racks
 

Smart rack for big parts



"It’s a really brilliant solution. It’s smart and simple, prevents a lot of damage and reduces our transport costs and the amount of extra work needed." Kent Olsson, Supply Chain Manager at Volvo Buses Säffle, is enthusiastic about the new rack developed in cooperation between Volvo Logistics and Volvo Buses.

It is intended for transporting body sections to the factory, holds one or more parts and can be folded when empty. It also makes it possible to sequence even large components and is now part of the V-EMB range.

Challenges and customer needs
The body factory in Säffle in Sweden found that too many components were being damaged and that its transport and handling costs for incoming body sections were too high. The problem became increasingly evident when the One Bus Concept (OBC) was introduced. The traditional way of building a bus body uses profiles and sheets of aluminium or steel. The OBC method involves assembling module frames and covering them with rear, front and side panels made of glass fibre. In turn this means larger incoming components – up to 2500 mm in size, weighing 80 kg and comprising around 30 different articles. This gave rise to the need for a more rational and durable packaging solution, instead of the hand-made wooden racks which were previously used. These offered poor protection, besides being bulky and time-consuming to pack and unpack.

Our solution
Inspired by a wooden rack from the factory yard, a foldable steel rack was developed. In this new rack, module sections up to 2500x1220 mm can be stacked standing upright. The height is limited only by the trailer’s height. What makes the rack really smart and flexible is that the components are separated and protected by padded aluminium bars that fit into holes in the rack ends. The holes are in a pattern that makes it possible to arrange the bars to suit almost any kind of component from tiny windscreens to bulky modules. Therefore, the rack can easily be adapted to carry one, two or many components just by varying the number of bars and the distance between them. Furthermore, the rack is foldable resulting in a flat, only 390 mm thick package.

The result
The amount of damage has been reduced dramatically and so has the time needed for packing and unpacking. The filling degree has also improved. Instead of, for instance, loading the largest modules flat on the trailer in pairs, six times as many can be carried standing upright in the racks. Another benefit is that the racks can be used for sequencing, because a complete front module for one bus fits into one rack. And as the racks can be folded, less storage space is required. All in all, this is an extremely flexible solution, ideally suited for large components used in small to medium-sized production runs.

In the first phase of the project, the racks have been used for transporting components to the Säffle plant. The racks and bars are now part of our standard range and the packaging pool (V-EMB 285/288). The amount of damage has been reduced dramatically and so has the time needed for packing and unpacking. The filling degree has also improved. Instead of, for instance, loading the largest modules flat on the trailer in pairs, six times as many can be carried standing upright in the racks. Another benefit is that the racks can be used for sequencing, because a complete front module for one bus fits into one rack. And as the racks can be folded, less storage space is required. All in all, this is an extremely flexible solution, ideally suited for large components used in small to medium-sized production runs.In the first phase of the project, the racks have been used for transporting components to the Säffle plant. The racks and bars are now part of our standard range and the packaging pool (V-EMB 285/288).