Materials Handling press release
The beauty of the Mobicon is that we can finally unload
and load containers WHERE we want, WHEN we want and
utilise our site to its maximum capabilities "
· Operate Real Time Loading/Unloading
· Increase Labor Efficiencies
· Decrease Operating Expenses
· Reduce Site Congestion
Kagan eliminates terminal congestion
With the Melbourne division of Kagan Bros. Consolidated
unloading and loading hundreds of containers a week
the growing expenses of their Sideloader, and container
forklift, saddled with increasing issues in yard congestion
and labour utilisation, made them rethink the way
they were running the facility.
Kagans' Victorian division operates a third party
logistics and transport terminal on a 24 acre site
in Melbourne's western suburbs and is responsible
for the loading and unloading of containers on a daily
basis. The client base is diverse and requires different
storage and handling needs for each individual customer.
The site has eleven warehouses, all approximately
3500m2 each, that are individually dedicated to specific
customers' goods, and every client has a separately
secured storage area dedicated to them on site. Driveway
and hard stand access to these warehouses can be restrictive
and congested in peak times and was impacting on the
throughput of the operations and the bottom line.
Kagan operate a 30 tonne 20 / 40 capable forklift
truck for the unloading and loading of containers
on site. The forklift works on a dedicated pad and
facilitates the quick handling of laden containers
to and from trucks.
Previously, a yard based Sideloader was used to distribute
the laden containers around the site to each of the
dedicated warehouses, however, its cycle times, physical
size and operating costs did not provide an effective
solution. The Sideloader was restricted to where it
could physically place containers, which resulted
in increased handling costs per box movement. In addition,
the issue of slow cycle times caused the yard to become
choked with trucks, containers and staff. This resulted
in extended working hours, increased costs of labour
hire and created poor terminal throughput.
According to Mr Simon Neal, Kagan Warehouse Manager
the site can be restrictive to where they can unload
and load containers.
"A lot of the pavements and roadways to the warehouses
are bitumen and concrete and were not originally designed
for traffic of heavy forklifts, or the unloading and
loading of containers," Mr Neal said.
Mr Neal added that a second area on site was also
too difficult for the Sideloader to access as it is
narrow and compact which caused Kagan extreme limitations
for their growing operations.
purchase of the Sideloader had originally seemed
like a good idea but the mounting expenses and operating
costs associated with the equipment were too blatant
to ignore, while at the same time the demand from
our clients, who wanted to utilise our side-loader
on their site, was increasing daily
" Mr. Simon Neal
According to Mr Neal the Sideloader was costing Kagan
approximately $70 an hour to simply drop containers
near the site warehouses. The containers were often
dropped quite some distance away from the warehouse
entrances, as the side-loader was unable to place
the containers into a position that best suited the
operation. On average the Sideloader was only able
to handle 10 to 12 containers a day.
"The other problem we faced was the concentration
of employees and small forklifts around the containers
unloading activities. This would slow down the unloading
processes as well," he said
"It was simply not the most ideal solution for our
facility or our transport program. The costs were
too high for the benefits we were receiving and we
needed a better solution." Mr Neal said.
The Solution = The Mobicon System
The Mobicon System is designed to handle any length
container, from 16 foot (4.6 metres) through to 48
foot (14.6 metres). It lifts the load from the bottom,
which allows the operator to handle flat beds, tank
containers and curtain sided containers and keep the
overall height very low. The "Two Tower" design provides
the flexibility to operate on sloping or uneven surfaces.
Compacted gravel and bitumen yards are also suitable
for the Mobicon.
On site the Mobicon works in partnership with a 30
tonne forklift, and with the Mobicons' 33 tonne capacity,
takes laden containers from the receiving pad around
the site and places the containers adjacent to the
warehouse doors or inside when necessary. For Kagan,
the Mobicon also loads and unloads trucks at the position
of packing or unpacking. The purchase of a Mobicon
allows Kagan to operate real-time loading and unloading
programs, increase labour efficiencies, decrease operating
expenses and reduces site congestion.
The Mobicon System permits the effective separation
of the destuffing or stuffing operations, minimises
travel distances and ensures faster, more efficient
operations (less labour hire) and lessens the opportunity
for stock damage. The trucks now position themselves
next to the container rather than the forklift carrying
the container to them - to avoid double handling.
Benefits for Kagan Staff
The Mobicon places containers right where they are
needed, adjacent to the stock or storage area, effectively
separating the unloading or loading activities, reducing
congestion and making the workplace significantly
safer. Travel distances between the warehouse and
containers are dramatically reduced with the benefits
of less manpower required to achieve this task. The
faster cycle times of the Mobicon have eliminated
labour forces waiting times and the need for extended
unscheduled working hours.
Dramatically Reduced Operating Costs
According to Mr Neal the inefficiency of the Sideloader
was costing Kagan up to $3000 a week in additional
transport costs. The Mobicon has not incurred any
such costs to date.
Relocation of the Sideloader
The Sideloader was unable to cope with the container
throughput on the site, and the high lifting cycle
demand was wearing the Sideloader out. It was quickly
identified that there was too much strain on it and
that the machine was wearing out too quickly. At a
cost of approximately $160,000 to purchase a Sideloader
it was decided to relocate its usage to the transport
operations. The Sideloader is now used as an additional
service for Kagan customers and does not incur the
strains of high lift cycles as before.
On Site Benefits
o Ability to utilise more areas of the site due to
Mobicon designs, including low axle weight, low height,
faster cycle times, being able to drop containers
next to, or in to, warehouses, and being able to go
into places where the Sideloader could not. Container
forklifts weigh approximately 50 tonne, and then carry
up to 30 tonne containers. Therefore they have a maximum
weight of 80 tonnes or more, and many industrial estate
pavements are not designed to carry these loadings.
The Mobicon can operate on any pavements including
bitumen and compacted gravel.
o The Mobicon has eliminated the congestion of containers
and trucks on site and therefore has made Kagan a
safer workplace. Trucks can now move around the site
more easily, and are not faced with high people congestion
around unloading areas, forklifts and driveways.
o The Mobicon weighs only 12 tonne empty, and as the
weight is evenly spread across 8 wheels, the wheel
loadings are less than 6 tonne when carrying a 26
tonne container. This makes the Mobicon a lighter
and safer solution than the alternatives. ( Forklifts
and Reach Stackers)
o Kagan can now drop the containers closer to the
warehouse doors. The Mobicon can place containers
in to tight spots and will pass through a 3.8 metre
high by 4.7 metre wide door opening. This allows the
operator to transport the containers inside buildings
and unload into doorways. The Mobicon allows staff
to unload containers undercover, out of the rain or
o With the Mobicon, Kagan can get a 48 foot container
in to the warehouse; this is because it is designed
to straddle the container. It has the ability to move
in restrictive areas and can fully utilise all areas
of the site. The Mobicon is the first system that
can actually get containers into restricted warehouse
Benefits for Kagan Operations
With the Melbourne facility running eleven on site
warehouses at any one time, on 24 acres, the Mobicon
now allows for greater flexibility and increased efficiency
with its container movements.
Mr Neal has identified that the Mobicon travels approximately
12 Kilometres a day and can be utilised all day every
day, in and around the site.
Kagan have now introduced a night shift to the facility
where they may pick orders for the next day. The introduction
of both the night shift and the Mobicon enables containers
to be unloaded and loaded 24 hours a day. This significantly
increases their throughput and provides improved customer
There are now 7 operators trained on the Mobicon and
these staff are split over both shifts.
According to Mr Neal the Kagan Melbourne facility
can now focus on Housekeeping, Stock Integrity and
"2003 was about measuring ourselves for change and
we hit targets that were never reached before. We
are now more organised, cleaner, safer and more efficient
in everything we do thanks to the Mobicon." he said.
"The beauty of the Mobicon is that we can finally
unload and load containers WHERE we want, WHEN we
want and utilise our site to its maximum capabilities,"
Mr Neal said.
The Mobicon system was designed by Mr Tom Schults,
and is 100% Australian designed, owned and operated.