With more than $1.5 billion in annual sales and distribution facilities throughout the United States, Wirtz Beverage is the leading national distributor of the world’s top luxury and premium wine spirits and beer brands. So, when the company’s Wisconsin division decided to move to a new distribution facility in Hartland, Wisc., it needed to implement a conveyor system with structural support—which could withstand extremely heavy loads—due to its high levels of customer demand.
Aside from customer demand, Wirtz encountered some other challenges. First, in addition to multi-level shelving and racking, the company needed a more complex conveyor system (which previously consisted of three conveyor lines spread across the entire plant floor). To create this system, Wirtz would have to maximize its floor space while employing multiple pick lines.
To accommodate its conveyor system, it would need to be suspended overhead with the support of mezzanines, thus freeing up valuable floor space. So, a survey of the space was conducted, revealing the ceiling joists could not support the weight of the conveyor, heavy boxes and seasonal snow loads.
With these findings in mind, an alternate solution involved a pick mezzanine with multiple levels and elevations, and it was custom designed to support the escalated conveyors and fit around its winding configuration. Columns were then strategically placed to promote traffic flow and maximize support. The multi-level mezzanine system provided superior strength and stability to support and suspend the conveyor system overhead, which enabled more efficient product distribution within the plant—from the picking line to label scanning and onto the delivery truck.
As a total package, the conveyors, supported by the mezzanines, helped drive efficiencies during the picking process and streamline the shipment of orders, while also maximizing floor space and racking areas for increased storage and inventory organization. For Wirtz, these efficiencies have reduced its overall cost of operations considerably, while also allowing easy adaptability for future expansion.