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Furniture and its elements are not easy to store and transport. Its producers and distributors know that. The optimization of the “furniture logistics” may have a significant influence on the company’s performance. Therefore, with new solutions being invented, we can observe a real influx of investments in mechanization and automation.

The newly launched warehouse of finished goods, IKEA Industry in Lubawa, with the area of 26 thousand square metres, not only fulfils the needs of the company’s own production, but also of the external IKEA’s suppliers. The new warehouse has 29 thousand pallet spaces arranged in a block system.

We produce about 7.5 million items a year for IKEA shops all over the world. 97 percent of our furniture gets abroad. It means a high demand for storage space, and that is why the decision has been taken to build a big logistics centre,” said Zbigniew Nikelewski, the Director of IKEA Industry in Lubawa.

The warehouse uses the device for paper pallet exchange and a mobile wrapper

The mobile wrapper can be easily moved from one place to another, which should decrease costs and improve work efficiency. The loading docks are equipped with automated vehicle blockage systems. The innovativeness of the warehouse is also reflected in its structure. The solutions applied reduce losses of heat in the winter and maintain the appropriate temperature inside, which is very important for the furniture stored.

To avoid heating the empty space under the roof, the company installed destratificators which blow the warm air out of the upper part of the warehouse. The whole area has also been divided into automatically controlled heating zones. The energy savings are ensured by the lighting system using LEDs and electricity consumption monitoring.

While the IKEA warehouse is a new facility, the management of Greenteam in the cooperation with Nypan (producer of kitchen worktops) have taken a different approach and decided to completely modernize the existing warehouse. Before the modernization, the company implemented a mobile rack system for the storage of 4.1 m long worktops. It used manually operated vehicles. The decision was taken to change it. The new solution is based on the cantilever rack system. It consists of seven rows and enables the company to store over 140 types of worktops on 10 levels.

The system is equipped with modern drive and control technology

It means that the products stored can be reached much faster with the use of the vehicles remotely controlled from a forklift. Each of the rows of racks is 6.6 m high and 3.3 m long and consists of four uprights with nine cantilever beams, flexibly placed on them. The lowest level of storage is placed on the legs of the upright. The external rows are one-sided and mounted to the floor. The other rows are mounted to the vehicles running on the rails placed on the floor. The vehicles with the racks mounted on them stand next to each other.

To get the products from a specific rack, the vehicles would move sideways to give the access to the required path. The management from the forklift truck is conducted with a remote control. Manual operation is also available as an alternative. The user says that this kind of system allows the company to double its storage capacity compared to traditional “fixed” racks.

To increase the storage capacity even more, the rack with over metre-long vertical elements has been raised and equipped with additional cantilever beams.

Photo: IKEA

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