Packaging Corner: Metal containers deliver durable automated storage

This alternative material is making inroads into smaller part storage areas where weight becomes a factor.
image

Metal containers are making inroads into smaller part storage areas where weight becomes a factor. This includes the construction of trays or pans used to organize parts in mini-load automated storage and retrieval systems.

By Sara Pearson Specter, Editor at Large
October 01, 2012 - MMH Editorial

Metal containers have long shown their mettle in bulk storage and processing applications, providing a tough, durable receptacle for heavy, dense parts and hot forgings. But metal is also making inroads into smaller part storage areas where weight becomes a factor. This includes the construction of trays or pans used to organize parts in mini-load automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), says Tom Troiano, concept engineering manager at Tiffin Metal Products.

“The metal pans can hold capacities up to 750 pounds without significant deflection of the bottom of the tray,” he says. “If the tray deflects more than a quarter of an inch, it could get jammed in the automated system and cause the entire AS/RS to go down. That strength provides a significant advantage over plastic totes.”

Pans are commonly made of galvannealed 16- or 18-gauge steel to accommodate the deflection limits required by the application. With footprints typically measuring 24 x 48 inches, the pans can be anywhere from 4.5 to 18 inches high, depending on the size of the product stored inside, says Troiano.

Metal pans are also ideal for use in frozen food mini-load AS/RS applications because the metal maintains its strength and durability properties at cold temperatures, adds Ron Myers, Tiffin’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Additionally, the metal pans can be engineered to be sub-dividable with up to 32 or more individual storage areas in a single tray for enhanced storage and organization.”

Although metal containers are traditionally more expensive than plastic, increases in the cost of resin and advances in automated spot-welding have made them much more competitive, explains Troiano. “With a multiple-head spot welding machine that is loaded and unloaded robotically, the pans can be created much more cost-effectively than in the past.”

Further, says Myers, with more companies condensing warehouse operations and expanding their use of automated storage, the longer lifespan of a metal pan makes it more attractive from a return on investment perspective. “Metal stands up to the constant insertion and extraction into and out of an AS/RS, making it more durable in the long run than plastic.”

Read more Packaging Corner columns.



About the Author

image
Sara Pearson Specter
Editor at Large

Sara Pearson Specter has written articles and supplements for Modern Materials Handling and Logistics Management as an Editor at Large since 2001. Based in Cincinnati, Specter has worked in the fields of journalism, graphic design, advertising, marketing, and public relations for 15 years, with a special emphasis on helping business-to-business industrial and manufacturing companies. Specter graduated from Centre College in Danville, Ky., with a bachelor’s degree in French and history.


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

Movie intended to engage manufacturing employers and workers, legislators, educational facilities, reporters and even consumers.

New Women in Manufacturing Group’s survey results released ahead of Manufacturing Day.

New version of pallet and unit load design software now includes block pallet design and analysis

Even though some of its key metrics dropped sequentially from August to September, the outlook for manufacturing over all remains strong, according to the most recent edition of the Manufacturing Report on Business issued today by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

Former senior vice president, CIO for CHEP brings 30 years of experience in global supply chains and information technology.

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA