Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


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.


Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Parent company's Logistics & Automation Division began servicing North American customers in 1962, 12 years before Murata machinery was established.

Pack Expo and Pharma Expo to draw 2,400 exhibitors in more than 1.2 million net square feet of exhibit space.

Cloud-based manufacturing execution systems grant visibility into centralized or global manufacturing environments.

In-plant trailers represent a tried and true method of moving materials through plants safely and efficiently. While trailers look alike at first glance, there are some significant differences that greatly affect performance and cost. The wise purchaser will study the differences and select the system that makes the best sense for the specific application. This complimentary white paper addresses the most important design factors to consider when specifying in-plant trailers.

Very often companies debate needing a new WMS or just muddling through while constantly adding to the List. The List is that set of notes that operations people wish their WMS could do. Every operation has their unique items, things their business requires that their WMS system doesn't do, or does poorly. This white paper reviews how to extend a WMS to allow the List to become a thing of the past.