Simple. Effective. Innovative. 3D modelling has changed the game for warehouse design — see how.

warehouse 3d modelling, boss magazineThe concept of three-dimensional models is nothing new. But creating those models using computer software, especially in an industrial setting, has only begun to catch on in recent years. An application that is especially interesting focuses on designing the layout of a warehouse.

To grasp why 3D modelling is a valuable tool, it helps to understand a little about the process. Considered a form of computer aided design (CAD), the modelling software makes it possible to create objects that are to scale. In terms of depth, length, and width, they are lightweight and easy to arrange.

When the models are created, they can be printed out with the aid of a special printing device. The result is something that has the right dimensions,
but weighs significantly less than the actual objects. For those who prefer to keep everything on the screen, it is possible to create a virtual environment and arrange the models in any position or configuration desired.

One of the chief benefits associated with 3D modelling is that it is possible to try different configurations without expending a lot of effort. There is no need to lug things around from one spot to another or move heavier objects out of the way. Moving the models is quick, easy, and makes exploring different layouts for the warehouse space much simpler.

There is also the benefit of reducing the risk of damaging goods or equipment in the process. Think of what it takes to move containers of finished goods around a warehouse. Even assuming the containers are strapped to flats, the potential to damage the packaging is real. By using models instead, it is possible to come up with the right arrangement for aisles, sections, and other elements of the warehouse layout. After identifying the best layout, it is easy enough to mark out the space and start hauling in the real goods.

While the idea of modelling is still somewhat new, companies of all sizes can make use of this approach. From smaller concerns to large corporations, there is still the need to utilise warehouse space to best effect. Since modelling does involve using simulations to decide how to arrange everything from finished goods awaiting shipping to conveyor systems that deliver the goods to the warehouse, the investment is worth every penny.

Glenvern Associates offers their customers a modelling product known as Demo3D. Alec Poulton, Director at Glenvern, notes that interest in using this method in planning and refining warehouse space is growing considerably. “We have had Demo3D in Australia for a few years now but I would say it’s been in the last two years where people are really standing up and taking notice of the software’s abilities.”

Poulton shared that the increase in interest has come “…as the whole manufacturing and warehousing scene becomes more competitive and everyone is looking for that edge to help reduce costs and optimise design layouts, process flow, and resource utilisation.”

Poulton also confirms that the use of this approach is not limited to larger operations.

“We’ve got small two-people companies using it, right up to huge companies like Intralox with thousands of employees,” he said.

Other fields like healthcare are also catching on to the benefits of using modelling. Surgeons have the ability to take data obtained from different tests and work out the details of a procedure before it takes place.

For example, information obtained by means of a CT scan makes it possible to construct a 3D model of a damaged heart. Before the patient ever enters the operating room, the surgeon has already examined the model and determined each step necessary to increase the odds for success.
By working with the model in advance, the surgical team is prepared to complete the operation faster and with less risk to the patient. Even though heart surgery is invasive, being able to do the work without delays and with a higher level of precision means less trauma for the patient.

Whether laying out machinery on a plant floor, using warehouse space efficiently, or improving the quality of healthcare for patients, there is no doubt 3D modelling is here to stay. For those who have not had the chance to encounter this approach yet, rest assured the day is coming.