Aerocom Keep Trucks Moving at Target Distribution Center

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The Challenge

Cedar Falls, IA, is home to three Target distribution centers (DC) that house food, furniture, and home goods ready to be transported to stores in the region. All trucks that come through the site must enter through a single truck drive-up system, where they exchange paperwork detailing the products they carry. This drive-up system needed an overhaul.

The Cedar Falls site can see between 250 and 750 18-wheelers a day. All trucks use the same entrance, which can lead to traffic backups and roadblocks for other businesses in the industrial park. Their existing drive-up system had two lanes, but only one of those lanes was working, further exacerbating backups.

Learn more about pneumatic tube systems for truck drive-ups.

The current drive-up system relied on an old bank-style pneumatic tube system to exchange paperwork, which required drivers to exit their vehicles to use it. This also meant drivers had to turn off their engines, which isn’t optimal for Midwestern winters.

Bottom line: Target’s bank-style pneumatic tube system at their truck drive-up stations was hindering traffic rather than improving it, resulting in inefficiency and higher costs.

The Solution

The Cedar Falls site needed an entirely new commercial pneumatic tube system to get all lanes up and running again to alleviate traffic and improve efficiency. This is where Aerocom, which specializes in building custom pneumatic systems, came in. We offer customized solutions, but most are built from one of three in-house models. For Target, Aerocom went with the AC660 system, commonly used in retail, logistics, and warehousing.

The system

The AC660 for truck drive-up stations is built to withstand harsh outdoor conditions, essential to the Iowa distribution center. This system’s queuing ability can keep trucks moving quickly through the drive-up and its enhanced security features can ensure that paperwork is only accessible to people who need it.

The stations

One of the larger issues was that the current tube system had stations that were not built with commercial trucks or drivers in mind. Building a new system required reliable, user-friendly stations, for which Aerocom installed EWS stations. Aerocom installed these outdoor stations at truck window height, so drivers can exchange paperwork without ever leaving the cab.

Other features

Aerocom also installed a noise-canceling intercom, optimizing communication between the driver and the drive-up operator, allowing the drivers to remain in the cab with their trucks running. It also eliminated the potential for injury getting in and out of the cab, especially during the cold, wet winters that can cause unseen hazards such as ice.

The Results

Cedar Falls’ new Aerocom pneumatic tube system has brought Target’s operation up to speed, literally. The new system now has two functioning lanes to keep trucks moving. The new stations also expedite traffic by keeping drivers in their vehicles. All of this has helped alleviate backups and gets product to Target stores sooner.

About Aerocom USA

Aerocom USA is a full-service company specializing in the development, installment, and service of pneumatic tube transport systems. We serve clients across the U.S. and Canada, including big names like Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Goodyear, and Kraft Foods. Contact us today to learn how a pneumatic tube system can improve efficiency and cut costs for your business.