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Columbia, the well-known American manufacturer of sports clothing, gear and footwear for outdoor sports (skiing, mountaineering, trekking, etc) has a comprehensive automated logistics system, set up in the French commune of Cambrai.


The logistical system developed for Columbia was designed to fulfil one of the company’s needs: the need to automate its transport, picking and classification systems for preparing orders.

Proposed solution

The system implemented by ULMA Handling Systems is based on an automated storage that handles 73,000 cardboard boxes that come directly from Columbia’s suppliers.

The installation manages 50 types of boxes with different sizes and characteristics; consequently, the design of the miniload stacker crane included a versatile device based on a side-belt extract model.

Side-belts are used to adjust the handling of the different types of cardboard boxes, thus avoiding double handling when the materials enter the process.

This mechanism simplifies the design of the shelf, providing greater stocking capacity that would be achieved with the conventional forked method, creating a dynamic and flexible storage system.

The project includes 10 stackers with a height of 10 m, along with a complete set of transport, picking and classification elements for preparing the orders.


The logistical system has allowed the company to improve the speed and efficiency of its picking system, reducing errors to the minimum.

Lightweight load conveyors
Columbia's storage system Columbia automated storage

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