Over the years, one of Kinnarps’ in-house developed logistics concepts has, with its specially made containers and trailers, proved to be a distribution bullseye. However, the heavy traffic of containers and lorries around the main factory in Västergötland posed a challenge for the company’s facility administrators. Replacing asphalt with concrete, interlocking paving stones was the durable solution!
Kinnarps has its head office in the heart of Sweden’s Västergötland. Ever since 1942, the company has been supplying offices and public buildings with high-quality furniture and equipment. Today, it is Europe’s leading supplier of office furnishing solutions. Having sales in 40 countries and manufacturing at six sites in Sweden and one in Germany means that logistics have to be efficient and sustainable. Here, the in-house developed system’s specially designed containers and trailers have helped. As the containers can be dropped off in small hubs along roads in the sales areas, the design embodies great flexibility.
Heavy containers place great demands on surfaces
Waiting for loading onto trailers for onward distribution, the containers stand on special stationing areas in the factory complex. These areas used to be asphalted. However, each of the container’s four narrow legs left indentations in this surface. Marcus Rödström, head of the company’s facility administration department, explained.
“Quite simply, the asphalt proved too soft in warm weather. Our containers are heavy and stand on a tiny contact area. This places great demands on the surface. Fully laden, the containers weigh from 5 to 7 tonnes. This is when the support legs go right through the asphalt and leave ugly marks,” revealed Marcus.
Thus, when it was time to relay the surface, there was every cause to take a look at alternative and more sustainable solutions. Marcus Rödström continued.
“Concrete paving stones soon entered the discussion. We contacted Benders to see what solutions they could offer. So, three years ago, we laid a 2,300 m² test surface with a stone developed to offer good resistance to high point loads and torsional shearing,” said Marcus.
Test results exceeded expectations
The test went well and results exceeded expectations.
“In the factory complex, we had chosen a test area where there was much handling of both containers and trailers. We inspected this area each spring in the test period, after the thaw. It looked good and there were no ugly, container marks making the surface uneven, something we had always seen on the asphalt,” confirmed Marcus.
Kinnarps chose Delta 100 mm, an interlocking stone. Holding the stones firmly together, its unique design makes it particularly suitable for surfaces subjected to heavy loads, e.g. storage yards or port complexes. Thus, when it was time to surface a 7,600 m² container handling and parking area, there was no contest. Marcus explained.
“Based on our tests and experience, there was really no alternative to concrete stones. Paving stones create a strong but flexible surface that withstands the great stresses arising in our operations. So, Delta clearly also had to be used on the large area.”
Rapid laying by skilled paver
Carried out by Arnells Mark & Sten, laying of the 7,600 m² area took very little time. Petter Arnell, the company’s owner, led the work. He is an experienced paver with many years of experience in the industry. An accomplished user of stone laying machines, he likes working with Benders’ products.
“You can feel that the Delta stone is suited to machine laying. It’s easy to handle. This means that I, as a paver, can work at a high tempo with no time lost to small disruptions. If the weather gods are with us, we reckon we can lay this in about a week,” estimated Petter. He continued.
“What makes this job a little special is that operations are still going on as I’m laying. This means we’re having to constantly re-route traffic depending on where stones have just been laid. Immediate use of a newly laid asphalt surface is out of the question, but it is possible with paving stones, as long as they’re well-jointed,” remarked Petter.
Concrete paving stones – A winner!
Thus, for Kinnarps and Marcus Rödström, Delta concrete paving stones proved to be another bullseye. The results from the test area laid three years ago made the choice easy. Marcus also feels that the entire project was a fine example of successful teamwork.
“Good collaboration is absolutely essential for a project plan. We discussed things early with Benders and the paver. So, when it was time to start the work, everything was synchronised. You have to get all the pieces to fall into place. Not just practically in and around the factory, but also purely logistically so that operations can run as usual. Together, we achieved this,” concluded Marcus.