New Afton’s warehouse facility has been nearing capacity and has required constant maintenance and movement of parts to optimize the use of the limited space. When faced with the need to expand our storage capacity, Warehouse Supervisor Chris Humphrey and his team came up with an innovative solution to increase the capacity of the current warehouse space at just ten percent of the cost of a new building.
The installation of the Kardex Vertical Storage (KVS) machines in the spring of 2023 significantly increased our storage capacity in the warehouse by increasing the density with which we can store small parts. Parts held within the machine are warehoused in trays that are stored vertically and accessed at the lower level. When one or more items are requested, the automated process brings the appropriate trays down to the access point for picking. The KVS units require only 100 square feet of floor space per machine and can hold up to 700 square feet of inventory storage.
Having most small parts stored in one location minimizes the steps taken in a day for the warehouse team, and restocking and pulling orders at one level improves ergonomics and safety. The KVS units also reduce the time for picking up orders and shelving parts while increasing inventory accuracy, and these increase productivity for the warehouse staff. Having small parts in the KVS will allow the warehouse to repurpose a large portion of the current floor space for heated, indoor storage of weather-sensitive parts.
New Afton is the first mine in North America with the KVS system in place. To date we have over 2,500-line items now stored in the KVS machines and this has made it possible to have the majority of select vendor’s parts stored in one central location. It will take the rest of the year to ramp up to full storage capacity, but this innovative solution along with planned procurement software integration will contribute to increased efficiency for the entire site, and is a demonstration of New Gold’s values of Creativity and Teamwork in action.