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Material Handling Vertical Lift Module Adds Space and Efficiency In ExpressJet Maintenance Storage

Material Handling Viper Vertical Lift Modules – VLM – automated storage and retrieval system for material handling for ExpressJet’s automated maintenance repair operation increases facility effectiveness by saving space and time in MRO order picking for slow and medium moving inventory. Ergonomic ASRS VLM replaces bays of shelving maximizing otherwise wasted vertical height. VLM dramatically reduces floor space requirements by optimizing wasted overhead ceiling space and improving labor.

Hatfield, PA -- At the ExpressJet Airlines, Inc. maintenance facility at Newark Liberty International Airport, a new approach to storing service parts has reduced the amount of space required by traditional shelving, and has helped that operation more efficiently handle slow and medium moving MRO (Maintenance Repair Operations) inventory items.

The facility stores a wide range of parts for aircraft service and maintenance, from small fasteners to large air valves. In order to reduce the amount of floor space required for parts storage, and to improve part retrieval efficiency, ExpressJet installed two Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs) to replace bays of shelving.

The Vertical Storage Solutions VLMs, which are now being sold and serviced by Sapient Automation as the Viper™ Vertical Lift Module, were originally purchased and serviced by another organization (under the Power Column II® brand). Sapient Automation now has the exclusive rights to sell and provide factory replacement parts and service to this VLM in North America.

The Viper Vertical Lift Module material handling system( is an enclosed high-density automated storage and retrieval system that consists of two columns of trays in the front and in the back with a robotic extractor that delivers trays to an ergonomically positioned work counter. These vertical storage systems take advantage of unused overhead space to reduce the amount of floor space required by traditional shelving and material handling systems by up to 85%.

In addition to the space savings benefit, the installation of the material handling system (VLMs) gave management the flexibility to retrieve parts inventory in a more efficient manner in the maintenance and repair operation (MRO storage).

“We placed our slow to medium movers, those parts that we don’t retrieve on a regular basis for service and maintenance jobs, in the VLMs and kept our fast moving items, along with just a few bulk items, on the remaining shelving,” said Gloria Hume, Materials Services Supervisor.

With slow and medium movers, retrieval velocity is low, but the number of stock keeping units (SKUs) is large. This strategy helps dramatically reduce floor space by maximizing otherwise wasted vertical height and helps eliminate the walking and searching otherwise required when using shelving.

By analyzing Express Jet’s inventory by size, velocity and value it is easy to create classes of items and determine the proper slow to medium moving items to store in the VLM. , Likewise, it is easy to then configure the VLM’s trays and storage strategy to accommodate every inventory class.

“There are approximately 3,000 SKUs in the two VLMs, 2,000 parts in one and 1,000 in the other,” said Ms. Hume. “They are divided that way so that the larger, heavier parts are located in one unit and the smaller parts in the other to optimize the storage efficiency of the units.”

Sapient Automaton provides a full selection of automated storage and retrieval systems designed to increase profitability by reducing floor space, inventory and labor requirements while increasing accuracy, ergonomics and throughput performance. Systems used in manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, life sciences, wholesale, institutions and retail applications. Automated Storage Systems include the Hornet Horizontal Carousel, Viper Vertical Lift Module, Avenger Vertical Carousel, Mini-Avenger Vertical Carousel Cart System, PickaMed Carousels, XPress Pix Inventory and Warehouse Control Software, Spit Fire Pick Carts and Pick to Light systems.

Contact Information
Ed Romaine, Chief Marketing Officer
Sapient Automation
2398 North Penn Road
Hatfield, PA 19440 USA

Contact Information

  • Name: Ed Romaine

    Company: Sapient Automation

    Telphone: -- , -

    Address: Ed Romaine, Chief Marketing Officer
    Sapient Automation
    2398 North Penn Road
    Hatfield, PA 19440 USA