Automated Storage and Retrieval Solution

Manufacturing facilities often have to pause production for maintenance - scheduled or otherwise - resulting in potentially expensive downtime.

SCX Special Projects designed and installed a bespoke and fully-automated ‘pick-and-place’ handling system to move giant paper rolls from a storage area to a downstream production process, helping our client to minimise the impact of maintenance downtime.

The Challenge

A major paper manufacturer was finding that all-important maintenance of their upstream machinery created a costly inconvenience when production had to be halted.

Our client envisaged a buffer store of 4-tonne, 80-inch diameter paper rolls, ready for use when the main production process was interrupted. However, the store comprised of two rooms, each on different floors, and one with very limited headroom.

The Solution

SCX Special Projects designed and installed a multi-crane bespoke buffer store handling system that seamlessly integrated with the downstream process plant, thereby avoiding the costly pauses in production.

We created a fully automated synchronised system of two cranes and a transfer car to move the paper rolls effortlessly between the two stores. Rolls are delivered and despatched via plant AGVs (Automatically Guided Vehicles).

The automation system uses bar code readers to retrieve specific rolls based on size, age or colour via a touch screen interface. And to ensure operational safety, fully interlocked gates prevent any access to the store areas.

Automated pick-and-place storage retrieval crane

Large scale pick-and-place
  • The solution comprises two automated 6 tonne bespoke cranes one for the upper level and the second for a larger lower level store

  • EC&I systems deliver a positional accuracy of ±3mm, gather barcode information on each roll and maintain a digital inventory

  • To safely and reliably transfer the rolls between floors, a bespoke car was designed to interface with both cranes

Smart system thinking


  • A touch-screen HMI system controls the operation, tracking each roll as they are automatically and precisely stored at the touch of a button
  • A fully integrated Castell key exchange system allows individual crane shutdown and controlled access to the stores via safety gates
  • The operator is also able to view both store rooms via CCTV
Bespoke handling innovations
  • Height restrictions in the upper store led us to design a bespoke active hook system, using actuators to swing the hooks outward, optimising lift height
  • Roll delivery and collection is seamless between the two cranes, the transfer car and the AGVs, requiring no operator interaction
  • The upper level crane lowers rolls through a trapdoor onto the specially designed, fully automated transfer car


Let's talk more about automated cranes for manufacturing & production

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SCX Special Projects Ltd

Roman Ridge Road, Sheffield, S9 1GA, United Kingdom

t:  +44 (0)114 262 6199