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Rubbermaid Products’ Commercial retrofitted AS/RS

By updating an aging manual storage system with automated cranes, Rubbermaid Commercial Products reduced costs and improved safety.
By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
December 15, 2010

Reduce, reuse and recycle. Those are the three R’s of the sustainability movement.

Going green may not have been one of the reasons Rubbermaid Commercial Products chose to retrofit a manually operated, high-bay warehouse with automated storage and retrieval cranes (Dematic, formerly HK Systems) last year at its 750,000-square-foot manufacturing plant and distribution center in Winchester, Va., but the three R’s are certainly in play.

The company was able to reuse and recycle the existing rack infrastructure in a 20-year-old, high-density storage area containing 56,500 pallet positions in 200,000 square feet. Meanwhile, by replacing 10 aging manually driven stracker cranes with 28 automated cranes, Rubbermaid reduced the amount of labor associated with operating that section of its operations. As a side benefit, automating the storage area has also created a much safer work environment and provided room to grow in the future.

Launched in November 2008, the project unfolded in four distinct steps over an 11-month period

  • choosing a solution and vendor,

  • designing the system and processes,

  • preparing for the installation, and

  • finalizing the installation.

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

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