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Sidetrackers maximise pipework stock in new NDC

Three Sidetracker multi-directional trucks have enabled the BSS Group to maximise storage capacity at a new national pipework distribution centre near Coventry and ensure quick, efficient order picking to meet demanding deadlines.

The new 4,700m² NDC acts as the central warehouse for stocks of pipework from 15mm OD to 500mm OD, most of which are supplied in six metre lengths. The NDC is geared to deliver to each of the company's 56 branches three times a week, with all orders being delivered within 48 hours of receipt, and many within 24 hours.

BSS is the UK's leading distributor of pipeline, heating and mechanical services products for commercial and industrial applications. Over the last ten years the company has installed narrow-aisle cantilever racking with Sidetracker trucks at most of its branches in order to improve efficiency and maximise storage capacities.

The new NDC has 2500 stock locations for the 400 different product lines held in the building. Racking is up to 9 metres high and is designed to accept individual loads weighing up to 2.3 tonnes. The compact design of the Sidetrackers has allowed aisle widths to be reduced to 1900mm, increasing the area available for racking.

The trucks supplied are SOL41C models, which have a lift capacity of 4100 kg at 500mm load centre. They are powered by twin electro-hydraulic power units through high-torque hydrostatic transmissions, with the motors automatically running singly or together to suit the demand. The load deck is 800mm long, and fork length is 770mm.

The experience of using Sidetrackers at other BSS branches had been a major reason for buying three more for the new NDC, according to John Hammond, operations manager. 'We are under pressure to ensure our branches have the stock that their customers need, so efficient, reliable systems and equipment for order picking are very important for us', he said. 'Also, because the trucks are so compact, we have been able to maximise the storage capacity of the building.'

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