Vertical storage technology frees up production floor space

By using vertical storage technology, M&M International improves its inventory accuracy and reduces its parts shortages.

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M&M International is a manufacturer of safety and high-pressure valves that are used in the exploration, completion and production of oil and natural gas wells. Since its founding in 1942, the company has prospered due to its many unique and innovative designs. As a result of steady growth, its manufacturing site was expanded by 52,000-square-feet in 2012. In addition, a new materials warehouse was built to increase its small parts inventory capacity.

M&M relies on vertical storage technology for its inventory of valve components, using two heavy duty vertical lift modules (VLM) and one vertical carousel.

To use the vertical storage technology—and free up more floor space for the company’s production area—an order for specific items will be generated whenever the area needs valve assemblies. A bar code scanner, located at a computer terminal adjacent to the lift systems, records the order and the company’s software tracks data about the stored components, including quantity and storage locations.

Once the container or shelf number is entered, the requested item is transported to the access point, where retrieval is confirmed on a system terminal. M&M’s inventory accuracy has improved, while its parts shortages and overstock has declined, as a result of the technology.

With regards to storage, M&M’s heavy stainless steel valve components are kept in two VLM systems, whereas seals, gaskets and ball bearings are stored in the carousel system. Valves are preassembled at the access and retrieval areas before being sent to the production area.

Multifunction containers inside the VLM can be configured according to different storage requirements. This flexibility ensures compact and well-balanced vertical storage of heavy loads—from floor to ceiling—within an extremely small footprint. In addition, the UV-sensitive rubber seals stored in the carousel are shielded from light, remaining elastic. Parallel picking with the VLM speeds up the entire process of delivering preassembled valves to the production area.

The systems are also known for their benefits in terms of ergonomics, as items are delivered to the proper height. M&M employees do not need to search through rows of shelves, climb or stoop to access parts, or carry heavy or bulky items up and down ladders. Carousel containers can also be pulled out of the access point to rest on collapsible support rails, and a detachable transport cart can carry a fully loaded container.

Hänel Storage Systems

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