An enormous variety of storage equipment is now available to suit a wide range of needs – from sophisticated warehouse stacking systems to designer commercial office installations. What are the right solutions for you? HARTLEY HENDERSON investigates.
Offices and workplaces of all kinds are becoming smaller and more specialised. So it is more important then ever to find intelligent, adaptable and fit-for-purpose storage solutions to maximise the functionality, safety and comfort of precious space.
Designers are continually developing fresh solutions to storage problems, taking note of evolving work practices and the ever-changing needs of employees and businesses. In this article we’ll examine some of the more progressive and stylish products to hit the market.
CHANGE IS GUARANTEED
Today’s space-saving solutions include modular storage systems that can be extended to allow for future growth. In particular, the latest innovative warehouse storage systems, for example, are capable of providing outstanding productivity gains that in turn can deliver significant benefits for the customers of an enterprise.
Murray Goulburn, Australia’s leading processor of milk and the country’s largest exporter of processed food, has installed a Pallet Runner high-density storage system (pictured top) at its Integrated Logistics Centre at Laverton in Victoria.
Combining the density of drive-in racking with the benefits of pallet flow, the Pallet Runner system uses self-propelled ‘intelligent’ carts to handle pallets within the storage system. Pallet Runner carts run on rails, which pass under each pallet location on each level of the storage system.
According to Joe Carmody, business development manager at Dematic, which supplied and installed the storage system, the innovative and space-efficient Pallet Runner system only requires aisles for pallet entry and retrieval, unlike other storage system layouts that require multiple access aisles.
“In the case of Murray Goulburn, a new high-density store was required to support a doubling of ultra-high, temperature-treated (UHT) production capacity from 750 pallets to more than 1500 pallets per day at the Leongatha processing plant. Due to the minimal storage space available, the effectiveness of storage and product handling was critical at the ILC because conventional storage systems and handling methods could not meet the challenge,” Carmody says.
“An extensive analysis was carried out in partnership with Murray Goulburn of all available storage systems to establish which would be the best fit for the company’s requirements. The Pallet Runner concept was chosen and work began on what would be the first large-scale facility of its type in Australia.”
Carmody points out that because the Pallet Runner carts operate automatically and independently within the system, forklift operators are free to focus on bringing product to and from the racking without the need to drive into the rack. The carts can be easily lifted out of one storage lane and transferred to another by forklift, making it possible for a single cart to service multiple lanes.
“In addition to providing excellent space utilisation, the Pallet Runner system enables Murray Goulburn to handle twice the throughput with fewer than half the operators it would require with any other type of storage system, such as drive-in racking,” he says.
“Dematic integrated the operation of the Pallet Runner carts into Murray Goulburn’s existing RF system, eliminating the need for a dedicated Pallet Runner remote control system.”
Phil Saunders, national storage and distribution manager at Murray Goulburn, believes the Pallet Runner concept offers excellent potential for manufacturers and companies that want to store large quantities of the same product to significantly reduce their storage and handling costs.
FLEXIBILITY IS THE KEY
Commando Storage Systems (CSS), based in the Melbourne suburb of Somerton, designs and manufactures an extensive range of storage equipment for industrial, warehousing, and office requirements. Much of this equipment is custom designed for specific and sometimes unique applications.
Managing director, Arthur Leith, who was involved in developing the Australian Standard for Industrial and Commercial Steel Shelving (AS2143–1978), says the company puts a lot of emphasis on R&D and is continually working on the development of new products.
“Our main focus is on commercial and office storage, ranging from small shelving and records systems to wide span and pallet racking. It is important that customers recognise the importance of flexibility in the design of storage systems rather than just focus on price,” he says.
“Changing needs should be catered for by providing flexibility in the design solution. For example, customised solutions can be designed to include, say, 80 percent of standard product, which keeps the cost down and creates added value for money, while at the same time providing the system with flexibility.
“This can best be achieved by the client contacting the manufacturer directly rather than the importer of standard sized equipment from a country such as China, where the outcome often does not optimise the use of space and provide flexibility.”
JUST FOR THE OFFICE
A wide range of innovative office equipment is now available to meet the flexibility requirements of modern office environments. This can include the use of mobile caddy units to cater for fluid ‘hot desking’ arrangements, such as in the banking industry where staff are constantly on the go – and where an organisation might have 8000 staff but only 6000 seats.
Zenith Interiors offers a variety of office storage equipment, including the lockable Eris Caddy and Pedestal range that the company says continues to be a popular choice among architects and specifiers for the office storage market.
Designed with pricing, mobility and style in mind, the Eris range is easily manoeuvred to complement changing workstation environments, and is available in many variations with flexible draw arrangements and A4 or foolscap filing. It is a cost-effective mobile solution for under-desk or workstation storage. Another functional product from the Caddy range is the laptop storage trolley for the secure mobile storage of laptops and electronic equipment in schools, universities, factories and government departments.
Many modern workplaces face the same issues. With floorspace getting smaller and personnel numbers on the rise, the importance of functional and efficient workstations has never been more apparent. Offering greater storage space within the same footprint can go a long way to meeting these demands. The new Enyo Vertical Office Pedestal from Zenith is a single-draw cabinet fusing contemporary styling with functional design.
Other products from Zenith include the traffic storage range designed to facilitate the movement of knowledge and people within the workplace.
Zenith’s Peter Townsend says the Traffic Team storage unit brings storage off the wall to where it’s really needed. “This comprehensive range provides solutions to suit diverse spaces and working styles, and offers the chance to create gathering points in the workplace hubs, where ideas can be shared,” he says.
“It should be remembered that a versatile range of storage accessories is also available to add further flexibility to storage solutions, including roll-out file frames and reference shelfs for various size cabinets.”
Reflex Handling, Storage and Lifting Equipment is a major supplier of handling and storage equipment, with many items manufactured by the company in Sydney and Melbourne, and others sourced from both Australian and overseas suppliers, including brands such as Viscount, Safetech, Nally, Warequip, Stockmaster, Dexion and Fallshaw.
The company supplies a large and comprehensive range of storage and handling equipment, from a plastic crate or trolley for an office to a complete pallet racking fitout for a warehouse. Chrome wire shelving and storage systems is a new line released by Reflex Equip that is designed for dry storage areas and sterile hospital environments where cleanliness and freedom from dust is critical.
On the OHS front, other new releases include gas cylinder lockers to safely secure LPG and compressed gas cylinders, and a wall-mounted document storage box for convenient worksite storage of important information, including safety sheets and operating guides.
Recognising a fast growing merchandising trend in the community, Reflex Equip has established a secure online shopping facility backed by in-store locations in Smithfield (near Sydney), Rowville (near Melbourne), and Gosford (on the NSW Central Coast). A free 128-page product finder catalogue can be downloaded from the Reflex Equip website.
Company director, Dale Kirkwood, says online shopping for storage equipment is a growing area with great potential for future expansion. “Customers can use all credit cards on our secure website, and orders are processed for delivery in two to four days depending on how remote the customer’s location is,” he says.
Hartley Henderson is a Victorian freelance journalist specialising in the commercial property sector.