DC solutions off the rack


The e-commerce boom is leading to more DCs being developed across Australia, highlighting the need for quality racking and material handling solutions. Christian Wurzinger, Director of Logistic Systems for Jungheinrich Australia, tells MHD why racking is a core function of the warehouse.

Jungheinrich is one of the world’s largest intralogistics and materials handling equipment providers, leveraging its success and knowledge from working in over 40 countries with more than 18,000 employees, and with partners from more than 100 countries, to provide logistics solutions for both international and local businesses.

As part of the Jungheinrich global network, Jungheinrich Australia offers a comprehensive range of market leading material handling equipment including forklifts, pallet jacks, order pickers, stackers, warehousing racking, automated guided vehicles, systems, short and long term rental solutions, and outstanding service support focused on customer satisfaction. 

Christian Wurzinger, Director of Logistic Systems for Jungheinrich Australia, says storage is a fundamental of warehousing.

“You don’t just work in the docking area where you can get the product in one end and out the other,” he says. “Operations fall apart if you don’t have an effective way of storing product.”

Jungheinrich’s product portfolio of multi-bay, drive-in and narrow aisle racking solutions gives options for differently designed DCs. 

Multi-bay racking for wide aisles is the most commonly used racking system. Pallets are stored on each level between two uprights. Standard heights for multi-bay racking run from eight to twelve metres in high-bay warehouses and up to 45 metres in automated operation environments.

“Multi-bay has the advantage of being set up as selective racking – you have direct access to each individual pallet, without moving a separate second pallet,” he says

Narrow aisle racking systems are a major alternative to multi-bay racking systems. They offer all the performance features of multi-bay racking for wide aisles at heights above ten metres and are freestanding in the warehouse. 

Christian says narrow aisle racking systems present a potential growth area in the Australian market. Their advantage is they use less floor space by utilising the vertical space of the warehouse. 

“If you envision a regular warehouse with wide aisles and then you modified it to a very narrow application, you gain 30 to 40 per cent more storage capacity for the same space,” Christian says.

A narrow aisle set-up allows customers moving into new warehouses to choose a smaller footprint, saving on land costs. “You could half your warehouse,” he adds. “From a design point of view, narrow and very narrow aisle racking can also unlock tremendous growth to increase pallet positions.”

A narrow aisle racking systems will be utilised in Jungheinrich’s upcoming 18,000 pallet racking project with Dutch convenience store chain SPAR when upgrading its Brisbane DC. 

SPAR Australia will use the 13,400 sqm warehouse specific, purpose-built facility to bring all parts of the business under one roof. 

Jungheinrich’s market leading ETX VNA forklift.

“Their chiller and freezer temperature-controlled warehouses were outsourced, and were managed by a 3PL company in Brisbane,” Christian says. “Now, the big efficiency gain is bringing all their core areas into one facility.”

Jungheinrich’s racking solutions can be applied under any temperature, which is perfect for the minus-32° freezer and the ambient temperature space. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all in the racking game, says Christian, which is why Jungheinrich worked closely with SPAR and the assigned construction company to allow for racks at different heights to store different groups of products. 

Pre-existing obstacles, like the location of sprinklers and building ducts, are design factors that can negatively impact efficiency. So Jungheinrich’s customisation capacity is essential. “We customise the entire system together with the customer’s operations team in order to maximise their storage capacity,” Christian says. “This ensures that the racking is done as per the customer’s exact requirements.”

Christian expects the e-commerce trend to continue in the Australian market, regardless of the global pandemic, which will in turn necessitate greater flexibility as well as economy of size for warehouses and DCs. As demand for DC space continues to grow in Australia, automation is a way for companies to reduce their costs and improve efficiency and safety.

“In the coming years, the automated market will grow tremendously, especially towards Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and racking systems,” he says.

“AGVs can bring one pallet and drop it into racking. AGVs and narrow aisle trucks will gain more traction with customers in the future because of cost savings and less warehouse space necessary for narrow aisle trucks to operate in. Well-designed automation and racking systems will become the centrepiece of future DCs.”

For more information on Jungheinrich Australia’s solutions go to www.jungheinrich.com.au 

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