Storage systems made steely tough

LEADING supplier of logistics automation, warehousing, materials handling and automatic storage systems, Dematic took out the Australian Steel Innovation award at the 2012 Endeavour Awards.

Winning for its precision steel rack solutions range used in its Multishuttle and Mini Load automated storage systems, the company is proving that locally made steel is indeed globally tough.

Accepting the Award in Sydney, Simon Barrow, Dematic's COO for Australia and NZ, said Australian made-steel is the backbone of the company's unique racking product used to make its multi shuttle and mini load system across the globe.

Barrow said the recognition by Manufacturers' Monthly and sponsor BlueScope Steel was "a fantastic honour" of the company's achievements and its role in supporting local industry.

"We fit out warehouses for Woolworths, Coke Startrack, we integrate and install the conveyers, the rack and the IT into a materials handling system, that's what we're all about," Barrow said.

"What the guys have done is create a unique racking product which is used for our Multishuttle and Mini Load systems throughout the world. Not only did they create a great product for the Australian marketplace, it is being exported to the US and to Europe."

According to Barrow, the racking product is a milestone in innovation for the company. "It's a tremendous product and a tremendous innovation. Innovation has been part of our company's DNA for many, many years.

"The biggest benefit is being a materials handling automation company where every dollar and cent in the supply chain is critical to produce something of high tolerance enables us to create a very highly mechanised automated solution which takes costs out of the supply chain."

Barrow said Dematic system configurations are built around process and supply chain improvements and can be manually operated, mechanised or automated. 

Achieved through ownership and control of design services, real time WMCS software, material flow technologies and engineering, project management and customer services, Barrow says its single source, vertically integrated capability reduces time, cost and risk.

Steel components in Dematic storage products are manufactured from high tensile grades of steel supplied by BlueScope Steel.

The high precision steel racking components within Dematic Multishuttle and Mini Load solutions are used extensively across a wide and varied range of applications which require automated materials and storage handling.

Key features of the steel storage components are: their modularity, patented components, being globally standardised and the design was optimised with regard to steel content and structural efficiency.

The components can be used within standalone automatic crane storage retrieval systems and in-rack shuttle systems and have been designed to be used in storage systems destined for both non-seismic and seismic areas. 

These innovations were designed by the company's Structural Engineering Design Team based in the Dematic's Asia Pacific head office in Belrose, NSW. 

The team, led by Dr Murray Clarke, is committed to achieving continuous innovation and improvement in steel rack performance.

The precision steel rack solutions were driven by benchmarking against competitors which highlighted the need to achieve competitively priced steel racking solutions designed with precision components capable of meeting the exacting tolerances required in automated storage and retrieval systems. 

Dr Clarke said one recent Australian customer order was expanded by 35% from the original project scope as a result of the capabilities of the storage rack aspects of the solution.

"We now export thousands of tonnes of Australian manufactured steel product per annum, one order to the US comprising 600t of steel product alone, with larger projects typically comprising 1000t of manufactured steel product," he said.

The Endeavour judges said Dematic's Multishuttle and Mini Load steel racking systems showed delivery of value to customers and a strong acceptance within the marketplace. 

With a turnover of $160m and 385 employees in Australia and NZ, Dematic's Australian-based structural engineering team has a worldwide reputation throughout the Dematic global group for excellence in storage system innovation and design. 

"We've got a very dedicated bunch of people and this is just rewards for what they've done, a really tremendous effort," Barrow said.

"I think teamwork gave us the edge over the competition."

"It's great to be an Australian manufacturer, and despite all the challenges thrown at us, that we can still succeed says a lot," Barrow said.

Image: Dematic's Simon Barrow (right) accepting the award from Steve Gregson, director of manufacturing markets, Bluescope Steel.