E-commerce Boom – Adapting Material Handling Systems for Increased Demand

E-commerce Boom – Adapting Material Handling Systems for Increased Demand

The e-commerce boom uncovers both challenges and opportunities, and it demands not just attention but strategic action. As businesses find themselves at the nexus of this transformative era, it’s become vital to adapt material handling systems to the surges in demand, the diversification of products, and the need for speed, accuracy, and sustainability. All this converges to necessitate a recalibration of how businesses approach their material handling processes. It’s not just about keeping pace; it’s about having a seamless, efficient, and future-ready workflow that positions your company as leader in this e-commerce revolution.

Discover how ABCO Systems can be your trusted partner in the journey to adapt your material handling systems in this ever-evolving landscape, with our comprehensive set of services.

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A Complete Guide to Mezzanines & Catwalks

A Complete Guide to Mezzanines & Catwalks

People tend to call any elevated platform a “mezzanine” these days, but that can be a big mistake, especially in the permitting process. The terms equipment (or work) platform and mezzanine both refer to structures that create an intermediate floor. There are some important nuances however, and whether you call a structure a mezzanine or an equipment platform can have serious implications when it comes to the ease of getting building permits, as well as construction costs. The impact on your taxes and depreciation will also vary depending on the term used.

What’s a warehouse mezzanine? What’s a work platform?

A mezzanine is a relatively permanent structure that is typically installed within an existing building or industrial facility. It is a raised platform that is constructed above the ground floor, typically supported by existing columns or posts, and is designed to provide additional floor space for storage, office space, or other purposes. Mezzanines can be designed and installed in a wide range of configurations to meet the specific needs of the facility.

Multilevel Pick Module

A warehouse platform, on the other hand, is a raised platform that is typically designed and constructed as a stand-alone structure with the aim to provide additional floor space for storage, manufacturing, or other industrial processes. Warehouse platforms are generally larger and more robust than mezzanines and are designed to support heavy loads and equipment.

The pivotal differences: Is it part of the facility? What will you be using it for?

The critical distinction lies in the platform’s association with the facility. It hinges on whether the authorities classify the mezzanine as an integral part of the building or as capital equipment. Numerous newly constructed buildings incorporate what they refer to as “mezzanine levels” into their structural design. When a platform is deemed an inherent component of a building rather than capital equipment, it may be subject to compliance with building codes, restroom requirements, accessibility standards, and may influence tax rates and depreciation schedules.

Another key factor is the intent – It is imperative to ensure that building permit authorities and regulatory bodies fully grasp the purpose and design of the structure. To achieve this, it’s advisable to refer to your mezzanine project using designations such as “work platforms,” “elevated platforms,” “storage platforms,” “equipment platforms,” etc. These terms offer greater precision and clarity compared to the overly encompassing and sometimes imprecise term “mezzanine.”

This can impact your taxes since in some states mezzanines are considered part of the square footage of the facility, while platforms aren’t. This can seriously impact on property taxes every year, as well as depreciation deductions since capital equipment depreciates differently.

Practical Applications

Combined with various warehouse automation equipment, mezzanines can provide a great option to grow in your existing footprint by optimal usage of the cube in a variety of applications:

  • Storage
  • Production
  • Offices/Administrative Space
  • Equipment positioning
  • Picking Modules

Utilizing the vertical space with a mezzanine means that you need to move material between levels without creating bottlenecks. This means that you will need automation equipment to move materials up and down between levels. The technology for this purpose can be grouped into 3 general categories:

  1. Spiral Conveyors. This type of conveyor has a small footprint and provides excellent throughput, usually for handling of cartons, totes and less than pallet loads.Pick Module with slat conveyors, belt conveyors and roller conveyors
  2. Incline Conveyors. Though it is less space efficient than spiral conveyors, the incline conveyor is a very economical and robust option for automated handling of a wide variety of loads.
  3. Vertical Lifts. These sturdy pieces of equipment have a small footprint and are particularly effective in setups where heavier loads or bulky items need to be lifted.

In a warehouse environment one of the most important advantages of elevated platforms is their high-density storage application. Generally speaking, these can be classified in 3 groups:

  1. Rack Supported Mezzanines. These mezzanine configurations combine high bay pallet racking with walkways between the rack. The racks can be fitted with carton flow for dense order picking and mixed storage of pallets. Rack supported mezzanines allow a multitude of options for customization and are a very economical choice for vertical space utilization.Shelving Mezzanine
  2. Shelving Mezzanines. Applied in configurations for handling small items such as parts or tools. This type of platform maximizes the number of storage bins, allowing for a great number of SKUs to be organized in a concentrated space while remaining easily accessible for pickers.
  3. Multilevel Pick Modules. These highly customizable solutions integrate various storage solutions that enable a very efficient movement of product by combining elements of mezzanines with conveyors, spirals, pallet/carton flow, static racking and shelving, pick/put to light etc. They are specially designed with zoning and provide significant cost savings for broken pallet, full-case or open-carton picking.

How we can help you

The choice between a mezzanine and a warehouse platform ultimately depends on the specific needs of the facility and the goals of the business. As a true systems integrator, ABCO Systems also has a vast experience in designing and delivering these kinds of solutions, including a very efficient navigation of the permitting process. Reach out to us today to get started!

Navigating the Maze: A Technology Guide to AGVs and their Applications

Navigating the Maze: A Technology Guide to AGVs and their Applications

In the labyrinth world of modern warehousing, where precision and efficiency reign supreme, the emergence of Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGVs) has been nothing short of revolutionary. AGVs are able to navigate through this intricate maze, transforming the way businesses handle material transport within their facilities. In this guide, we embark on a journey through the winding paths of AGVs, unveiling their capabilities, diverse applications, and the manifold benefits they bring to the logistics and warehousing business operations.

AGVs: The Vanguard of Automation

Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGVs) are self-contained, self-propelled robotic vehicles engineered to perform material transport tasks autonomously. These tireless machines navigate through warehouses using an array of navigation systems, each with its unique advantages and applications.

The Navigation Spectrum

AGVs use several different types of navigation systems, each designed to suit specific environments and tasks:

Magnetic Guide Tape: AGVs equipped with magnetic sensors follow predefined paths marked by magnetic tape on the floor, making them ideal for precise, repeatable routes.

Wired Navigation: Wired navigation uses embedded wires or cables in the floor to guide AGVs, ensuring they remain on their designated paths.

Laser Target Navigation: AGVs use lasers to identify and follow reflective targets placed strategically throughout the warehouse, providing flexibility in route planning.

Inertial Navigation: These AGVs rely on accelerometers and gyroscopes to track their movement, making them adaptable to dynamic environments.

Vision Guidance: Vision-based systems use cameras and machine vision algorithms to navigate, offering high flexibility and adaptability.

Geoguidance: These systems utilize natural features like landmarks or magnetic fields for navigation, ideal for outdoor or non-standard environments.

LiDAR: AGVs equipped with LiDAR sensors create detailed maps of their surroundings, enabling precise positioning and obstacle avoidance.

Applications for AGVs

AGVs are versatile workhorses with applications spanning various industries:

Automated Guided Carts: Ideal for carrying smaller loads and materials within factories and warehouses.Automated Pallet Jack by Multiway RoboticsForklift AGVs: Equipped with forklift mechanisms, these AGVs excel in pallet handling and are commonly used in logistics and distribution centers.

Towing AGVs: These AGVs tow multiple carts, optimizing material flow and reducing the need for manual transport.

Unit Handler AGVs

Unit Load Handlers: Designed for heavy lifting, unit load handlers excel in moving large, single items.

Heavy Burden Carriers: These robust AGVs are built for transporting exceptionally heavy loads, making them indispensable in industries like automotive manufacturing.

Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs): AMRs are highly adaptable AGVs that can be programmed for various tasks, from material transport to collaborative operations with human workers.

Benefits of AGVs

The adoption of AGVs in warehouses and manufacturing facilities yields a multitude of benefits:

Increased Efficiency: AGVs operate 24/7, reducing downtime and increasing productivity. Their precise navigation minimizes travel time and optimizes material flow.

Enhanced Accuracy: AGVs are programmed to follow predefined routes with exceptional precision, reducing the risk of human error in material handling.

Labor Cost Reduction: With AGVs handling routine tasks, human workers can focus on higher-value activities, leading to labor cost savings.

Space Optimization: AGVs can navigate in tight spaces and vertical storage environments, making the most of available storage space.

Safety: AGVs are equipped with safety features such as obstacle detection and collision avoidance systems, ensuring a safe working environment for both robots and human workers.

Flexibility and Scalability: Warehouses are dynamic environments, and AGVs are designed to adapt. They can be reprogrammed or reconfigured swiftly to accommodate changes in product types, demand patterns, or operational layouts. As businesses grow, AGV fleets can also be easily expanded or reconfigured to adapt to changing needs.


By better understanding the classifications, navigation systems, applications, and potential of AGVs, businesses can make an informed decision on which AGV is right to streamline their operations, enhance accuracy and improve safety. Reach out to us today to get world class consulting and explore the potential of AGVs and the great opportunities they bring to the world of warehousing.

How Effective Warehouse Design Impacts Inventory Management

How Effective Warehouse Design Impacts Inventory Management

In the complex landscape of modern commerce, the role of a well-designed warehouse cannot be underestimated. The efficient movement and management of inventory lie at the heart of any successful supply chain, and it all begins with the meticulous design of the warehouse itself. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the crucial relationship between warehouse design and inventory management, exploring how a thoughtfully planned layout can spell the difference between chaos and streamlined success.

The Blueprint for Efficiency

Warehouse design isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about optimizing every inch of available space for maximum efficiency. A strategically planned layout takes into consideration the types of products stored, their demand patterns, and the frequency of movement. By categorizing products based on their characteristics and turnover rates, an effective design can minimize travel time and reduce the likelihood of congestion. This means faster picking, packing, and replenishment processes, ultimately leading to shorter lead times and happier customers.

Zoning for Success

Zoning is the art of assigning specific areas of the warehouse for different activities. From receiving and storage to order picking and shipping, each zone is tailored to support its intended function. A well-zoned warehouse not only reduces unnecessary movement but also minimizes the risk of errors. High-demand items are placed closer to packing stations, while slower-moving inventory is stored in less accessible areas. This strategic allocation ensures that valuable labor and time are directed where they matter most.

Technology Integration

In the digital age, effective warehouse design goes hand in hand with technology integration. Automated storage and retrieval systems, conveyor belts, and robotics all play a pivotal role in optimizing inventory management. These technological advancements are seamlessly integrated into the warehouse layout, enhancing accuracy, speed, and scalability. For instance, the synergy between robotics and storage solutions allows for real-time inventory tracking, reducing the chances of stockouts and overstocks.

Futureproofing Through Flexibility

The only constant in business is change, and warehouse design must accommodate this reality. Flexibility is key to future-proofing a facility. Storage systems that can be reconfigured and expanded without major disruptions are our specialty. This adaptability allows your warehouse to adjust to shifting demands, new product lines, and evolving industry trends. As a result, inventory management remains agile and responsive.

Visibility and Analytics

Effective inventory management requires accurate data and real-time insights. A well-designed warehouse incorporates technology that provides visibility into stock levels, order status, and movement patterns. Advanced analytics enable better forecasting, allowing businesses to adjust inventory levels based on historical data and demand projections. By aligning warehouse design with data-driven decision-making, businesses can avoid overstocking, reduce carrying costs, and improve overall financial health.


In the intricate web of supply chain operations, an effective warehouse design serves as the linchpin that holds everything together. When you partner with ABCO Systems, this crucial aspect of success comes with an exceptional advantage. Our team specializes in crafting tailor-made warehouse designs that are meticulously aligned with your unique needs. What’s more, these custom designs become an invaluable asset practically at no cost when you tap into our comprehensive suite of services.

By working with ABCO Systems, you’re not just working with a service provider; you’re gaining a strategic partner that understands all the intricacies of warehouse design and is dedicated to helping you excel in every step of your supply chain journey. Contact us today to get started.

9 Key Benefits of Preventative Maintenance

9 Key Benefits of Preventative Maintenance

The costs of downtime to large manufacturing and industrial organizations have skyrocketed since 2020, the latest True Cost of Donwtime 2022 Report reveals. As the report indicates, in the manufacturing industry alone, unplanned downtime costs manufacturers at least 50% more today than it did in the period 2019-20, due to inflation and production lines running at higher capacity. The estimates are that unplanned downtime will cost Fortune Global 500 industrial companies a staggering $1.5trn this year, or around 11% of their annual revenues.

Many companies continue to struggle to obtain maintenance programs for their equipment. Effective maintenance programs reduce downtime, extend equipment life, and minimize repair time when equipment failures do occur.

Implementing a conveyor maintenance program offers a range of benefits that can positively impact the efficiency, safety, and overall performance of a conveyor system within a facility. Some key benefits include:

1. Extended Conveyor Lifespan: Regular maintenance helps identify and address issues early, preventing minor problems from escalating into major breakdowns. This extends the overall lifespan of the conveyor system, reducing the need for frequent replacements.

2. Reduce Downtime: Planned maintenance minimizes unexpected downtime due to breakdowns. This leads to increased production uptime, improved operational efficiency, and better utilization of resources.

3. Enhanced Safety: a well-maintained conveyor system is safer for workers and reduces the risk of accidents or injuries caused by faulty equipment. Regular maintenance ensures that safety features like emergency stop buttons and guards are functioning and secured properly.

4. Optimized Performance: Regular maintenance keeps the conveyor system running at its optimal performance level. This leads to consistent product quality, reduced product damage, and improved throughput.

5. Cost Savings: Preventive maintenances programs are typically more cost effective than reactive repairs. Addressing issues before they become major problems can save on repair costs, replacement parts, and the expenses associated with unplanned downtime.

6. Improved Efficiency: A conveyor system that is well-maintained operates smoothly and efficiently. This helps streamline the workflow, reduce bottlenecks, and increase overall productivity.

7. Lower Energy Consumption: Regular maintenance can include checks on motors, belts, and other components that impact energy efficiency. A well-maintained conveyor system operates more efficiently and consumes less energy.

8. Predictive maintenance: A comprehensive maintenance program can incorporate predictive maintenance techniques, such as using sensors and data analytics to predict when components are likely to fail. This allows for more targeted maintenance interventions.

9. Improved Record Keeping: A maintenance program typically involves keeping detailed records of maintenance activities, repairs, and replacements. These records can provide valuable insights over time, helping you make informed decisions about future upgrades or replacements.

In conclusion, a well-designed conveyor maintenance program offers numerous benefits that contribute to increased efficiency, safety, and cost savings. It’s an investment that pays off in terms of improved overall operation and reduced risks. Contact us today, to learn how we can help your business run smoothly with our comprehensive Maintenance Program.

Enhance Safety with Automation

Enhance Safety with Automation

Safety is of paramount importance in any warehousing operation. At ABCO Systems, we understand the gravity of this responsibility, and as a leading material handling integrator company, we take it upon ourselves to champion the cause of workplace safety. With this white paper, we aim to shed light on the transformative impact of automated material handling equipment in creating a safer work environment for all. Contact us today to learn how we can help you create a safer working environment.

Click the “Able Approved” icon to download the “Enhancing Safety in Warehousing Operations: The Role of Automated Material Handling Equipment” – White Paper.