The Use of Mezzanines in Warehouse Automation and Integration

The Use of Mezzanines in Warehouse Automation and Integration

How Can Mezzanines Be Used For Warehouse Automation and Integration?

Warehousing is a big industry in Australia, employing about 5% of the workforce. However, employment is not the only area where the warehousing industry is leading. It’s also at the forefront in terms of workplace injuries.

According to research, it has almost the double average national rate of workplace injuries in the country. So, what can we do?

Undoubtedly, warehouses are dangerous places to work in, but increasing automation can offer a solution.

Automating dangerous and excessively risky tasks cannot only help reduce the workplace injury rate, but also increase productivity while helping to reduce the cost. It also eliminates the need to constantly hire qualified workers, which was reported as the industry’s biggest challenge in 2019.

There are plenty of ways to optimize automation in warehouses. Adding a mezzanine floor to your existing footprint is one of them. Let’s discuss in detail, shall we?

Warehouse Automation and Integration through Mezzanines

Adding a mezzanine floor to increase the storage space in a warehouse isn’t a new practice. But with the increasing interest in automation, warehouses are using their vertical storage space to optimize automation.

How Can Mezzanines Help in Warehouse Automation and Integration?

Mezzanines are cost-effective solutions to use the vertical space, allowing businesses to maximize their ground space and use it for manual or more time-sensitive tasks. With an increasing adoption of mezzanines and automation mechanisms in the warehouse industry, they are primarily being used for automated machineries, such as robot pickers and conveyors. By separating automated machinery from where the employees are, mezzanines can also help improve workplace safety without affecting productivity or work efficiency, along with ensuring the smooth running of automated functions.

Modern warehouses are continuously working to improve their throughput without putting their employees’ health and safety at risk. Automation proves to be the most reliable method. Not only does it offer the said benefits, but it also supports employees’ productivity.

In a 2020 survey conducted by Peerless Research Group on behalf of Modern Materials Handling on Optimizing Space and Supporting Automation with Elevated Flooring and Mezzanines, a whopping 2.7% of the respondents said that adding a mezzanine to their warehouses provided increased worker comfort. About half of the respondents voted in favour of improved worker safety whereas the same number of people reported improved capacity management or planning as the greatest benefit of elevated flooring.

The participants were those involved in the decision-making processes related to their organisations’ warehouses and distribution centre (DC) operations from various industries.

45.5% of the survey participants said adding mezzanines can lead to improved throughput. Reduction of back pain in workers and reduced operating cost were the two other reported benefits.

To get a well-rounded view of how mezzanines and elevated platforms fit in the modern fulfilment facilities, the surveyors also reached out to companies and individuals who sell and integrate these vertical storage structures in warehouses and distribution centres. When asked which flooring surfaces they think work the best for elevated platforms, the majority voted in favour of composite engineered wood flooring. 77.8% said it provides the most flexibility for any future changes, 70% said it’s the easiest to install, and 66.7% of mezzanine professionals said the composite engineered wood flooring provides the most value.

Concrete was found to be the second-best material for elevated flooring in warehouses. However, it was significantly behind composite engineered wood flooring.

When those responsible for warehouse and DC automation were asked about their biggest concerns when adding or thinking about adding elevated flooring to their space, 66.7% said ease of integration in their current environment was highly important. Out of these, 35.4% of the participants said it was ‘extremely important’ for them, whereas 31.3% rated it ‘very important.’


Using Mezzanines for Warehouse Automation – Examples

Amazon has integrated mezzanine platforms in many of its warehouses for automation optimisation. They are used to carry conveyors across the facilities to transport items from one place or department to another, leaving the ground space free to use for employees.

Ocado Group, a retail company in the UK that also provides grocery fulfilment technology to several retailers across the globe, including Coles Group in Australia and Kroger in the US, also uses mezzanines in its warehouses for auto-bagging machines.

ASOS, a leading fashion and cosmetic retailer, has also benefited from mezzanines in streamlining the automation processes in its warehouses and distribution centres.

Summing Up

Smart technology is the way ahead in all industries, including warehousing, and companies know it. This is why there has been an increased interest and investment in technology adoption and updates. Several research studies have also confirmed that a majority of companies are planning to invest in automating their warehouses, production and fulfilment, and distribution centres this year. According to research conducted by Parcel Monitor, an ecommerce logistics community platform, smart warehouses are one of the top 3 trends to watch in the logistics and supply chain industry in 2022.

While mezzanines aren’t essentially a part of automation processes, they help maximize warehouse automation benefits.

Is warehouse automation on your 2022 agenda, too? Make sure you include the mezzanine in your to-do list. Get in touch with us for the best mezzanine solutions for your needs. At Unistor, we offer an all-in-one solution to your storage and automation support needs with design, manufacture, and installation services for mezzanine floor systems in Australia. Contact us to discuss your needs and get started with your warehouse automation goal.

Double the floor space in your warehouse

Contact our professionals today to tailor a Mezzanine Floor solution to meet your requirements