Challenge: Provide an ergonomic, elevated platform flooring solution that ensures product flow efficiency as well as an effective work environment for employees
Solution: ResinDek® LD panels with Gray Diamond Seal® finish were installed because of their ergonomic benefits, compared to that of bar grating or concrete flooring
Steele Solutions, an industrial steel mezzanine and elevated work platform manufacturer, recently completed the design and installation of multiple mezzanines and elevated work platforms in three new, greenfield facilities built by one of North America's largest big box omni-channel retailer. The new distribution centers located in Logan, New Jersey; Chicago, Illinois; and Riverside, California feature advanced conveyor and sortation systems running throughout the buildings. This enables each facility to serve both direct-to-consumers and e-commerce customers with parcel shipping and retail store replenishment needs through cross-docking and building of mixed pallets.
"The Chicago and New Jersey facilities are essentially mirror images of each other," explained Natalie Gundrum, Director of Sales at Steele Solutions. "The platforms inside the building total 105,350 square feet, with 97,000 square feet of the platforms being decked with ResinDek flooring. The California location is over two times larger with the platforms totaling 228,610 square feet and more than 212,000 square feet were decked with ResinDek flooring."
"The retailer insisted on using the ResinDek LD flooring with the Gray Diamond Seal finish throughout each distribution center, because of its ergonomic flooring benefits to its workforce," continued Gundrum. "The mezzanines are located in and around conveyor and sortation systems and feature multiple workstations where associates pick, handle, pack, and process products," she explained. "ResinDek offers the most comfortable flooring surface to stand on when compared to bar grating or concrete, particularly when their workers might be on the job for up to 12-hour shifts."
"While employee ergonomics has historically been important to facility owners and operators, it has become even more so today," said Kevin O'Neill, President of Steele Solutions. "It has become so difficult for warehouses and distribution centers to find talent and to retain the staffing levels they need; companies are emphasizing ergonomics now more than ever before when choosing their mezzanine flooring surfaces."
"Personnel working on the mezzanines and other structures we build are more productive when they aren't sore, aching, or fatigued from standing on concrete or bar grating," O'Neill continued. "It's widely acknowledged that ResinDek is a more ergonomic solution compared to the other choices out there. And you can definitely feel the difference when you're standing on ResinDek."
Keith Shipman, National Sales Manager for Cornerstone Specialty Wood Products, noted that research was conducted by Dr. Steve Lavender for Ohio State University's Institute of Ergonomics. Dr. Lavender found that those who worked on concrete or bar grate flooring experienced increased tibial shock as compared to those who worked on ResinDek flooring.
ResinDek LD with the Gray Diamond Seal finish is a cost-effective engineered composite wood flooring that supports dynamic and static pallet jack loads up to 2,000 pounds. Supplied in 0.75-inch-thick panels measuring up to 4 x 10 feet, ResinDek precision-engineered panels feature a tongue-and-groove configuration promoting effective panel-to-panel wheel load transfer. ResinDek panels are backed by comprehensive design engineering services, and a 10-year product warranty.
"We typically don't work with any flooring suppliers other than Cornerstone," continued O'Neill. "The emphasis they put on continuously improving their product, testing it, standing behind it, and supporting us and our customers in the field sets them apart."
For the retailer's three new distribution facilities, Steele Solutions worked directly with the manufacturer of the conveyor and sortation systems to determine the optimal location, height, and size of each elevated platform in all three building to ensure product flow efficiency and an effective work environment for employees. Because the system designs routed products throughout the buildings, Steele Solutions also determined the ideal placement of stairs and crossovers that allow personnel to move safely around the equipment as they perform their tasks.
"Every project we do is custom engineered and manufactured to fit the structures within the application," O'Neill said. "Our structures are also typically the last piece designed, and the first material needed on site. Therefore, by working with key partners like Cornerstone, Steele Solutions can coordinate the delivery of the materials so that our system integrator customers have the components they need when they need them. They can also interface directly with our suppliers if they have questions or need assistance during the installation."
Although the majority of the design, engineering, fabrication, and installation work was completed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gundrum said that the entire project ran smoothly. "Steele Solutions, like a lot of companies in our field, used video conferencing and other web tools to work with the integrator, building owner, and the end user," she added.
"Two of the facilities have been commissioned and are currently operational," she concluded, noting that the California location is slated for completion in 2022.
Steele Solutions offers complete, end-to-end project design, engineering, fabrication, and delivery for industrial facilities nationwide. A long-time partner of Cornerstone Specialty Wood Products, LLC®, Steele Solutions stocks ResinDek® LD engineered wood flooring panels with the Gray Diamond Seal® 2 finish for projects with exceptionally tight delivery and installation timeframes.