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Linfox Driving Productivity with Colby Rack Systems

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Linfox, Australian food manufacturer have recently completed their first year of 3PL operations for Kraft, handling finished goods storage and distribution from their custom-built DC at Somerton in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

Housing 28,000 pallets, the DC incorporates the new Colby Drive-In Rack and Protect-a-RACK systems for optimal storage space efficiency, flexibility and high levels of operator productivity and safety.

Peter Nairn, Linfox DC Manager said that two of the important key performance targets in the DC are product availability and vehicle turnaround. Linfox goal is to make any product that arrives available for despatch within three hours, and to make sure vehicles are turned around in under an hour.

The smart storage system design gives Linfox the ability to do so efficiently and safely. In a typical week, the DC will distribute upwards of 420,000 cases, with the quantity rising to over 560,000 during peak periods. Around 70% of the order volume involves full pallet handling, which is why the storage system design focused on flexibility and ease of use to maximise productivity and safety.

Joe Carmody, Sales Engineer, said that a key feature of the storage system design is that any pallet can be placed anywhere in the system. This enables pallets to be put away quickly, and eliminates any concerns about accidental overloading.

He added that they also have customised the design of the new Drive-In Rack for Linfox to improve the storage and handling of Kraft’s high throughput product lines. The clear entry space for a Drive-In Rack lane is normally 1350mm. However, given the large quantity of pallets Linfox would be handling more than 90% of goods received are full pallets with the sales and design team recommended increasing this to 1450mm.

In a high velocity distribution environment, the additional 100mm in the width of the Drive-In lane makes it a lot easier, quicker and safer for forklift operators to drive in and out of the rack structure, maximising productivity and throughput.

The superior structural strength and design of the new Drive-In Rack also enabled to increase the height of the first pallet rail level to 3.6m. This further improves safety by eliminating the potential for an operator, or their cabin to strike the pallet rail during forklift entry and exit.

It took a couple of months for Linfox to get the product mix right in the Drive-In area, and now Linfox are typically achieving around 85-90% storage utilisation. The various enhancements to the design of the Drive-In Rack and the use of the Protect-a-RACK system have had a significant impact on the speed and safety of pallet handling. Peter Nairn added.

Operator safety is optimised throughout the 23,000 sqm DC, with Colby Protect-a-RACKs fitted to the front of all aisle facing rack uprights and end guards protecting the ends of each rack. Colby Protect-a-RACK substantially increases the impact resistance of rack uprights by spreading and transferring any forces from an impact to the rack frame bracing with the strong section of the rack improving safety and reducing on-going rack repair costs.

Peter Nairn also added saying that, Linfox run a fleet of 19 reach trucks in the warehouse and have been going full tilt for over 12 months. With Colby Protect-a-RACK, Linfox have sustained virtually zero damage to the rack structure.

To ensure the on-going safe operation of the storage system, Dematic carries out a rack safety audit every six months to identify any damaged equipment or potential OH&S hazards concerning the storage system. The storage solution for Linfox Kraft was designed and implemented by Dematic. Colby Rack is designed and manufactured in Australia by Dematic.

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