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Cabela's Material Handling Case Study

Today's case study is going to be on Cabela's Wheeling West VA distribution cent
er. This is a rendering for Cabela's distribution center. It's actually two buil
dings, building one for phase one, and building two for phase two. Items that we
re provided in phase two are shown in yellow, almost everything in building two
and the Put-to-Light sorter in building one. Generally product flows in from the
receiving area into the pick module, into the accumulation and pack area, and t
hen on to the catalog sorter. The other path is from receiving to the Put-to-lig
ht sorter, and directly out to the retail sorter. In building two, it's either f
ull case product handled in this facility and it's either direct to the one sort
er that handles both retail operation and consumer operation and product flows o
ut of that ship sorter and into those different areas.
Cabela's titles itself as the world's most foremost outfitter. They are big in h
unting, fishing, camping, and boating equipment. They sell predominantly through
the catalog and the internet, but in the last decade, they've been increasing t
heir sales through the large retail showrooms.
Cabela's project was funded by the Ohio County Development Authority. They are a
federal agency that uses funding to help spark development in the different reg
ional areas. This development is called the highlands. It's a former mine that w
as stripped down decades ago. Cabela's was the first development in the Highland
s area. They have both a store and a distribution center, and this is located ri
ght off of I-70. It is a three phase project, and Bastian's has been awarded the
first two phases beginning in 2004 and completing stage 2 in 2006. Ohio county
is actually the purchaser of all the material handling equipment within the faci
lity and so we are contracted with Ohio county. There are also labor requirement
s because it's a government project, so 75 % of the labor drove us predominantly
into a union institution.
As I mentioned before, there are two phases; the first one much larger than the
second. The first phase began in 2004, and the second phase after a few months i
n 2006. We began installation in June and went live July through December of 200
6. It was a phased implementation.
Phase one was very large, one of the largest- over 600,000 square feet, over 25,
000 feet of conveyor, and it has two Hytrol pro-sort sorters- one for the retail
and one for the catalog operation. The most difficult part of the project was t
he catalog sort which was double sided, and can handle over 90 cartons per minut
e. That was definitely the most challenging part, the rest of it was transportat
ion and other portions. One of the most unique things about this project is this
is the first time we've used an indexing belt communication for a sawtooth merg
e. That worked out very nicely for the product they handle and the rates we need
ed to achieve. The project also included a large pick module, over 87,000 square
foot alone in a pick-module, and almost 50,000 square foot of mezzanines. There
were also a couple different types of truck extenders- loaders and un-loaders,
the most unique of which is a Stuart Unloader Pack that can actually that can tr
avel spur multiple doors. We also did all the selective and drive-in rack within
the phase one project.
Phase two project expansion was slightly smaller, but still very large. We had a
bout 6000 feet of conveyor as compared to the first phase's 25,000 feet, at this
point we had two Hytrol Prosort 400's, the first for the ship-alone in building

It has easy accumulation lanes and when a slug is formed it will th en progress on to a belt conveyor. The next area is the accumulation pack area. and this is a view of the pro-sort ship-alone for the ship conveyor and a side v iew of the gravity extendable lanes. One of the things with the pick module is after the fact. This is a picture of all the accumul ation lanes. The next section is the catalog and retail sorters. T hings to note: we used some Blue Arc Traveling Spur gates that were hinged to on e of the gravity lanes that worked out really well. the pi ck-module. These are located on the shi pping dock. This also shows the auto-b oxes on the ground which were apart of the phase two installation that fed into the existing catalog sorter. and we also used some gravity extendabl e loaders. This is a picture of the pick module. We have a 240 Put to L ight system provided by ASAP Automation. This is where product is automatically repleni shed via the pick-belt that runs down the center of the conveyor of the module. The operator at the end of each lane will push it down the ac cumulated lane as its called for and needed. The most complicated part of this project was the ship-alone sorter which was a 60 carton per minute operatio n with a product that had an average length of 52 inches. it is a two-sided sorter which s hips product directly onto UPS. They are lined up almost directly in line with one another. we tied in the line from the existing area to the put-to-light sorter. The retail sorter was o riginally used in phase one for ship-alone products and in phase two converted t o a retail sorter. and will later be released to the p ack stations when the accumulator is ready. . This was a phase two project. and product that does not divert off there will continue downstairs whe re there are additional lanes or can continue directly onto the pick-module for replenishment. The ship-alone area is the next area. The three to one merge send items to the pro-sorter and there is a recirculation line that feeds items back in. This is a view from the sawtooth merge lookin g back on the mezzanine. The receiving area is the first area highlighted in yellow. they were asking for some trash chutes for the empty c orrugate so we developed a trash chute using vinyl that would be found used to s eparate airtight rooms which was really neat. USPS. so product that comes from the pick -module is sent to the accumulation-pack area. The next area is the pick-module. and this is where we have the traversing extendable conveyors shown in blue. We added a new foot to take across the receiving area to the put-to-light and the cross-do ck area. and some of the packaging equipment were provided by others as they d ecided to divide the project up to multiple suppliers. Product from here goes through the three level module. This is a view further up of the actual sawtooth lanes feeding from the pack stations to the catalog sorter. This is a picture of product exiting the three level pick module for the ship-alone. We used a 3-1 merge for this phase of the operation as opposed to a saw-tooth merge in order to get the rates we need ed to achieve and the size of the product. This shows the c hutes from both the catalog and the retail sorter that are connected to the exte ndable. This is the merge-in that we have on the retail side. or FedEx. This is a view down the catalog sorter. It is a three-level module with various belts and gravity conveyors in between e ach one. two and the for the put-to-light in building one. It's very hard to see from one en d to the other because it's over 700 feet long. and they handle items that go out to fill mainly catalog orders. The product flows up the extendables into the receiving area where it is sorted depending o n the quality of that vendor and the product coming in at that point. This is a series of 16 lanes that are side-by-side. The rack. These can be matched up with fixed spurs based on where the door is for your loading point. s o we used the gravity extendables which worked out very nicely. This is a picture of some of the equipment up on the mezzanine. At this point they wanted to save money versus the belt extendable.

the other type actually spirals around and goes underneath the sorter for put-away on the receiving operation. The product is merged togethe r and feeds the sorter. Product that goes down the put-to-light lanes will use the ASAP Put-to-Light s ystem to indicate which bins and boxes the product should enter. The sort codes are manually entered across the screen but there are w ays to enter those and download them through a system and ASAP have been in char ge of all those interfaces. which tracks real time rates describing how product goes through the system. so product doesn 't need to go to either one of those areas. One of the new things we've added to our Exacta sort package is a rate monitor. As mentioned before. The first type of lane goes down to feed the put-to-light system. and there's an option to go straight through and to cross dock. they're put on the same belt as the cross-dock belt. This is just a couple of different views of our standard package with the col or coding. it can directly to the retail sorter . We have our standard RS view of HMI's.The final area is the put-to-light area. and that's convey ed up to the retail sorter. When the cases are full. this receives product from th e mezzanine or from the pick area in building one. . and all of this is done by Controls in BM H. There are two different type of lanes. This was installed as part of phase two but was put in building one.