Storage: Dividers multiply storage capacity

A major military aircraft manufacturer retrofits its vertical lift units with a parts divider and containment system, saving money, floor space and retrieval time.
By Lorie King Rogers, Associate Editor
January 01, 2012 - MMH Editorial

Imagine how many parts go into the manufacturing of an aircraft, especially a military one. Now imagine handling those parts and accessing them in an efficient manner. That was a mission-critical situation for one military aircraft manufacturer.

Because the number of SKUs kept on hand had grown by 40%, meaning there are now more than 30,000 different part numbers at the ready in the facility, the manufacturer needed a way to organize and store the aircraft components that increased inventory and accuracy.

To improve its process, the manufacturer chose a divider system (Flexcon Container, to retrofit 19 vertical lift modules and 1,767 trays. The divider system can contain almost every aircraft part (smaller than an 18-inch cube) that is used to build or service one of the planes.

The system consists of more than 60 different divider configurations and stores more parts because the higher wall of the divider allows parts to rest on top of each other, increasing the vertical storage density. 

Made of treated, tempered hardboard, the components of the containment system are laser cut then the edges are cauterized to prevent particulation.

Finally, the hardboard material is painted with an eight-layer process for a kitchen cabinet grade finish. In this case, 19 of the configurations were customized to meet the aircraft manufacturer’s part handling specs, giving them flexibility now and for the future.

One spokesperson for the manufacturer says retrofitting the vertical lift units with this divider system changed the whole functionally. “Organizing and containing that many SKUs in this way has enabled the user to access parts quickly and effectively and has resulted in less loss,” he says.

In addition, the hardboard is half the weight and cost of metal and assembles in a quarter of the time.  The company saved $200,000 by purchasing this system and saved 19% of the facility’s available space.

About the Author

Lorie King Rogers
Associate Editor

Lorie King Rogers, associate editor, joined Modern in 2009 after working as a freelance writer for the Casebook issue and show daily at tradeshows. A graduate of Emerson College, she has also worked as an editor on Stock Car Racing Magazine.

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