Making use of your mezzanine floor to maximise your storage within your existing warehouse footprint is not a new concept. However, as more and more businesses move towards an online selling and fulfilment model a mezzanine can be vital to setting up automated storage and picking systems. Warehousing and logistics is becoming more and more automated.
But how do you get the most from your mezzanine floor?
Mezzanine Floor Automation
Mezzanine’s are a great solution if you are looking to increase your storage space, but it also gives you loads more room to add some automation into your picking or packing processes.
To take full advantage of your mezzanine you need a solution for getting your product up to and down from the upper floor. This solution needs to be efficient, ideally low footprint and able to cope with your full range of product.
A typical solution may be to add a forklift-gate to the front edge of the floor, allowing for the loading and unloading of product by a forklift truck. This is not always a viable or efficient solution and can come with its own problems, including increased forklift traffic, potential Health and Safety issues concerning forklifts working around operators, forklift purchase or lease costs, maintenance etc.
So what are your options?
One of the simplest and most cost effective methods for transporting product between floors is the incline belt conveyor.
Designed properly it can be used to run in either direction so is easily utilised to take product up to a mezzanine and back down again when needed.
Incline belt conveyors are a cost effective, easy to use and low maintenance solution for transporting product between floors.
One of the only real drawbacks to using the belt conveyor is the footprint it will take up in your warehouse compared to other options. Your incline belt conveyor will have a limit on the angle in which in can carry product, dependant on the size, shape and weight of your product. The longer the incline, the more floor space it will need.
If you are tight for space you may need to look for an alternative.
An alternative to the incline/decline belt conveyor is an automated conveyor lift.
An automated conveyor lift can drastically reduce the footprint required in your warehouse or factory while still offering high throughputs for your product. With recirculating lifts, as shown in the image, you can get up to 2000 products per hour through the lift (dependant on product size, weight etc.)
There are additional safety concerns with lifts and you will likely need to add some fencing/guarding and control measures to ensure it is safe for your operators (4Automation can fully integrate lifts with fencing and control panels).
When utilised with a ZLP roller system an automated lift can be a very low footprint and cost effective solution to get product up to and down from a mezzanine floor.
Spiral conveyors provide a continuous throughput of product up to heights of 20m while also offering a small footprint, saving valuable floor space.
Spirals can be manufactured as reversible so product can be taken up to and down from your mezzanine they can also be manufactured with multiple entry and exit points should you have a multi height mezzanine.
One of the major benefits of a spiral conveyor over a lift is the high throughputs you get through a spiral. With most spiral conveyors capable of running up to 60m/min as standard you can move a lot of product, making spiral conveyors ideal for fast moving and high throughput environments.
Mezzanine Pick Floors
By maximising storage space on a mezzanine and introducing automation you can create a highly efficient pick and pack floor for your products, utilising conveyors to transport picked product down to your dispatch area.
Automated warehouse picking is the implementation of fully or semi-automated equipment alongside the work of human pickers. The most efficient automation tools work alongside your operators and can be easily integrated into current work flows and processes.
Adding automation to your picking process can reduce operator walking time and drastically shorten pick routes, integrate with your WMS and ultimately lead to accurate and efficient order picking.
4Automation can assist with any of the automation mentioned above, supplied as a turnkey solution with electrical control and installation. Get in touch today to discuss your next project.