Advanced Handling Systems, Inc. (AHS), a material-handling-systems integrator based in Cincinnati, Ohio, has built successful, long-lasting partnerships with several companies. One of its most prominent retail-clothing customers was preparing to open a new 330,000 sq. ft. distribution center in Phoenix, Arizona, to handle its rapidly expanding web-based business.
At its distribution centers, the retailer routinely handled clothing packed in polyethylene bags. Because poly bags lack flat bottoms, they could not be effectively conveyed along the conventional rollers that the retailer was utilizing. Difficulties arose at merges as the bags slipped underneath the fixed deflector, jamming the system. To minimize this issue, poly bags were collected into totes that were then conveyed to the end of the line; there, an individual operator manually sorted the bagged products. However, at its new distribution center, the retailer sought to increase efficiencies by merging poly bags without jams or manual sortation and without placing bags in totes.
The retailer partnered with AHS to streamline operations at the Phoenix facility using Intralox’s Activated Roller Belt™ (ARB™) technology. AHS suggested the ARB Merge S7000 to its client. The rollers embedded in the ARB Merge’s belt surface ensure accurate, gentle, and reliable merging for a wide range of product types and sizes. With the ARB Merge S7000, non-rigid packages—such as poly bags, pouches, plastic shells, and items wrapped in shrink film—can be handled without the use of pads, trays, or totes. The retailer chose the Intralox poly-bag conveyance solution over several other options.
Since AHS installed the ARB Merge in the Phoenix warehouse in early 2011, the retailer’s poly bag– related issues have become a thing of the past. Poly bags no longer jam at the merge, and the need for manual sortation has been eliminated. Since the installation, AHS has been contracted to do similar projects at the retailer’s Ohio and Canada warehouses. “The success of the Intralox solution prompted the customer to green light new
installations,” said Jeff Miller, Executive Vice President for AHS, Inc.