Warehouse operator H2Ecommerce recently doubled the pallet capacity at its Crewe site by introducing very narrow aisle racking served by Flexi articulated warehouse truck technology from Narrow Aisle Ltd.
“The decision to reconfigure the layout of the store and adopt very narrow aisle methodology was driven by our need for extra cubic capacity following a period of sustained sales growth,” explains H2E’s e-fulfilment manager, Kevin Over.
The aisles within H2E’s Crewe store are now just 2.0 metres wide, with each pallet rack filled to roof level, boosting the facility’s pallet capacity to 2,200.
The new racking layout has also enabled H2E to maximise the full height of the building for pallet storage, as Over explains: “Our revised storage system has a top racking beam height of 7.2 m, which means we are now using all the 9.5 m height available within the building.
“Going higher and reducing aisle widths to 2 m has resulted in a significant increase in the overall density of the storage space available and our stockholding capacity has doubled.”
As part of its new solution, the company is using a Flexi AC1000 articulated truck which can lift all H2E customer loads to the top beam within the very narrow aisles at the site and has been supplied with a high definition LCD CCTV system to ensure that H2E’s operators have a clear view of the load and the racking when retrieving and putting away pallets at the highest level.
In addition, the truck’s HiVIS lift mast and specially developed integrated tilting and side shifting fork carriage eliminate mast deflection at the highest lift heights – making pallet movement fast and hugely efficient.
The AC1000 is able to operate safely both inside and outside the warehouse. This feature eliminates double handling and means that a single Flexi will do the work of two trucks: it unloads or loads vehicles like a counterbalance truck and operates within the aisle ways like a VNA truck.
This capability has allowed H2E to reduce the materials handling equipment in operation at the Crewe store from three units to two. “The Flexi AC1000 has allowed us to replace a reach truck which had limited use as it was unable to work outside or within the new narrow aisle configuration,” Over explains.