Automated storage takes to the skies
Vertical lift modules save space and improve efficiency at airline maintenance facility.
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At the ExpressJet Airlines maintenance facility at Newark Liberty International Airport, a vertical lift module (VLM) has reduced the amount of space required by traditional shelving and has helped the operation more efficiently handle slow- and medium-moving inventory items.
The facility stores a range of parts for aircraft service and maintenance, from small fasteners to large air valves. About 3,000 parts that workers don’t retrieve on a regular basis are now stored in the VLMs, while fast-moving items have stayed on the remaining shelving.
The VLM the company installed is an enclosed high-density storage and retrieval system that consists of two columns of trays in the front and in the back.
A robotic extractor delivers trays to an ergonomically positioned work counter according to touch-screen inputs. VLMs take advantage of unused overhead space to reduce the amount of floor space required by traditional shelving by up to 85%. Integrated software also monitors inventory and enables inventory optimization.
When storing items, the VLM’s control automatically directs every tray to the least amount of vertical space necessary for storage.
The enclosed design of the vertical lift modules also helps maintain the cleanliness of the parts more effectively than using the shelving, where slow moving parts often collected dust. The system’s modular design allows it to be disassembled and reassembled and made shorter or taller. This makes moves or changes less costly as well as more efficient.
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About the AuthorJosh Bond, Contributing Editor Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.
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