Space-saving storage

When Amari Metals wanted to create a twin site operation in the West Midlands capable of storing and supplying to UK stockholders all of the stainless steel, aluminium, copper, brass and bronze products in their range, they turned to Rivers Machinery for a materials handling solution. “We were operating out of four sites at Tipton, Walsall, Barnsley and Bloxwich, which was difficult logistically as well as from a managerial standpoint, and also costly,” said Chris Meredith, manager of the Metal Centre, the central stockholding division of Amari Metals. “So a decision was taken to invest over GBP 1 million in a Kasto automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) at our Tipton site, supplied by Rivers Machinery. As a result of this investment, we were able to close our Barnsley and Bloxwich sites and substantially reduce our total floor area.”
The ASRS is a high-density storage system on 16 levels and comprises nearly 2000 storage positions. Each of the 1948 cassettes is arranged internally as one of 12 types. The system houses much of the Metal Centre’s product in the form of bar, tube and angle from 3 to 6 metres, but exceptionally up to 7 metres. Within each location, care is taken to mix material types to ensure maximum utilisation of space and facilitate picking. Additionally, it is easy to distinguish between the different stock types when picking. The storage system is ‘live’, meaning that the crane picks the next cassette and in the same operation replaces it with the one that has just been returned from one of the two picking stations, thereby ensuring minimal time loss. The computer control always knows the location and content of each cassette. The computer system automatically lists the orders as they are received in the correct sequence according to the delivery priority for each departing vehicle.

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