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Fixed pallet racks with staggered yokes - the solution for NedTrain

‘NedTrain Componentenbedrijf Tilburg’ is a company with a long history. The first recorded repair shop in the centre of Tilburg dates from 1868! NedTrain specializes in the servicing, maintenance and overhaul of rail-related equipment, including the reconditioning of train parts. The vehicle maintenance and repair shop moved from Tilburg town centre to Berkel-Enschot in 2011. It’s here that NedTrain reconditions parts of train sets belonging to Dutch Rail (NS). This ranges from large and complex parts, such as pantographs and compressors, to smaller components, like tractor brakes. The company also includes a few production departments, specializing in pneumatics, electronics and engineering mechanics.

The new branch in Berkel-Enschot comprises a 194.4 metre-long production unit with, behind it, two warehouses, a pallet warehouse and a block stacking warehouse. The two warehouses have a floor area of 4,627 m² and 4,461 m² respectively. And, besides that, there are other areas for offices and a company restaurant.

For NedTrain, Stow has built a parts warehouse expressly tailored to the customer’s needs or preferences. The system is composed of standard fixed shelving with narrow aisles, in which the pallets (1.20 x 1.00m) stand transversely in the racks, resting on ‘top hats’ (a kind of cross-beam). Reach trucks are used, to pick items off the pallet. Works commenced in spring 2011 with the formal handover in August 2011. It all took around 5 months, including the time needed to dismantle parts of the old system.

Jos Halters, consultant at NedTrain, explains: “Standard pallet racks were chosen because they were simply the best bet in this case. Extensive mechanization and automation are not always a good idea. We have, in our warehouses, a very wide range of both large and small parts. Very little of which is in bulk. So that means low heights and narrow aisles, which are a big space-saver. Mobile racking would have been totally inefficient here because our reach trucks would have laid idle for too long. We have three reach trucks. In the present system, they never have to wait and are constantly on the go. The advantage is a brisk handling of picking orders, with no time lost.”

Jos Halters stresses that choosing Stow was economically sound too: “This is, of course, an economic story too. Whoever offers the best value for money, during the bidding phase, lands the contract. That’s how we let contracts. But another contributing factor, for sure, was the fact that we’d collaborated with Stow three times already. And, each time, it was a positive experience.”

“Major advantages are Stow’s great flexibility and adaptability”, said Halters. He gives us a specific example: “We still had many component parts of our old racks lying around. Some of those parts were still perfectly usable. So not everything was renewed just like that. What has been completely renewed are the yokes. On the other hand, we were able to reuse a third of the partitions from the old warehouse.”

The flexibility is clearly a distinct advantage. And that brings our interlocutor straight to another issue: “A critical point was the floor load. But the specialists from Stow came up with an ideal solution for that too. In order to evenly distribute the floor load, a modified configuration was chosen, with staggered yokes. A well thought-out solution, whereby a maximum live load is still possible.”

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