Auto Manufacturer Storeroom Expands Internally With VLMs To Support Almost Doubling of Manufacturing Capacity
Resounding popularity and sales of its new models, compelled BMW Manufacturing Corp. to enlarge its plant near Spartanburg, S.C., from 1.2 to 2.1 million square feet. The 900,000 square foot addition provides added production capacity plus a more flexible manufacturing base to accommodate a wider range of models and mixes of model volumes.
“Even with the dramatic increase in production capacity and manufacturing flexibility, the plant’s existing 7500 square foot storeroom housing spare parts for manufacturing equipment was not allotted any more space,” commented Tony Brannon, Coordinator, Central Operations Support.
“Although drawer cabinets, a pallet stacker, and shelving were already nearly full, the room’s vertical cube was largely untouched. Making more efficient use of this cube would allow parts for new machinery to be accepted.”
Vertical Lift Modules Carry the Load
To reach into the storeroom’s vertical cube, BMW installed five Kardex Remstar Shuttle Vertical Lift Modules side-
by-side. Three of the Shuttle units are 26 feet tall, while two are only 22 feet because of interfering roof beams. To help equalize storage capacity per VLM, the shorter units are wider — with wider internal trays (shelves) — to compensate. These units feature 69 trays each 72”w x 32”d. The taller, narrower VLMs have 55 trays each 49”w x 32”d.
“The five VLMs replaced a length of six foot high, 35-foot long shelving in a corner of the storeroom,” Brannon added. “The modules displaced little existing storage, however, because relatively few spares are held on shelves. The five single most important factor in the selection of these particular VLMs. Drawer-to-drawer spacing in cabinets is not readily adjustable, of course.”