Rack International Ltd, design and marketing of sliding shelf systems
for industrial storage applications, especially for the storage of injection
moulding tool dies, and major components for the aircraft manufacturing
industry. The company has annual sales of 1.5 M Euro, and employs 4
people. The company's industrial activity is classified as the manufacture
of metal structures and parts of structures (Prodcom classification
code 2811), and the company has no prior experience in the use of any
The company's major market is injection moulding subcontract companies
where the sliding shelf system provides an efficient method of storing
dies and mould tools. Alternative markets include the provision of storage
for jigs, fixtures and major component parts for aircraft and helicopter
construction, metal fabrication companies, and for storage of major
components such as electric motors, gearboxes and valves in general
engineering manufacturing applications.
The company's existing product range is entirely mechanical. This
limits the application to the storage of products that are below Health
and Safety requirements on the movement of loads by manual effort. Heavy
loads of several tonnes therefore, need to be moved by the use of fork
lift trucks or other means, and this significantly reduces the application
of the company's sliding storage systems.
The rationale of the application experiment was to remove this fundamental
limitation of the existing system, and thereby open up new market opportunities
for the company's racking systems.
The objective of the application experiment was to automate the existing
Glide Out range of products using microcontroller technology so as to
overcome safe opening load limitation, and to further improve the product
by the addition of the following features:
- Inventory control record keeping features to enable shelf operation
to be activated using part numbers entered by the operators.
- Safety monitoring and warning systems, including load monitoring,
interlock monitoring and the activation of warning lights and audible
alarms during shelf movement.
These facilities has resulted in a unique product in the market place
enabling the company to exploit new market opportunities, offering the
potential for a significant increase in the company's sales.
The sales revenue increase will produce a payback period for the 43
K Euro costs of the application experiment of approximately 17 months.
The return on investment over a 4 year product life is estimated to
The duration of the application experiment was 9 months. The industrialisation
costs for the prototype product is estimated as 10 K Euro.