Versatility of FRAT NX range places it at the heart of retail and e-commerce operations
When leading UK footwear manufacturer Pavers outgrew its existing distribution facility during 2019, the company took the decision to move its operations to a new location in the Upper Poppleton area of York.
From here, the aim was to service all e-commerce orders received via the company’s consumer-facing website, as well as managing deliveries direct to retail outlets located throughout the UK.
The challenge was that the new location was arranged across three separate floors, placing a unique set of requirements on the conveying systems. These would need to accept goods into the facility, transport them to their designated storage location, then locate and retrieve them when they were needed.
The layout at York sees the ground floor housing the ‘goods in’ section, as well as the picking and dispatch area for home shopping purchases. Both of the upper floors are home to picking and dispatch operations for distribution to stores.
The varying requirements of the project necessitated a specialist, with Nottingham-based PJP Conveyors commissioned by Pavers to develop, install and configure a complete conveyor solution.
The ground floor would need a conveyor to bring in bulk boxes from the ‘goods in’, where they would be manually broken down and directed to storage racks if not immediately needed.
Solution : Flawless sortation lines with F-RAT NX diverters
As an established conveyor systems integrator, PJP Conveyors had specified Itoh Denki products on numerous occasions in the past, and has no hesitation in turning to Itoh Denki once again for this project.
Four FRAT NX 90-degree multidirectional flat transfer modules were selected for the ground floor. These modules are proven in delivering rapid and efficient sorting on a broad spectrum of conveyor lines, with no lifting or vibration, which makes them ideal for fragile loads. Powered by 24VDC brushless motors, they offer excellent safety performance and require minimal maintenance and can deliver a transfer rate of up to 2,250 items per hour.
With each module offering up to four reversible entries and exits, great flexibility is achievable, allowing for rapid re-assignments when needed.
The configuration for both of the upper floors also draws on the particular attributes of the FRAT NX range. Each floor now houses a total of 33 FRAT NX75s, which are handling the picking and dispatch for the nationwide retail outlets.
The shoe boxes travel up to each floor on the belt conveyor; on arrival, a bar code reader reads the label and then dispatches each box down the line where it is collected by the allocated FRAT. This then sends box down a gravity-fed conveyor to the correct station, where individual shoe boxes are consolidated into larger boxes for the stores.
Result : quick commissionning for a flexible solution
Commenting on the overall project, Paul Crew of PJP Conveyors explained: “We found that the FRAT modules were very simple and rapid to install. A further advantage for both us and the client is that they can be easily removed and replaced when any maintenance is needed, keeping any downtime to an absolute minimum.
“Itoh Denki were able to deliver to the tight lead time we needed, with products we know to be reliable from previous projects.”
PJP Conveyors engaged Holloway Control Systems for the control aspects of the installation. As part of the project, they made control cabinets to house the circuit boards, and these are tidily fixed below each FRAT unit.
The total throughput across the facility already amounts to some 18,000 boxes per day, equivalent to one every two seconds. However, the system installed is able to withstand many more boxes should the need arise in the future.