Pallet Flow System

Company: Voortman Cookies

The Situation: Voortman’s required a dynamic storage system that streamlined package flow from the bakery to the pick area to decrease maintenance and increase throughput.  This design was to be implemented with their new warehouse expansion.

The Details: Mainway Handling Systems was awarded the contract to supply and install a state-of-the-art FIFO system to integrate with an AGV loading system.

The primary concern was maintaining the freshness and delicacy of the packaged goods.  Sales hinged on the successful shipment and delivery of its product; therefore the integrity of each Voortman box of cookies was crucial.  Due to this, Voortman was unable to use traditional floor stacking storage methods.  With this in mind Mainway designed a multi-tiered system of pallet lanes to protect packages from crushing weight and other damaging elements within the warehouse.

The Solution: Given the above set of requirements, Mainway had the unique opportunity to build one of the largest and most innovative flow storage systems in Canada.  The final expansion increased warehouse space by 45,000 square feet which allowed for 89 bays with 2581 pallet position with three vertical tiers (up from 53 lanes, 1855 positions), resulting in an approximately 25 percent increase in throughput.  Each of the 267 bays are comprised of full width roller tracks with heavy-duty impact rollers at pick zones, seven brakes per lane all fed by an automatic guided transfer system at the load zone.

Mainway dealt with maintaining package integrity by utilizing a three tiered FIFO flow storage system thus decreasing the handling of product.  The two lower levels are nine pallets deep with the top level 10 deep.  Each pallet meets its maximum 2,000 pound max. capacity while fully utilizing the warehouse’s vertical space.  This design immediately eliminated the possibility of crushed cookies and to answer the call for freshness, Mainway situated the storage system within the shipping area allowing boxes to be palletized and loaded into the system by variety and shipment destination. 

The use of full width rollers solved Voortman’s previous flow accuracy problem by offering more flow surface area for increased pallet support, reducing the tendency for pallets to wander while flowing down the 37’ plus lanes and virtually eliminating hang-ups within the system.

The design of the single position overhang on the third tier provided a space for partially picked pallets to be placed on the floor, under the overhang.  This allowed personnel easy access to pick-to-order from partial pallets without having to push them back into the bottom lanes.

The Conclusion: Product freshness and package integrity was improved, pick and ship logistics were refined, worker safety and satisfaction was increased and ultimately throughput was at an all time high.