Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

A moment in the world of logistics

In cramped countries like Switzerland and Japan ground space is money. So companies put up high warehouses. But there are limits. A warehouse a mile high would cost a fortune. Putting goods into it – and getting them out – would take time and time is money.

Also, the higher you go the more expensive the equipment. At lower levels a forklift truck will do, beyond that hardware evolves until the system is completely automated. Big money.

A forklift benefits over automation in that it can “free range” – carrying goods at ground level, sometimes taking them out of the racking and loading directly on to a lorry. Most warehouses use forklifts.

When I wrote professionally about logistics, I visited a supermarket warehouse where it was conceded the height limit for a free-ranging forklift system had been reached. The vehicles were reach trucks, more stable variants of the counterbalanced forklifts most people know.

These trucks could lift to just over 11 m. Viewed from beneath this is some distance but I was on a walkway near the roof looking down. The truck cab looked microscopic; the mast uprights throbbed, twitched even groaned with the effort of holding the load that high. Journalists should avoid going anthropomorphic but in this case it was inescapable. In any case, it worked.

No comments: