed of supply paramount in the pharma business, Ionas Stroumsas began to find meeting its orders within its customers’ timescales difficult and so decided to build a new central distribution facility. Knapp was chosen to design and implement the new warehouse which features a high-bay pallet racking area, Knapp’s revolutionary OSR (Order Storage & Retrieval) goods-to-man picking system, two A-frame autopickers for fast-moving products and RF technology fitted to the arms of picking operatives for paperless, manual picking. Knapp has also supplied its OSR picking system to AAH Pharmaceuticals, the UK’s largest pharma wholesaler, at its Birmingham facility. The OSR is specifically designed for picking of small, slow-moving products ¬– which generally account for some 80% of the stock range. The system combines AS/RS with pick-by-light technology to provide up to 1000 picks per man-hour.

Curtis supplies controller for pharma reel handlers Curtis Instruments (UK) Ltd (stand 20F80), the world’s largest manufacturer of components for electric vehicles, will be showing its range of products on stand 20F80. The company’s 1210 PM motor controller is suitable for use with reel handlers in the pharma industry. Ballscrew mechanisms – which provide a hygienic method of lateral or vertical motion from an electric motor, important in the pharma industry – and the PM drive motor require protection from excessive torque and high DC current. The 1210 controller from Curtis gives over-current protection, torque control and user-programmable parameters to protect the drive mechanism.

Roller doors make hygiene an open-and-shut case
Leading door systems manufacturer Efaflex (stand 18N150) has developed a rapid roller door that is designed to meet the cleanliness needs of the pharmaceutical industry. The SRT-EC has no inaccessible niches, allowing high-pressure hot water cleaning to remove any traces of dust or dirt. The door features swivel-mounted flaps as main parts of the door frame cover, as well as an opening and latchable top covering, all in stainless steel. The door’s open frame architecture and the special slope of the closing profile allow full draining of water and detergents, including condensed humidity from the front of the door panel. Rival door systems firm Sara (stand 20C90) has recently supplied 16 of its Sprint 355 series doors to pharmaceutical firm Perrigo, the world’s largest manufacturer of over-the-counter pharmaceutical and nutritional products for the own label market. Fitted at key locations throughout the company’s Barnstaple facility, the Sprint doors are set in pairs, airlocked 3m apart. The clear safety curtain, with non-contact safety beam, allows people to see movement on either side – particularly important for safety, with forklifts in operation. The doors provide an air flow barrier to create pressure-controlled airlocks and ensure contamination protection in several critical areas.

The BIG Draw!
IMHX is already starting to generate a buzz in the materials handling industry and particular excitement surrounds a brand-new promotion entitled ‘The BIG Draw’. All visitors to the show will receive a scratch card on arrival, giving them the chance to win one of a range of prizes offered by exhibitors. Winning tickets need to be presented at the stands of the donor companies for collection of the prizes, which will range from items such as footballs, pens and mugs to high-value premium items. Pre-registered visitors will get double the chance of winning, as they receive an additional scratch card which is sent to them with their tickets!

On-line registration available
Visitors wanting to pre-register for free tickets to attend IMHX 2007 can do so on-line by visiting the IMHX web site at www.imhxonline.com.

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