Case Study: Custom L-Shaped Flow Rack

by Andrew Guytingco on January 11, 2023

Magna International Inc. is a Canadian parts manufacturer for automakers and one of the largest in the world. 

As part of their continuous improvement program, one of Magna's divisions was looking for an improved lean solution to reduce the steps of the material handlers, and production staff in their current work cell.  They wanted to implement one racking solution that would take the place of three existing structures; a gravity flow rack (GFR), a table, and a display board that they currently have in place.


Before: three separate structures need will be optimized and turned into one. 

The new proposed flow rack will include a right turn on the exit lanes to move the exit of the lanes closer to the final shipping skid, this reduces the steps need by the Material Handler by two-thirds per cycle.  Moving the exits also created room in the loading area to place the components needed to feed the rack during a shift. 

The new rack also has two lower drawers that the printers can be housed in, the drawer allow each individual printer to be pulled out to allow the operator to load new rolls of paper, previously the operator would have to move the desks at the side of the rack out of the way every time they needed to access the printer.  

Another goal of the project was to move an old display board that tracked production metrics.  Previously, the board was over ten feet away from where the operators worked. By integrating the board into the side of the rack, it reduced the distance down to just three feet. 

The final item was to mount the workstation's computer and monitor onto the rack eliminating the need for an extra workstation on each side of the old structure. This reduces the overall footprint, and the operator no longer has to maneuver around the old workstation.  We installed a HDPE mounting surface on the side of the rack that allows them to mount the computer and monitor to the rack and implemented a keyboard holder constructed from pipe and joint. 

After: the new and improved L-shaped flow rack

Overall, by eliminating unnecessary structures and combining them into one custom solution, Magna International was able to reclaim valuable floor space, reduce material handling movement and increase the efficiency of their production floor. 

IPS Material Handling Inc was established in 2006 and specializes in custom material handling solutions for Lean Manufacturing. Our Ecoflex products, a modular pipe and joint system, are used to create custom flow racks, material handling carts, work stations and more.

For more information, to request a quote or to set up an in-house assessment, please contact us.