Achieving compact storage and optimum floor space utilisation but with fast on-demand access, low staff levels and safe operation to optimise storage and operational costs. This philosophy forms the basis of continuous research and development at BITO-Lagertechnik, headquartered at Meisenheim, Germany, to provide customers with value added products and services, the most recent example being its new mobile racking system, called PROmobile, with its innovative control and safety technology. This is available in the UK from Nuneaton-based subsidiary BITO Storage Systems Ltd.
Mobile shelving and racking provides an ideal solution where manufacturing and logistics operations have to maximise the use of new or existing space or re-employ this space for another purpose. Whether it's for making better use of existing storage space or for reducing floor space occupation as a matter of principle mobile pallet racking or mobile cantilever racking can improve storage capacity by up to 200% on the same footprint or reduce floor space occupation by 50%.
But this can only be achieved if the storage solution best suited to the application is combined with modern controls, safety technology and means of communication. All the more so as growth requirements bring additional challenges such as low cost storage in multi-shift operations, instant product availability and capacity growth without major investment. For this reason the R&D department at BITO's headquarters in Meisenheim focussed on the control and safety technology of the company's mobile shelving and racking. This was previously based on a standard programmable logic controller (PLC), which was then adjusted to meet specific market requirements and updated to take account of the latest technology.
BITO's PROmobile racking control unit has numerous benefits for the customer. The reasonably priced PLC offers flexible programming to meet individual customer demands and includes an integrated distance / time monitoring module. This allows immediate changes in direction and instant calculation of the optimum travel route. Fault clearance is made easier thanks to display guidance, which gives easy-to-follow steps on the display located on the racking so that disruptions to operations can be cleared by anyone. The display guidance also helps to avoid input data errors and operator mistakes. The entire range of safety tasks is available and every step is monitored using plausibility checks that take account of all safety aspects.
The PROmobile control unit is equipped with frequency converters instead of the commonly used circuit breakers for motor activation and deactivation. A frequency converter allows the user to gradually increase or reduce power supply, thus ensuring a smoother and more precise carriage movement independently of the load capacity utilisation of each carriage. Carriage start-up and brake operations can be adjusted anytime to protect unstable loads from damage.
This modern shelving and racking operation system will achieve considerable time saving, which in turn reduces order throughput times. Furthermore, the PROmobile control unit offers other functionality such as data collection, remote maintenance, link-up with a warehouse management system as well as an automatic aisle opening and closing functionality, which compares the number of fork lift trucks entering and leaving an aisle.