Demonstrating this point, systems integrator N-III, Inc. devised a simple, yet large-scale solution to improve the efficiency of an existing warehouse packaging staging module. Though limited by challenging design constraints, the company created a supporting structure that mounts underneath the existing module and integrates an arrangement of plywood, aluminum extrusions and Rollon linear bearings.
Improving The Existing Design
An automated package distribution center wanted to improve its packing modules. Each module is made up of four chutes that feed packages from the top of the system down to the station operator. The operator is notified of an order and, from there, can pull it out, package it and place it onto a conveyor belt beneath the chutes.
N-III wanted to incorporate support platforms onto the design of this existing structure, which the operators could utilize to box finished orders. Engineers came up with a simple design that connects to the module and even uses its existing bolt holes. For a work surface, the engineers created tables made of strong ply, which they capped with an ABS plastic. The tables were then mounted onto a Rollon linear slider, which was mounted simply into a standard aluminum extrusion. From there, workers can easily slide a table along the length of the chutes to where it is needed.
Overcoming Design Challenges
N-III’s solution overcame several design constraints, all of which were dictated by the existing packaging structure. These included: