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Peacocks Stores Ltd get innovative conveyor solution installed at their National Distribution Centre

L.B. Foster has successfully completed the installation of an innovative lineshaft conveyor solution in the National Distribution Centre of Peacocks Stores Ltd in Cardiff.

The new conveyors provide versatile and economical transport for the tote boxes of Peacocks products.

The substantial contract was awarded to L.B. Foster by Dutch systems integrator Equinox MHE. It included the design and installation of a new lineshaft conveyor for Peacocks dispatch department; the relocation of the company’s existing lineshaft conveyor; the supply of all inbound and outbound conveyors for a new Equinox flat sorter and modification of the company’s ground floor tote merge system.

Our decision to select L.B. Foster was based on the quality of their response, competitive pricing and proposed delivery schedule. Working closely with them we have developed a strong partnership. The contract was completed in a professional manner and we were impressed with their performance as a company.

Minimising operating costs, maximising efficiency

The new lineshaft conveyor from LB Foster, with the extra 69 gravity roller sortation lanes, has improved the flow of products and reduced manual handling in Peacocks busy dispatch department. Robust in design and reliable in operation, the lineshaft conveyor has provided a cost-effective materials handling solution for the large 800 x 600 x 450mm totes.

The new conveyor is located on the ground floor sortation area, alongside Peacocks existing lineshaft conveyor with sortation lanes. To create more space to work around the two conveyors, the original conveyor was relocated and extended by L.B. Foster so that the two conveyors now operate back to back. As it was important that there was no interruption to the flow of goods through dispatch during this process, the new conveyor was installed, commissioned and proven before modifications to the existing conveyor began. The resulting conveyor configuration has maximised the accessibility and efficiency of Peacock’s dispatch process.

Unique pneumatic diverters designed by L.B. Foster to provide a stronger alternative to traditional diverters, have been incorporated into the new lineshaft conveyor. These diverters push the large totes at right angles from the powered conveyor down the correct sortation lanes.

Conveyors provide interface with flatsorter

In addition, L.B. Foster was selected to supply all inbound and outbound box and tote conveyors to Peacock’s new Equinox tray based flat sorter with 140 stations. This is housed on the upper mezzanine floor of the Distribution Centre, above the other two Equinox flat sorters.

  • People packing clothes from a conveyor system.
    • People packing clothes from a conveyor system.

    Steep incline belt conveyors deliver boxed product to the load operators on both sides of the flat sorter. Products are placed one at a time onto the sorter’s trays, and, as the garment travels around the system it drops down into one of the totes positioned underneath the trays which is destined for a certain store. Empty or part picked boxes are sent back down gravity roller conveyors.

    Once a tote is full it is manually pushed onto a powered conveyor which runs down the centre of the sorter. This transports the totes to a new vertical elevator and down to dispatch. Replacement totes are delivered from the ground floor by a new low level conveyor/elevator system to both sides of the sorter where they are manually placed under the appropriate discharge stations as necessary.

    Space-saving footprint

    Modifications have also been carried out by L.B. Foster to Peacocks tote merge systems on the ground floor of the Distribution Centre. This system unites all of the full totes which have been conveyed from the company’s three flat sorters, located on the ground floor and the two upper levels, into one route to the two dispatch conveyors.

    Peacocks is now in Year 3 of a 5 year expansion strategy. Here at the National Distribution Centre in Cardiff we send deliveries to over 200 of our stores every day as well as servicing our online customers. It has therefore been critical to maximise the efficiency of our sortation and dispatch processes in order to maintain our high level of customer service.

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