Case Studies: Fashion Retailer’s Returns Focused Distribution Centre Installs Pallet Lift System To Increase Productivity

NERAK’s Multi Floor Pallet Lift System services a two floor mezzanine and provides increased productivity for the Returns Focused Fashion Retail Distribution Centre in West Yorkshire.


What problem did NERAK need to solve?

The Fashion Retailer needed a solution to make their store returns and internet returns process more efficient.

They wanted to minimise their operational Forklift traffic to get pallets of totes up to their pick floors and return processing areas.

They found that because the site is substantial in size, much time was lost in transit through the use of the forklift itself and through the labour resource tied up to facilitate this at both the outbound and receiving floor levels.

They needed a system which would be low maintenance to run and reduce the level of risk from a Health and Safety perspective.


How did it work?

This site was fully operational, we were installing the lift into pre-existing aperture.

We supplied what we call a “KH15” Pallet Lift System which is one of our heavier duty lifts capable of moving up to 1500KG.

The lift was supplied without controls at the request of the customer.

It moves pallets of Boxes and well as Totes…

Pallets were being fed manually using a hand or powered pump truck.

The lift operates when sensors on the infeed conveyors are triggered by a pallet and then move towards the carriage.


The framework of the lift structure is made from powder coated mild steel and the carriage is hoisted using steel reinforced rubber belts.

Unlike conventional steel chain drive systems the belt does not require lubrication resulting in a far cleaner working environment , something which is very important to many businesses but especially in a Fashion Retail environment where the integrity of the product must be fully maintained.

The belts greatly reduce maintenance and increase reliability.

Because the lift was supplied without controls the electrical connections were wired back to a local junction box for their on site integrators to then connect their preferred control systems.

One pallet would be conveyed within the lift carriage at any one time.

Powered infeed conveyors feed the system and gravity fed conveyors form the outfeed. They have holding capacity for multiple pallets which can then be stored ready for operators to offload.

Using gravity conveyors is the most cost effective option, both from a purchase perspective, as well as keeping operating costs low.


The lift operates to a maximum height at second floor level of just under 11 metres. The first floor was just under 6 metres.

The size of the pallet here was a standard 1 metre x 1.2 metre GKN with additional carriage space allowed for the overhang of palletised totes.

Pallets were fed into the system narrow edge leading.


In all pallet lift systems the integrity of the pallet base is key.


How did the System Perform?

The design of the KH15 was most appropriate as it could deal with the weights being conveyed as well as the required throughputs. If the weight had been in excess of 1500KG one of our 2.5 Tonne Heavy Duty Pallet lifts would have been more suitable.

When working at full capacity this system achieved up to 60 pallets an hour to the second floor level. These types of systems depending on the application can achieve throughputs of up to 120 pallets per hour.


Why did the customer choose NERAK?

We have worked with the customer over a number of years and previously supplied several Continuous Platform Elevators which are highly rated by site teams and maintenance personnel. The customer wanted a supplier they knew who had provided them with high quality lift systems and had demonstrated continually great service. They know our wider product portfolio, and we were that tried and tested supplier they were happy with.

Because we are a UK based manufacturer with design, installation, aftersales and service support capabilities they know we can always be on hand when they need us at all stages of the project both pre, during and post installation.

The resilience, longevity and reliability of the NERAK system gave them the capacity to effectively manage their increased throughput demands through peak periods. Importantly the lifts used rubber-chain technology which doesn’t require frequent lubrication. This results in very little downtime for service or maintenance and minimises the associated costs which is key when you are a site focused on maintaining as much profit as possible from returned Retail Store and E-Commerce orders.


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