On Track for Efficient Storage

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Mitsubishi Transportation sorely needed a new facility to increase their production capabilities. The company, which makes components for passenger rail cars, had reached its capacity in its current building.

Cranston Material Handling (McKees Rocks, PA) had helped Mitsubishi set up its original storage racks and the customer was confident in their ability to design a new, more efficient facility.

"The challenge in the existing facility was not only that it was terribly overcrowded, but the ceilings in it were very low. The racks that we put into that area were inefficient because of that low overhead height," says President David Cranston Jr. "One of the criteria for the move was that they wanted to double their storage height so the ceilings in their new building would allow them to install racks that were 24 ft. high."

David Cranston Sr. set about devising an efficient layout for the new facility that would hold the number of pallets in the space that Mitsubishi had requested but would also safely store the 18 ft. crates and other heavy loads that could weigh up to 8,000 pounds per shelf level.

"When they set up this division initially, we used standard wire decking, which, over time because of the heavy point loads, didn’t hold up very well," David Jr. says. "We went with a new decking product from Ohio Gratings called PressLock that allowed us to point load and gave them a very nice surface that would hold up essentially indefinitely."

In addition to the PressLock solution, Cranston also used Steel King SK3000 structural rack with 20 ft. long beams to achieve the heavy capacities Mitsubishi required, as well as a Gorbel workstation crane to load and remove the chassis from the crates. All told, this project ended up being over $150,000.

In addition to the sizeable layout changes that were required, Cranston also had to contend with outside challenges.

"One of the big advantages that we offer are computer generated drawings which allow us to layout their floor plans to maximize space," says David Sr. "The customer kept changing what they wanted to do and we were able to seamlessly meet those needs over the course of the planning period to get them an efficient layout that they were happy with."

The customer also had to halt operations as they moved from the existing facility to the new facility. Because of this, Cranston worked on an accelerated schedule to take down all their existing racks, move and reinstall them with the new racking components to minimize lost time. To make matters even more difficult, construction on the new building was still going on during installation, meaning that Cranston installers not only had to contend with a time crunch but also had to work around the construction crews. Installation started on January 6th and was completed by January 24th.

"The customer is extremely happy with how the whole process went," David Jr. says. "They went from a storage system that was limited by the design of their previous facility to increased storage capacity that can safely accommodate their large heavy products in the new building."

Distributor: Cranston Material Handling

Suppliers: Ohio Gratings, Steel King, Gorbel