Portwest, a fast-growing online workwear company, has appointed global materials handling specialist Daifuku to design and install an automated storage system (AS/RS) at its distribution centre in Barnsley UK.
Due to go live by summer 2024, the warehouse automation system is expected to more than double handling capacity, thereby enabling Portwest to meet anticipated demand for its products, which include high viz jackets, PPE kit and safety gloves.
Based on proven technology adopted by brands such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Netto, UNIQLO and Honda, Daifuku’s planned AS/RS solution will facilitate the fulfilment of full carton orders and also replenish the linked goods-to-person system, which is also being introduced at the Barnsley location.
Currently in development, the AS/RS system comprises four high bay aisles serviced by four automated twin-fork mini-load cranes. High density racking will create more than 76,000 unique locations within the upgraded facility, significantly improving the efficiency of the 15,000 sqm warehouse.
Harry Hughes, CEO of Portwest explained why they selected Daifuku as their automation partner: “The introduction of this mini-load system is a major step forward for our UK operation, which is faced with a huge opportunity to increase sales throughput without moving to new warehouse premises. This will be achieved by embracing tried and tested automation technology, which will further improve service levels, enabling us to support our online customers in even more ways.”
Russell Hutchinson, UK sales manager at Daifuku, added: “This is a key project for us as it demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the e-commerce sector in the UK and its adoption of leading-edge automation to remain competitive.
“We are also pleased to have secured this project despite tough competition from other warehouse automation suppliers. We pride ourselves on the highest quality machinery and technology, which is matched by our open, honest and transparent approach to our customers.”
Portwest employs approximately 5,500 people across 130 countries. Headquartered in Ireland, the company was established in 1904 and remains a family-owned business which is currently managed by the third generation of the Hughes family. A global company, Portwest has already introduced Daifuku automation technology into one of its warehouse operations in Spain.