An automotive supplier of fabricated metal parts needed to move components from its stamping operations to welding cells for further processing. They required heavy-duty, high capacity flowracks to flow in-process parts within the welding cells. Since the processes periodically change the flowracks needed to be reusable and possess a high degree of flexibility. Creform was selected to provide the flowracks.
A main requirement of the customer was that the flowracks had to bear heavy weights so the unique Creform 42mm pipe and joint system was used to construct the racks giving them each a 1,500 lb weight limit without using any excessive bracing. The stamped parts were placed in plastic returnable totes with “waffled” bottoms, which do not have smooth consistent surfaces so they would not perform properly on traditional narrow skatewheel conveyors. To solve this problem Creform installed its new Placon Wide Roller conveyors that bridge across the openings on the bottom of the totes picking up the multiple webs providing smooth gravity flow. Placon conveyors are ideally suited for conveying odd shaped and sized parts without packaging.
The low-friction Placon conveyors allow shallow flow lane angles, which are suitable for both plastic totes and cardboard boxes. Another advantage of the Placon conveyors is that the mounts fit over metal joints as well as the 42mm pipe, allowing the conveyors to be positioned directly against the rack’s edge. Aluminum, heavy-duty extruded lane dividers are held by mounts secured to the conveyor rails, guiding even the heaviest totes and boxes securely and consistently down each lane. Both of these features result in having no wasted or unused space on the flow lanes.
The final result is each of the manufacturers weld cells has its own supply of parts readily at hand and continuously replenished to maintain production. Each 1,500 lb capacity flowrack is 36″ W x 50″ D x 60″ H with two supply levels plus an empty return lane at the bottom with flow lanes angled for repeatable container flow and guaranteeing FIFO presentation. The racks also feature heavy-duty leveling feet. Each of the flowrack levels are easily repositioned or the complete rack can be customized with only a few simple tools. Creform 42mm pipe is offered in seven different colors so structures can be easily identified by department or use. 42mm pipe and joints are also available ESD for static sensitive applications. Carts can also be fitted with casters for mobility and label holders for identification of contents.
The Creform System is used to create an array of material handling and efficiency enhancing devices, including push, special purpose and trailer carts, flow racks, roller conveyors, workstations, and AGV/AGCs. The Creform System is a proven component in continuous improvement and Lean Manufacturing programs, and the company partners with customers in developing and implementing these programs.