Optimizing warehouse capacity: Cooper Enterprises invests in storage retrieval system
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SHELBY, Ohio – Cooper Enterprises, Inc. has installed a Dakota Automation storage retrieval system in its main warehouse to increase material handling efficiency. The company is an early adopter of this system in the United States woodworking industry.
The purpose of the storage retrieval system is to optimize storage capacity and make it easier for expeditors to sort and distribute material, including sheets of particleboard and MDF.
The system sorts and stacks 3,200 square feet of raw and laminated boards. Two pick heads constantly move the material and can handle up to 5-by-12-foot sheets. Once material is placed into the system via one of the 11 input/output bays, a computer program dictates which sheets are to be sorted, based on production requirements. Different types of boards can be stacked in one bunk before being delivered to saws, laminating lines or CNC equipment.
“The storage retrieval system smooths the flow of material throughout the plant,” said Edward Friebel, co-owner and executive vice president of Cooper Enterprises. “Expeditors will not have to leave their forklifts to break units apart. With this system, we are better utilizing our storage capacity.”
Before the storage retrieval system was installed, three rows of shelving units held material in that space. The large cage of material that now feeds the storage retrieval system removes the need for aisles and shelves or racks. Bunks of material can be packed closely together with roughly four inches of space between bunks.
Material handling systems are common in Europe and are starting to gain popularity in the United States. Improved material handling efficiency not only benefits the company’s operations, but it can also impact customers. Efficient material handling can lead to fewer damages and faster processes.
In the future, Cooper Enterprises plans to connect its CNC machines to the storage retrieval system for material to directly feed into the machines.
Cooper Enterprises, Inc. is a contract fabricator of wood and laminated components and complete assemblies. The panel processor serves many industries across the United States, including store fixture, commercial casework, office furniture, recreational product and industrial component markets.