Automotive Parts Distributor Overhauls Material Handling Equipment

Automotive Parts Distributor Overhauls Material Handling Equipment

The Opportunity

A well known automotive parts distributor had an imitative to renovate and improve the material handling equipment in its DC. Their culture requires lean processes and high quality equipment. The conveyor portion of the project included the handling a wide variety of specially design containers and pallets. Some totes were used within the facility from receiving, into storage, and to picking. Other custom totes were used to ship outbound to its customers.

The customer needed to match conveyor equipment to a well defined picking and packing process. Also required was integrating the conveyor equipment to other equipment (e.g. forklifts) and processes within the facility. Critical design requirements were ease of use, ergonomics, safety and improved efficiency.

The Process

The customer redesigned the outbound containers for improved efficiency. The customer also worked extensively its staff to review the process and the current conveying/handling methods to determine how new conveyors could be improved. And the customer suggested how the conveyors needed to work.

Industrial Kinetics collaborated with the customer and the project integrator to determine how to translate the requirements and desires with functional equipment. A number of options were generated, reviewed, and evaluated for cost/benefit. While on the surface the equipment was ordinary, its application was highly engineered and customized to the project.

When the initial design was approved, pilot lines were manufactured and installed. The customer then used this equipment in operations to confirm the equipment worked well within the operation.

After working with the pilot lines to collect user feedback and efficiency results, the designs were refined and expanded. For the larger scale implementation, portions of the equipment remained, portions were refined and still others were changed complete to better fit the flow and process. The final equipment included changes to elevations, operator stations, improved product guiding and guarding and enhanced safety devices.

Once the final designs were completed, Industrial Kinetics manufactured the equipment. Additionally, IK set up a typical “cell” for a factory acceptance test. The user’s management and line workers tested the equipment with actual totes and products, replicating their real world conditions. The benefit to the users was that selected users knew exactly what equipment was being installed in their facility and how it would work in their environment. The line workers were able to communicate the benefits of the new system to their peers before the equipment was installed. The benefit to Industrial Kinetics was to ensure that all did, in fact, work as expected before installation of this highly customized solution.

The Results

With the customers shop floor acceptance and subsequent refinements as requested by the customer, the equipment was shipped and installed in the user’s faculty.
Industrial Kinetics designed and manufactured:

  • Custom air operated turntables
  • Custom pallet escapements
  • Custom roller conveyors
  • Ball transfer tables
  • Lift/Tilt Tables with ball transfer deck
  • Guarding and accessories


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