May 5, 2010

New joint venture offers North America fully automated option

By DC Velocity Staff

For years, material handling equipment company Konstant has been offering a semi-automated rack system, known as the Pallet Runner, which uses battery-powered carts to move pallets in and out of positions on deep flow racks. Now, the company is embarking on a new joint venture with manufacturer Power Automation System (PAS) that will offer fully automated storage and retrieval systems.

The new joint venture, PAS Americas will sell the Pallet Runner as well as PAS' PalletStor automated storage and retrieval system and PowerBuild automated layering system.

PAS has been manufacturing the battery-powered carts used in the Pallet Runner system since 2008 as well as its own automated solution. While the PAS solution had found many customers in Europe, it had been unable to establish a toehold in the North America market.

But Konstant President and CEO Peter McCarthy believes that 2010 is the year of automation in the United States. Market forces are now driving more and more companies to implement fully automated solutions in their distribution center. As an example, McCarthy points to Coca-Cola, which cancelled an order for a manual rack system because of a corporate mandate to go only with fully automated solutions in the future. These forces make 2010 the right time for Konstant to enter the market, says McCarthy.

More coverage from NA 2010