The 132,000 sq ft distribution centre in Leicestershire, fitted out using the latest equipment in materials handling from SSI Schaefer, run by Caterpillar Logistics on behalf of Quinton Hazell (QH) Automotive, has now been running smoothly for the past 12 months.
Wanting the very best in integrated solutions when managing transportation, inventory and distribution at their world-wide distribution headquarters in Hinckley, QH Automotive, the largest aftermarket manufacturer and distributor of motor components in the UK, decided to outsource their distribution operations to Caterpillar Logistics.
Caterpillar Logistics, a technology-based company providing customised solutions that transform distribution to a source of competitive advantage, used the expertise of SSI Schaefer to provide QH Automotive with a first class performing distribution warehouse.
Bob Jane, Business Development Manager, SSI Schaefer, said: “In order to provide Caterpillar Logistics with the most flexible and affordable materials handling equipment whilst at the same time making best use of the available space, we chose to provide the Hinckley plant with two distinct areas of pallet racking and multi-tier shelving capable of holding over 25,000 parts.”
The first area was the installation of Schaefer's PR600 Pallet Racking in a wide aisle arrangement – well known for its variety of versatile configurations for individual solutions including longitudinal beam racking, front-to-back racking and drive-in racking with the ability to adapt to future changing circumstances if required.
With over 10,000 pallet positions, the racking is ten metres high, utilising the full height of the building, and is designed to locate timber pallets fitted with heavy-duty corrugate pallet boxes. The pallets are positioned using conventional reach trucks and items / orders are easily picked using 'High Rise' man up order pickers. Part of the racking system is fitted with purpose made timber containers, providing accessible ground level picking of fast small moving parts.
The racking was assembled from components bolted together on site in order to reduce transport disruption, minimise handling costs and allow any changes to be made quickly and efficiently to the racking elements in a fast moving and changing business environment.
The upright frames of the racking, manufactured using scratch free and anti-corrosive pre-galvanised steel, give an overall appearance that is clean, bright and reflective providing an effective working environment. Cross-beams were located into the uprights using a unique four point connector which locks securely into position ensuring a safe and stable structure.
Finally the racking also features a fire protection sprinkler system utilising a special flexible connection down the main feed aisle.
The second distinct area within the Hinckley plant is the installation of SSI Schaefer's versatile multi-functional shelving system that is R3000 Multi Tier Shelving for the storage of small parts. Occupying a footprint of just 880m2 but providing over 2000m3 of storage capacity the shelving system offers high storage density (25% higher than a bolted system) within a relatively small footprint whilst at the same time providing a highly cost effective storage solution.
R3000 features include a bolt and clip free assembly for rapid adjustment of shelf positions, a wide use of shelving accessories including bin fronts to retain stock, vertical dividers for positive locations and containers for small loose parts.
The tree level self-supporting shelving structure is constructed from the standard R3000 system and benefits of the method over a conventional mezzanine floor include a 30% faster installation time, lower investment costs and reduced imposed loads on the floor slab.
The installation also includes pallet gate access on both floors, a goods lift capable of handling loads up to 980kg integrated into the floor, lighting and a supporting fire protection sprinkler system. Safe staircases, handrails and kick plates were also fitted.