Miles of Conveyors for Under Armour® Distribution House

Miles of Conveyors for Under Armour® Distribution House

Miles of Conveyors for Under Armour® Distribution House Under Armour® started in 1996 as a simple plan by founder Kevin Plank to make a superior T-shirt for athletes – a shirt that provided compression and that would wick perspiration off the skin rather than absorb it. Plank, then 23 years old, produced shirts out of his grandmother’s basement and at the end of 1996 had $17,000 in sales. Under Armour® has experienced extraordinary success and growth over the years, now selling their products around the world. Revenue in 2015 reached $3.96 billion and the growth continues with a 2016 forecast of $4.96 billion! To successfully support this volume of sales, the company has had to create and maintain some of the largest manufacturing and distribution centers in this industry. In 2014, Under Armour® began building the 2 new distribution centers – one on the west coast (Rialto, CA) and one in the east (Mt. Juliet, TN). To pull this off, they needed to work with companies who had solid, proven track records in terms of engineering expertise, product quality, and the ability to deliver the volume of installed equipment on the timelines required. PACLINE’s role: PACLINE was chosen to provide the overhead monorail conveyors for empty carton and tote handling for both of the new Under Armour® facilities. The Conveyor Challenge: The larger of the two new distribution centers for Under Armour® was being built in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. This facility would occupy over 1 million square feet. The empty carton and empty tote conveyor systems were to be fully integrated with the other roller and belt style conveyors...
Overhead Conveyor Performs Double Duty

Overhead Conveyor Performs Double Duty

Overhead Conveyor Performs Double Duty Overhead Conveyor Performs Double Duty Unpublished Mechanization of the distribution center has become commonplace, to the point that certain tasks within the distribution process are mechanized as the standard approach. Mangers don’t even consider doing these tasks manually. Split case or “less than carton” distribution is considered to be the most difficult of applications to mechanize. The full case distribution center is easily automated with barcode labels, pick-to-belt conveyors, high-speed carton sorters, direct trailer loading and electronic data capture devices. Not so in the split case distribution center. The challenging part of this operation is dealing with individually picked items, located in a high density storage area, without individual item labeling, generally non-conveyable and requiring a shipping medium like a carton or tote, requiring a quality control check, resulting in the generation of trash cartons…and the list goes on. However difficult this type of picking is, it is a fact of life. Most distribution centers contain split-case product and the requirement to pick this type of order will not go away. Actually, the trend may be to a higher volume of split case items per order as retailers wrestle with shrinking store shelf space and pressure to reduce inventory levels. To address these issues, split case distribution centers with the goal of high efficiency, have incorporated Overhead Chain Conveyors into their new distribution center model. Their typical installation includes a number of separate overhead conveyor systems with several thousand feet of overhead chain. Actually, the overhead chain conveyor is only part of a total material handling solution involving several different styles of equipment. The...
Automated System for Corrugated Carton Removal

Automated System for Corrugated Carton Removal

Automated System for Corrugated Carton Removal How an automated system for corrugated carton removal can save space and the environment A very common application of overhead chain conveyors (monorails) is the removal of corrugated cartons from the order picking areas of a modern distribution Center. These areas are “high activity” work spaces and are often congested with personnel and densely packed with product, leaving little space for garbage bins and labour. So, the time proven solution is to take the trash cartons somewhere else in the facility where they can be dealt with efficiently, usually to the area of a trash compactor. In the last ten years, a combination of “Green” environmental initiatives and increasing cost of raw materials such as corrugated paper have changed the way we look at and deal with the trash cartons that come from our DC’s. Good, clean corrugated material is worth some money if it is prepared so that it is easy for a recycler to pick up and process. If it is uncontaminated and strapped properly, the recycler will pay top dollar to haul it away. An overhead conveyor can play a very important role in developing an efficient system to get empty trash cartons from the source to the automatic compaction system. An overhead conveyor can wind through picking areas close to the workers so that they can easily feed these cartons onto conveyor “hooks” or “trays”. The conveyor will carry the cartons to the infeed hopper of a corrugate compactor, and automatically dump. The cost of this automation is often justified by: Reduced congestion in the working areas, and less...
Hot Tips for the Material Handling Distributor

Hot Tips for the Material Handling Distributor

Hot Tips for the Material Handling Distributor Any material handling salesperson worth his salt can smell an equipment justification a mile away. There are some very basic elements of a return on investment analysis which, when combined, add up to an (almost) immediate sale of a material handling system. A salesperson needs to develop a knack for identifying a prime candidate by spotting the somewhat obvious signs.  Whenever I spot the “three amigos” of the material handling world- a crowded plant floor, a multiple shift operation, and a process that I know is mechanizable- my brain’s left side begins a frenzy of “imagineering”. I have had a great number of initial customer visits go extremely well when I play the “what if” game out in front of my potential business partner.  I think that they are immediately impressed by my insight and from that point forward I earn the reputation as a problem-solver and a visionary. Experience is the material handling professional’s most valuable asset.  Material handling professionals gain the experience part of the equation only after spending a few years in a particular business, studying the marketplace of products available, inviting themselves to see installations (regardless of who sold them) and reading articles in trade publications like this. Now for the “hot” tip I promised. Any time you can apply a piece of equipment to solve more than one task you stand a better chance of achieving your customer’s ROI goals.  I have a piece of equipment that can solve two material handling problems for less money than the alternative and the alternative only solves one problem.  Does...
Overhead Chain Conveyor Aids Order Picking and Trash Removal

Overhead Chain Conveyor Aids Order Picking and Trash Removal

Overhead Chain Conveyor Aids Order Picking and Trash Removal Mechanization of the distribution center (DC) has become commonplace, to the point that certain tasks are mechanized as the standard approach. Split case distribution is considered to be the most difficult of applications to mechanize. But, a Tennessee distribution center has found ways to mechanize even this. The challenge, in this instance and others like it, is in dealing with individually picked items, located in a high-density storage area, which are without individual item labeling. The items are generally non-conveyable and require use of a shipping medium like a carton or tote for picking. And there’s a need for a quality control check. These split case distribution centers also generate trash from master cartons as items are picked. To address these mechanization issues, the Tennessee distribution center installed overhead chain conveyors. Included were a number of separate overhead conveyor systems with several thousand feet of overhead chain. The distribution center picks split case items in a high-density storage pick module that is 4 levels high for best cubic efficiency. It incorporates flow racking, which is replenished with full carton goods around its perimeter. Meantime, full cartons flow to a middle area for picking. There are side-by-side conveyor lanes in a gravity/power/gravity configuration here. Order picking begins with the generation of a picking list and a shipping label. An order picker will choose a shipping container (carton or tote) and affix the label. The containers are made available to the picker via overhead chain conveyor located above the triple-wide conveyor lanes. Operators may add a new carton or tote box from...