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Author Archives: Tony Wichhart

  1. What You Must Know About Warehouse Facility Design

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    A warehouse facility design entails a product storage area’s strategic planning and layout configuration. This requires consideration of aspects such as shelving arrangement, space allocation based on item dimensions, and optimized material flow logistics. In addition, its goal is to enhance storage capacity, improve accessibility, and facilitate efficient inventory management.

    This article will explore the fundamental elements in warehouse facility design. By learning these essential aspects, businesses can better understand how a well-structured plan ensures a conducive environment for workers and operational processes.

    Key Components of a Warehouse Facility Design

    The interconnection of the following components forms the foundation of an effective design, enabling businesses to achieve enhanced overall efficiency:

    Accessibility and Flow

    Clear pathways and the minimization of bottlenecks within a facility enhance accessibility and prevent congestion. Warehouse operators can facilitate smooth material movement by designing well-defined routes and ensuring efficient traffic flow. This arrangement reduces the likelihood of disruptions and delays.

    Energy Efficiency

    Incorporating sustainable methods helps to reduce long-term costs. Energy-efficient lighting, proper insulation, and climate control systems can cut operational expenses.

    Layout Configuration

    The organization of storage rooms, passageways, and work zones determines warehouse efficiency. Businesses can reduce unnecessary travel distances and optimize material transportation by strategically planning the layout. An efficient design also contributes to streamlined procedures and cuts down on time wasted, as goods can be easily accessed and transported.

    Material Handling Equipment

    Integrating appropriate material handling technology into a warehouse reduces manual work and increases operational speed. Forklifts, conveyors, and automated systems enable the smooth movement of items, speeding up procedures like loading, unloading, and stock replenishment. This integration boosts efficiency and contributes to the safety of workers.

    Space Utilization

    Efficient vertical and horizontal space utilization allows warehouses to accommodate diverse inventory sizes and volumes. Warehouse operators can use different stacking techniques to increase storage capacity and maximize vertical space. Meanwhile, strategic placement of items and thoughtful organization optimizes horizontal space, preventing wastage and allowing for easy item retrieval.

    Safety Measures

    Businesses can improve safety measures within a warehouse by integrating features that contribute to their workforce’s well-being. Adequate and appropriate lighting enhances visibility throughout the facility. Similarly, installing fire suppression instruments significantly reduces hazards. Such devices also protect assets while assisting the continuity of business operations.

    Storage Systems

    Effective storage solutions allow for systematically preserving products of various shapes and sizes, decreasing clutter and improving accessibility. For instance, pallet racking, shelving units, and mezzanines positively impact space utilization and inventory management.

    Other examples of racking and shelving systems include the following:

    • Cantilever racking
    • Drive-In/Drive-Through racking
    • Push back racking
    • Gravity flow racking
    • Mobile racking
    • Multi-tier racking
    • Boltless shelving
    • Wire decking shelving

    Technology Integration

    By embracing technology, facilities can enhance accuracy, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiency. Warehouse management systems (WMS) and inventory tracking technologies enable real-time monitoring of stock levels, resulting in expedited order fulfillment. These innovations also provide accurate insights into the storage status, which aids in decision-making and reducing errors.

    Thornel Associates: Your Partner for Streamlined Warehouse Operations

    For more than 60 years, Thornel Associates has offered top-notch warehouse design and management solutions.Our extensive product portfolio includes various material handling, automation, and conveyor systems designed to meet the needs of your operation. Moreover, our team can assess your facilities and offer the optimal solution for maximizing floor space, staffing, and equipment.

    Contact us to learn more about our products and services, or request a quote today!

  2. Essential Steps in Facility Seismic Design

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    Click to ExpandEssential Steps in Facility Seismic Design

    Seismic designs refer to the engineering principles ensuring that buildings, structures, and facilities can withstand seismic activity. These layouts minimize the damage and risks posed by seismic events, guaranteeing the safety of occupants and the structure’s integrity. Some key design aspects include structural engineering, building codes and regulations, hazard assessment, and retrofitting and rehabilitation.

    The following steps can help streamline the process of creating resilient structures:

    Step 1: Take a Multi-Hazard Approach

    A multi-hazard approach considers and addresses seismic forces and other major hazards to which a particular area may be susceptible. This comprehensiveness recognizes that various natural and human-induced hazards influence a building’s safety and resilience. These dangers include earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, fires, and other disasters.

    Once the hazards are identified, the next stage is to analyze the building’s and its occupants’ vulnerability. This involves understanding the impacts of each risk on the facility’s structural integrity, functionality, and safety. For seismic forces, this would entail determining how the structure would react to ground shaking, deformation, and other tremors.

    Step 2: Establish Performance-Based Requirements

    Performance-based requirements involve setting specific objectives that exceed the minimum life safety requirements outlined in seismic codes and regulations. These requirements also aim to quantify the desired performance levels, such as specifying acceptable rates of structural damage and maximum limits on displacement or acceleration.

    In addition, the requirements consider the building’s functional and operational aspects. This includes identifying systems, equipment, and processes that must remain operational or quickly recover after a hazard event. For example, hospitals may have specific requirements for maintaining power supply, medical services, and patient care during and after an earthquake.

    Step 3: Form a Collaborative Design Team

    The collaborative team must include professionals from various disciplines, such as structural engineers, geotechnical engineers, architects, and other relevant experts. Each member will contribute their unique knowledge and expertise to address the specific challenges of seismic design. This multidisciplinary nature ensures that all aspects from structural integrity to architectural aesthetics are considered.

    The team must also promote continuous professional development and training to stay updated with the latest design practices, research, and technologies. This enables the members to incorporate innovations into their designs, ensuring the facility benefits from the most current principles.

    Step 4: Perform Structural Analysis

    The design team must use dynamic analysis techniques to evaluate how the structure will respond to earthquake-induced ground motion. This includes considering factors such as natural frequencies, periods of vibrations, and mode shapes. Based on the analysis, the team will construct the structure’s framework, load-bearing elements, and foundations to be resilient against seismic forces.

    Step 5: Consider Soil-Structure Interaction

    Soil-structure interaction analysis involves studying the interaction between the building and the underlying soil. The soil qualities, such as its type, density, and liquefaction potential, can substantially impact the behavior of the structure during an earthquake. By understanding this interaction, the design team can optimize the foundation design and ensure the structure’s stability and performance.

    Step 6: Implement Retrofitting and Rehabilitation Measures

    In cases where existing structures are being retrofitted or rehabilitated, assessing and strengthening their seismic resilience is important. This may require maintaining structural elements, adding bracing or reinforcement, modifying foundations, or incorporating retrofitting techniques. The goal is to enhance the structure’s ability to withstand earthquake-generated forces and meet current seismic design standards.

    Choose Thornel for Dependable Seismic Services

    Thornel provides seismic services to ensure regulatory adherence and a seamless process for our clients! Our process begins by evaluating local codes and regulations, enabling us to confidently initiate the design procedure. Then, we will collaborate with a seismic engineer to conduct a preliminary analysis, facilitating accurate quoting.

    Contact us today to learn more and discuss your needs!

  3. Key Considerations in Warehouse Automation

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    Warehouse automation has become essential to modern business operations as more organizations recognize its potential for increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and minimizing errors. In fact, the smart warehouse technology market is projected to reach $41B by 2027, with a CAGR of 15%. As a result, warehouse operation managers are increasingly adopting automation solutions to optimize their supply chain processes.

    To ensure the successful implementation of robotics in warehousing, it is essential to take several key factors into account:

    1. Comprehensive Needs Analysis

    Before deploying any automation technologies, thoroughly assessing your warehouse’s requirements and challenges is crucial. Identify areas where automation can significantly impact operational efficiency, cost reduction, and error mitigation. This will enable you to prioritize which processes to automate and select the most appropriate technologies for your warehouse.

    2. Scalability and Adaptability

    As your business grows, your smart warehouse system should adapt to changes in your model, products, and customer needs. Opt for solutions that offer scalability and flexibility, ensuring that your investment in automation remains valuable in the long term.

    3. Seamless Integration With Existing Infrastructure

    An effective smart warehouse technology should integrate smoothly with your existing warehouse management system (WMS) and other software platforms. This compatibility will facilitate seamless data transfer, minimize the risk of errors due to manual data entry, and prevent miscommunication between systems.

    4. Workforce Implications

    Implementing automation technologies will inevitably affect your workforce, as machines assume specific tasks previously performed by humans. Thus, it is essential to consider the potential impact on your employees and plan for retraining or redeployment opportunities. Additionally, evaluate how automation can enhance working conditions and the safety of your personnel.

    5. Financial Planning and ROI Analysis

    Investing in robotics in warehousing can be a substantial financial undertaking. Therefore, carefully considering your budget and expected return on investment (ROI) is vital. Estimate potential savings in labor costs, increased efficiency, and reduced errors to determine the feasibility of your investment. Further, remember that some automation solutions may have more extended payback periods than others.

    6. Vendor Selection and Evaluation

    Choose an experienced and reputable automation vendor who can provide customized solutions tailored to your warehouse’s specific needs. Opt for vendors with a proven track record of successful implementations and comprehensive support services, ensuring a seamless transition to an automated system.

    7. Change Management Strategies

    Implementing intelligent warehouse solutions necessitates significant alterations in processes, workflows, and organizational culture. Effectively changing management strategies is crucial for facilitating a smooth transition and minimizing disruption to your operations. Primarily, you should communicate the benefits of automation to your staff and involve them in the planning and implementation process.

    8. Maintenance and Support Protocols

    Automation systems require regular maintenance and support to maintain optimal performance. Establish a plan for the upkeep of your automated equipment and address any technical issues that may arise. This may involve collaborating closely with your automation vendor or training your staff to handle maintenance tasks.

    Elevate Your Warehouse Automation With Thornel

    Thornel is your dedicated partner for implementing warehouse solutions tailored to your unique business needs! Our warehouse tech expertise provides optimal solutions to boost productivity, cut costs, and reduce errors in your operations.

    We collaborate closely with our clients to understand their specific challenges and requirements. First, our specialists will assist you with a comprehensive needs analysis. We then implement scalable and adaptable automation solutions to ensure seamless integration with your current systems.

    Contact us today to discuss your warehouse automation needs!

  4. Benefits of Custom Integrated Solutions

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    At Thornel, we design and build custom-integrated solutions to solve your storage and space expansion needs. Our systems are engineered to optimize space, increase storage, and refine workflow to boost productivity.

    What to Gain From Custom Integrated Solutions?

    Custom-integrated solutions allow connected systems to be simple for end-users, automated, systemized, and run in real time. At Thornel, we are determined to build high quality storage and expansion solutions as quickly as possible.

    Serves as an Extra Hand During Operations

    Custom integrated solutions enable clients to revamp the workforce in accomplishing business tasks. Since companies outsource integrators to implement custom systems, they are temporarily adding people to help with their operations until the end of the project.

    Faster Turnaround

    Since additional people are working towards the same objectives, tasks and projects within the company are completed faster than usual without compromising quality outputs.

    Highly Customizable Systems

    As its name suggests, companies can unlimitedly customize custom-integrated solutions to cater to their requirements and standards. This results in systems that are specially tailored to solve variances that are unique to the company.

    Lower Operational Costs

    Companies can save time and resources by implementing custom-integrated solutions. Experimenting with which system works best for the company is no longer necessary because they have access to a pool of field experts. Additionally, the company can invest in something other than essential equipment as they are usually included in the custom systems service offered by the integrators.

    Improved Safety and Security

    Thornel’s custom-integrated solutions include features that can enhance workplace safety and security. For instance, our systems can be designed to have fire suppression systems, security alarms, and access control measures, ensuring that businesses can maintain a safe working environment for their employees.

    Increased Flexibility

    Custom-integrated solutions offer increased flexibility for businesses. They can be designed to be easily reconfigured or expanded as business needs change, allowing companies to adjust their storage and space requirements without completely overhauling their systems.

    Improved Customer Satisfaction

    Businesses can create more effective and efficient processes with customized integrated solutions, which increases customer satisfaction. By optimizing workflow and reducing operational costs, companies can allocate more resources to improve customer service, resulting in higher customer approval and retention. Additionally, companies can offer customers faster and more accurate services thanks to the enhanced systems and procedures that come with custom integrated solutions.

    Custom Integrated Solutions By Thornel

    Thornel is a dedicated integrator of custom-integrated solutions in the context of custom systems designed to support our clients’ facility expansion and relocation.

    We offer the following custom integrated solutions services:

    • Consulting
    • Concept Design
    • Project Management
    • Seismic Design
    • Installation

    Our process includes meeting with our partners to survey the area and comprehend the problems. With expertise in Computer-Aided Design (CAD), we develop shop drawings, recommend concepts, and suggest system designs from various outlooks. Our team of specialists guarantees the use of space, human resources, and gear for a successful relocation or expansion project.

    Contact us or request a quote to partner with us today!

  5. How To Choose the Right Warehouse Management Systems

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    Click to ExpandHow-To-Choose-the-Right-Warehouse-Management-Systems

    Warehouse management systems (WMS) have become increasingly popular across different industries because they help streamline operations, optimize supply chain processes, and improve inventory accuracy. However, selecting the right WMS can be challenging as businesses must consider various factors such as scalability, functionality, and cost.

    This blog will guide you in choosing the right WMS to meet your business needs and objectives.

    Step 1: Identify Your Business Needs and Goals

    A thorough analysis of your business needs and goals is imperative before selecting a WMS solution. This includes a comprehensive assessment of the essential features required to support your operations and achieve your business objectives.

    Furthermore, it is crucial to evaluate the size and complexity of your warehouse and the level of automation necessary to optimize your operations. By conducting such an assessment, you can effectively narrow your options and select a warehouse management system solution tailored to your requirements.

    Step 2: Research and Compare Different Systems

    The next step is to research and compare various warehouse management systems extensively. It is imperative to seek solutions aligned with your business requirements and goals. This entails comparing and contrasting different WMS providers’ features, pricing, and customer reviews.

    You must also balance functionality and cost-effectiveness when selecting a WMS. This can be achieved by conducting a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of the available options.

    Step 3: Evaluate System Compatibility With Your Existing Infrastructure

    When selecting a solution, it is critical to consider its compatibility with your existing hardware, software, and other systems. Additionally, you must consider the scalability of the WMS and its ability to support multiple warehouse locations. This includes assessing the system capacity to accommodate future growth and expansion and its ability to integrate with other systems and technologies seamlessly.

    Step 4: Consider the Level of Customization and Flexibility

    When searching for a WMS, select one that offers customization options to meet your needs. You can do this by assessing the level of flexibility the system provides to adapt to changes in your business processes.

    The more customizable and adaptable the WMS is, the easier it is to tailor it to your business requirements. This includes configuring the system to accommodate specific workflows, processes, and reporting needs.

    Step 5: Assess the Level of Support and Training

    To make the most of a warehouse management system, consider the team’s proficiency and evaluate the level of support and training the provider offers. It should include comprehensive training, resources, and 24/7 support.

    Furthermore, ensure the WMS is easy to use with an intuitive interface, user-friendly documentation, tutorials, and training materials. This way, your team can quickly learn how to use the system, maximizing productivity and minimizing errors.

    Step 6: Evaluate the Security and Data Privacy Features

    Protecting your data is crucial, particularly in today’s data-driven business landscape. Data breaches can severely affect a company’s reputation, finances, and legal liabilities. Thus, it is essential to check the security features of the WMS, including access controls, data encryption, and backup systems. Additionally, ensure the system complies with industry data privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA.

    Step 7: Test the System With a Pilot Program

    Before fully implementing a WMS, it is advisable to conduct a pilot program to test its functionality and user-friendliness. This approach allows you to understand better how the system works, identify areas that require adjustment, and make any necessary changes before going live.

    Once the pilot program is complete, evaluate the results and feedback to determine whether the WMS meets your business requirements. Doing this can minimize the risk of errors or disruptions during full-scale implementation and optimize the system’s effectiveness.

    Step 8: Calculate the Total Cost of Ownership

    When choosing a WMS, it’s critical to consider the total cost of ownership. This includes upfront expenses, ongoing maintenance, and training fees. For instance, while a more expensive solution may have higher upfront costs, it may offer better functionality, support, and cost savings in the long run.

    Streamline Your Warehouse Operations With Thornel

    Looking for a competitive edge in your warehouse operations and supply chain management? Thornel Associates has advanced warehouse management systems to help you achieve your business goals while optimizing processes for maximum efficiency.

    Contact us and discover how our solutions can help boost your bottom line!

  6. Everything You Need To Know About Warehouse Conveyors

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    Warehouse conveyors are mechanical systems that move materials, products, or goods within a warehouse or distribution center. They are also essential for improving efficiency and reducing manual labor. Additionally, these conveyors can be integrated with other automated mechanisms to create a fully mechanized and systematized material handling system.

    The trend of quick and precise order fulfillment has increased the demand for a conveyor system as an essential element of warehouse management. This article will explore everything you need to know about warehouse conveyor systems, from their different types and configurations to their key advantages.

    Types of Warehouse Conveyor Systems

    Warehouse conveyor systems come in different types and configurations, each designed for specific applications and material handling requirements. Here are some of the most popular types in the warehouse and logistics industries:

    Belt Conveyor Systems

    Belt conveyor systems consist of a strap stretched over a series of rollers. The strap is driven by a motor, which causes it to move along the rollers, transporting goods from one end to the other. They are often used in the packaging and distribution sectors because they can move large volumes of goods quickly and efficiently.

    Depending on the application and the warehouses layout, they can be configured in many ways. For example, they can be straight, curved, horizontal, or inclined. They can also be designed to move goods in a straight line or along a specific path. Moreover, some systems have adjustable speeds and can be programmed to start and stop automatically, while others require manual control.

    Incline Conveyor Systems

    Incline conveyor systems are designed to move products or materials between different levels in a facility. They consist of a belt mounted on a series of rollers. The strap is driven by a motor, which moves it upwards or downwards along an inclined path. The angle of the incline can also be adjusted to suit the application’s specific needs.

    They are used for a wide range of applications, from transporting raw materials to finished products. They can also have cleated belts for additional grip, preventing goods from slipping during transportation. Other systems may incorporate side rails or guides to keep products centered on the belt.

    Gravity Conveyor Systems

    Gravity conveyor systems work by using a series of rollers or skate wheels to move goods along the equipment’s length. The rollers or wheels are set at a slight angle, causing goods to move down under their weight. They do not require an external power source, making them a cost-effective and energy-efficient option.

    These conveyors are available in various configurations, including straight or curved designs, and can be customized to fit specific applications. They are also commonly used for transporting goods with a flat bottom, such as boxes, totes, and cartons. Furthermore, they are easy to install and operate, making them one of the most popular choices for material handling in different industries.

    Benefits of Utilizing Warehouse Conveyors

    Warehouse conveyor systems are essential to modern material handling mechanisms, providing benefits for warehouses, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities. Here are some of the key benefits of utilizing this technology:

    Increased Efficiency

    Warehouse transport systems automate the moving of goods, reducing the need for manual labor and boosting productivity. With these technologies, products can be transported quickly and efficiently, improving turnaround times and reducing the risk of errors.

    Improved Safety

    Conveyor systems are typically equipped with guards and sensors to prevent accidents and injuries, and these safety features are critical to their design and operation. Guards prevent workers from accidentally touching moving parts, while sensors detect any obstructions or abnormalities in operation. They will then trigger an automatic shutdown if necessary.

    Space Optimization

    Warehouse transport systems are highly customizable and can be designed to fit within the available space in a facility or distribution center. This means businesses can optimize their use of space by configuring equipment to work around existing infrastructure. This results in more efficient use of square footage and can help reduce the facility’s overall footprint.

    Thornel Associates Your Trusted Material Handling Specialists

    For over 60 years, Thornel Associates has offered top-of-the-line material handling storage and equipment solutions. Our extensive product line includes various conveyor systems designed to meet the unique needs of your operation. Moreover, our experts can evaluate your facility and recommend the best solution that optimizes your floor space, staffing, and equipment.

    Contact us to learn more about how our products and services can benefit your business, or request a quote today!