In an effort to better support the growing North American market for automated-storage-and-retrieval (AS/RS) systems, FKI Logistex (St. Louis) is now manufacturing its hybrid AS/RS cranes in the United States at its plant in St. Louis, Mo.
"Many of our North American customers are asking that our equipment be built stateside and with U.S. parts to avoid the volatility of currency risk, to increase spare parts availability, and to reduce shipping costs," says Ken Matson, executive vice president, manufacturing systems, FKI Logistex North America. "Additionally, we have seen a trend in some markets that our equipment be specified with U.S. parts to meet their manufacturing guidelines."
"This move shows our strong commitment to responding to these market requests," Matson adds. "We will be increasing our spare parts stock in St. Louis, supporting our cranes with a larger technical and manufacturing operation, and meeting the demands of our marketplace."
FKI Logistex has begun manufacturing a model of its Maestro crane in St. Louis as part of a large order for one of its U.S.-based customers. The model has undergone an engineering conversion for local manufacture. The rest of the FKI Logistex crane product line, including all of the company's Condor units, will still be manufactured in the United Kingdom.
"We chose the FKI Logistex St. Louis facility because of its highly skilled workforce that is accustomed to building computer-controlled equipment like palletizers," Matson explains. "The St. Louis plant has a strong philosophy of equipment testing and is known throughout the industry for producing high-quality, reliable products."
Once the semi-automatic Maestro models currently being manufactured are completed, automated versions will likely be built next, ramping up to units with different load handlers. A St. Louis-based manufacturing technical support team has been organized to provide support with an intimate knowledge of the new crane manufacture.
Approximately 70% of FKI Logistex cranes support distribution for retailers and manufacturers, while another 30% directly support manufacturing processes. FKI Logistex cranes are typically used in high-bay warehouses in AS/RS applications, where they take advantage of vertical space to reduce the need for costly warehouse floor space.