Traditionally, when it came to unloading boxes from shipping containers without any pallets, there was only one way to do it and that was by hand.
Leading Australian conveyor manufacturer, Adept Conveyor Technologies, has recently developed and launched its new battery powered mobile extendable conveyor system into Australia with dramatic results, setting a new benchmark in container unloading efficiencies.
Whether the reasons are to save pallet costs and space in order to increase the container’s payload, and/or to avoid the inconvenience of treating timber pallets to comply with Australian quarantine laws, every year many thousands of shipping containers arrive in Australia without pallets.
On arrival at the containers ultimate destination, forklift use is generally limited and must be loaded by hand making the unloading process a time consuming, laborious and costly task. On the occasion when forklifts are used inside containers, it is to drop empty pallets and remove full ones, which can further disrupt the efficiency of the unloading hand stacked packages.
Until recently, Melbourne based catering systems importer Comcater had to unload at least two 40 foot shipping containers each month by hand, as a result of pallets not being available. Before investing in the new Adept X -10derbattery powered conveyor, it had to hire and assign three to four casual staff to each container, and would sometimes take them two to three days to unload, check, sort and put away all the stock.
Now that the new system has been installed, it anticipates ongoing savings by processing in a matter of hours using its own staff. It also expects to achieve a payback on investment in approximately 10 months.
The Adept X-10der is flexible, mobile and powered by batteries that are recharged overnight. The Adept X-10der can be wheeled up to a container or truck entrance and extended into the warehouse, where additional flexible conveyor extensions are joined. The start button is then simply pushed to activate the rollers and convey each box to a waiting forklift. As more space in the container becomes available, the conveyor is further extended inside, where the process is continued until it is emptied.
An optional RF (Radio Frequency) remote controller is part of the standard equipment, enabling the operator to turn the conveyor on or off from a distance of up to 50 metres if needed.
According to Adept Conveyor Technologies, even though the new conveyor unit is rated for a 3.5 hour operation, Adept is getting up to 9 hours continuous running on a charged battery pack. Other features include the ability to reverse direction at the flip of a switch and on-board variable speed control. A 240 volt mains powered version is available on request.
Further options include pre-wired PE (Photo Electric) cells that provide zero pressure zoned accumulation, and also enable a carton to stop, when it reaches the end in both forward and reverse directions.
While extendable mobile conveyors have been on the market for many years, designs have been limited to the gravity fed variety or expensive powered options only.
The recent innovation of providing a battery power pack, to automatically drive the rollers, is an added value feature that will be welcomed by many importers, who have regularly devoted too much unproductive activity towards the unloading of shipping containers by hand or are looking for OH&S solutions.