Logistics systems supplier Dematic has completed the installation and commissioning of one of the most advanced conveyor systems in Australia at discount retailer Kmart’s new distribution centre (DC) in Melbourne.
Dematic’s cross dock sorting system is at the heart of the new 75,000m² DC at Truganina in Melbourne’s western suburbs. The cross dock sorting system uses crossbelt conveyor technology, and has the capacity to automatically sort up to 6000 items per hour to individual orders for up to 88 stores concurrently.
The Dematic crossbelt sorting system for the new DC comprises of 273 individual carriages, each equipped with its own conveyor belt, enabling them to handle and sort a diverse range of product types and sizes.
Goods up to 1.1m long and weighing up to 30kg are loaded onto four automatic inducts, where they are accumulated and conveyed onto the crossbelt sorter carriages. The carriages travel around a 260m loop at speeds of up to 2m per second, automatically sorting their packages to 88 sort lanes, facilitating efficient cross docking and individual store order assembly.
The new DC has enabled Kmart to consolidate general merchandise distribution from its previous Hoppers Crossing, Laverton and Woodlands DCs under one roof, providing significant cost and operational efficiencies for the business.
The new Kmart DC services the apparel and general merchandise distribution requirements for 65 stores in Victoria, Northern Territory, Tasmania and South Australia, as well as a further 15 stores in New Zealand.
One of the first companies in Australia to implement crossbelt sorting technology over 15 years ago in Melbourne in 1994, Kmart subsequently had cross dock sorting systems installed in Sydney in 1998, and in Brisbane and Perth in 2006.
With a view to consolidating its Melbourne distribution operations, Kmart asked Dematic to review a range of materials handling solutions. Dematic’s detailed analysis showed that crossbelt sorting was still the best technology for Kmart’s distribution needs over the next decade and beyond.
Dematic’s Retail Industry Group Manager, John Briscoe explained that the previous crossbelt sorting systems, which were originally implemented for the Coles Myer Group, have provided consistent, reliable performance for Kmart over the past decade.
He adds that the performance and reliability of crossbelt sorting systems have been enhanced thanks to newer technology, controls, software and IT systems.
Kmart uses the crossbelt sorter to handle imported and locally supplied products, both SSCC and non-SSCC labelled and even sort batch picked Pick & Pack products improving the traditional pick costs and accuracy.
Mr Briscoe believes that the new crossbelt sorters also offer larger carriages enabling a larger, heavier and more diverse range of products to be handled by the Kmart DC.
Key features of Dematic crossbelt sorting systems:
- Handles a wide variety of goods from a single packet of socks to large packages weighing up to 30kg
- Transports goods safely, accurately and gently to their destinations, regardless of shape, size and surface
- Delivers products to a particular destination with pinpoint accuracy, allowing divert points to be concentrated at close intervals
- Space efficient systems save valuable warehouse floor space
Dematic also offers bi-directional double-deck crossbelt sorting systems with throughput rates of up to 20,000 items per hour.