More than two years of planning came to fruition last month when FKI Logistex, a provider of material handling solutions, unveiled its new Technology & Education Center in Cincinnati. The 31,000-square-foot facility will offer customers access to fully functional automated sortation, conveying, AS/RS (automated storage and retrieval system), and order fulfillment systems for demonstrations, proof-of-concept testing, and operator training. Company execs say there's plenty of room for additional testing equipment, adding that robotic equipment and RFID technology are on the short list for future expansion.
Dubbed "the TEC" by Stephen Legg, FKI's director of product and technology development, the center will allow visitors to test their own products and containers on FKI equipment and to preview innovative material handling solutions. The company also sees the facility as a means of strengthening its bonds with customers. "The TEC provides FKI Logistex customers with a state-of-the-art, technology-rich material handling environment to see the industry's latest solutions in action," says Legg. "Our goal is to develop lasting relationships built around the TEC, where customers continue to come back for education, testing, and training."
The facility is getting rave reviews out of the gate, especially for its state-of-the-art shoe sorter, which has the ability to sort 420 cartons per minute. "We're breaking records with this technology and feeding the world's fastest shoe sorter," says Steve Ackerman, president, FKI Logistex North America.
Among the other working solutions at the TEC are a mini-load automated storage and retrieval crane, a high-speed wedge merge feeding a UniSort XV high-speed sliding shoe sortation system, a motorized roller conveyor, tilt-tray and cross-belt sortation systems, and warehouse control systems (WCS).
The futuristic facility will play a role in promoting the globalization of material handling technology. "It will allow us to take North American products and prepare them for global markets, and also to take products from around the world and prepare them for entry into the United States," says Ackerman.