Category Archives: Projects

Logistex secures refurbishment and modernisation order from Shop Direct

Shop Direct, which includes well-known household brands such as Littlewoods, Very and Isme has commissioned Logistex Ltd. to complete a refurbishment and modernisation project on their automated warehouse cranes.

Their distribution centre in Shaw, Oldham has 19 mini load cranes originally manufactured by Cleco, the historical company name of Logistex.

Over the next four months Logistex Engineers will visit the site and complete phase one of the refurbishment and modernisation of the 19 cranes.

The mini load cranes are part of Shop Direct’s Bulk Carton Store (BCS) that stores cartons containing merchandise for their online retail business.

Logistex have a strong history in refurbishments and modernisations and have completed similar projects for other businesses such as United Biscuits and the MOD.

At Logistex we understand that material handling equipment is only paying for itself when it’s running. When it stops unexpectedly it very quickly starts to cost your business dearly. Equipment that has been running for some time, wears and begins to encounter an increasing risk from obsolescence.

Equipment obsolescence is a major concern today. Technology moves forward at pace and suddenly finding that equipment on your system is no longer available can result in long downtime with extensive cost impact to your business.

Undertaking a refurbishment and modernisation is also an opportunity to improve. We seek to improve equipment performance as a part of any refurbishment or modernisation. This can often help to justify the investment as the performance improvements deliver tangible benefits other than just risk avoidance.

Logistex have extensive refurbishment and modernisation experience and can undertake part or full refurbishments to a wide range of systems and equipment whether it is Logistex equipment or not. We project manage and plan the works around your operation to minimise disruption to your business.

We carry out refurbishment and modernisations to a wide range of MHE including:

• Manual cranes

• Automated cranes

• Mini load crane systems

• Sortation systems

• Conveying systems

• Picking systems

• Very Narrow Aisle (VNA)

• Fork Lift Trucks

Long term customer United Biscuits use Logistex to add more value to their operation

United Biscuits, the umbrella brand for household names such as McVitie’s and KP have been using Logistex to implement and maintain automation at their Midland Distribution Centre in Ashby-de-la-Zouch for over 20 years.

To this day they continue working with Logistex to continue to improve and develop operations ensure automation gives them on-going value.


The History

The United Biscuits MDC was built in 1992, when Logistex was chosen to provide the initial stage of 11 automated pallet cranes with our unique universal platen to handle GKN pallets on standard APR racking without top hats.

The first highbay at United Biscuits, holding 21,780 pallets, represented Logistex’s first fully integrated highbay. At this time the site was handling 1.3 million pallets per year.

In 1995 Logistex converted a second highbay from manual VNA trucks to automated. Initially three cranes were installed with four more being added in 1999 and a final four in 2001 to form an eleven crane highbay with a 14,036 location capacity giving the site an automated storage capacity of 39,204 pallet locations. The site was then handling 3 million pallets per year, a 130% increase.

Walkthrough2   Walkthrough1

As well as the automated highbays, the site also has traditional VNA areas and mezzanine floors with various packing and display material preparation activities.

Site Overview

  • 24/7 Operation
  • Residential team of five Logistex Engineers and five Logistex Assistant Engineers
  • 22 fully automated 18m high automated pallet machines
  • 1,800m conveyors with 9 lifts and 11 turntables

Logistex and United Biscuits have worked together as a team from the initial project in 1992 and continue to do so.

The most recent project to be taken on by Logistex is Project Topio which will automate the pallet in and out feed to their manual VNA system.

Currently there are two levels, a ground floor and a mezzanine level with a transfer car on each. Fork lift truck drivers carry pallets from the conveyor and place it on the pick and deposit points on the end of the aisles.

Logistex will be installing a conveyor system to carry the pallets and therefore remove the fork lift trucks from the operation.

The project has a demonstrably excellent return on investment.

This is an additional project awarded to Logistex, the most recent project previously being Darwin, that project was delivered on time, to budget and to tight deadlines over the Christmas period and has been hailed as a great success.

Topio is the latest of successful projects- that’s why they keep coming back!


Logistex completes technology upgrade for B&Q’s giant warehouse

Logistex has recently carried out an extensive £0.5m programme to upgrade scanning and picking technologies in B&Q’s 880,000 ft² NDC in Worksop. The vehicle mounted terminals and wearable scanners originally supplied to improve order preparation were nearing the end of their operational lives and have been replaced by up-to-date equipment and software to help B&Q handle steadily increasing demand. Carried out over several months, the programme was planned to introduce the new systems and equipment smoothly and without disrupting daily deliveries and shipments.

With a storage and materials handling system originally installed and maintained by Logistex since its opening in 2006, the centre supplies a diverse range of gardening and DIY products to 330 B&Q stores across the country. The new facility was designed to meet growing demand, with the challenge of providing flexible and adaptable storage and handling for some 17,000 lines ranging from screws and nails to paints and power saws. Goods arrive from around the globe, with orders often needing to be split from shipment packaging to place in suitable storage locations then picked for onward shipment.

From the beginning Worksop operated a sophisticated RF picking system to manage the picking system for up to 1.5m cases each week. The system’s reliability is crucial to ensure that the centre operates efficiently so that its stores are fully stocked and able to meet customers’ requirements.

Both the existing Motorola wearable scanners and vehicle mounted terminals have been in operation since the facility opened and were nearing the end of their useful operational life. The 98 new wearable scanners for use in the low bay pick zone are equipped with colour touch displays, keyboards and Bluetooth finger scanners.

Vehicle mounted picking terminals are equipped with a 10.5” colour touch screen, integrated keyboard and associated hardware.

Picking operations are based on item size and frequency of picking between pick from pallet and pick from tote. Pick from pallet products are held in the high bay store with a local reserve stock as well as larger, individual pallet based products.

The replacement models recommended by Logistex are the natural successors of the previous designs, helping to smooth the roll-out of new technology, while providing improved performance and reliability. In addition the WMS and other software systems operated by DHL on behalf of B&Q in the warehouse needed to be updated to integrate the new equipment.

Throughout the project, Logistex worked closely with Zetes who supplied the original RF equipment, advice and support, continuing the long-term strategic relationship both companies enjoy with B&Q. Zetes automatic identification solutions link the physical and digital worlds and provide customers with improved visibility on the movement of goods and people. In turn this means more informed decision making, streamlined processes and automated, mobile workflows across a collaborative supply chain.

To optimise worker productivity at B&Q, Zetes and Logistex proposed a combination of wearable devices, picking trolleys equipped with mounted terminals and cordless Bluetooth scanners.

In addition to providing hardware, Zetes is providing full hardware support, through a dedicated helpdesk and repair commissioning with a Service Delivery Manager whose remit is to ensure B&Q is getting the maximum level of utilisation from its investment in mobile hardware.

Everything about the site is on a grand scale as befits one of the UK’s largest distribution centres. The 22m high, high bay store serviced by 15 Logistex VNA cranes provides over 95,000 pallet locations in double-deep racking. The low bay zone comprises 5,773 pick faces and holds a further 27,346 bulk storage locations. Six Logistex miniload cranes operate from 9,035 pick faces and 51,000 tote storage locations, served by 45 pick trolleys with RF technology. The system can take in 360 pallets per hour, with 1,300m of conveyor feeding goods into store. Order collection Commissioners with 1,284 locations can handle 475 totes in and out each hour.

With a holistic balance of manual and automated technologies, efficient pick by light trolley picking and automatic triggering of picking replenishment, Logistex’s original design concept has proved successful in enabling B&Q to grow its business during turbulent times and in a fiercely competitive field.

Logistex maintains a team of 27 staff on-site, responsible for the maintenance and service of around 167 different pieces of materials handling equipment on site.

Andy Garrett, Business Solutions Manager (UK) for B&Q commented: “The Worksop site recently went through a major upgrade to all their RF devices. Logistex project managed the changes during live operation of over 500 users without any adverse effect to service. The site now reports both an increase in reliability and a more user-friendly experience which has in turn helped boost morale amongst the team. A project that was also delivered on-time and to budget – an excellent result”.

Project ‘Plant’ goes live

The latest in a series of projects for B&Q by Logistex went live on Wednesday 7th December, Project ‘Plant’.

This consists of two software deliveries; Paint and Planning. The first allowing the Worksop site to receive, pick and despatch paint which has not previously been possible and the second introduces major enhancements to planning and the despatch of loads.

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Scandianvian transportation system order

Logistex has been awarded the contract for supplying a new pallet conveyor system and associated control system for a Scandinavian warehouse facility.

The system will be going into an existing building connecting the receiving, storage, picking and despatch elements of the sites operation. As part of the solution the conveyor system will interface with VNA pallet trucks and provide goods to man pick workstations for order fulfilment.