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

Association for Talent Development recognizes proven practices that have delivered measurable business results.

Straying from its typical seasonal trajectory, United States-bound waterborne shipments dipped from March to April, according to data recently issued by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.

Agidens is the new company name of the former Egemin divisions that will continue together after the sale of the Handling Automation division to the KION Group in May.

A well-designed driver wellness program could make the job more attractive and help alleviate driver turnover.

The quest to boost worker productivity and improve customer fulfillment is driving materials handling professionals to increase strategic investments in advanced warehouse mobility solutions. Just where and why are these investments being made?