News / 9.29.16

Throwback Thursday – The Toni Company Distribution Center

Featured a sophisticated automatization system for mechanized order filling

One of the trademarks throughout Epstein's 95 year history is our engineering expertise in designing intricate mechanization systems for our manufacturing clients throughout the world. And today's Epstein Throwback Thursday feature highlights one such project – by taking us back to July 1967 for the opening of The Toni Company's Distribution Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. For this 180,000 square foot DC located at 5th and Broadway, Epstein's designers and engineers developed a master plan with Toni's in-house engineering team over a 4 month period in 1965 which developed the strategy for constructing this sophisticated automated shipping facility.

Shipping Dock Automatic Truck Loading Conveyors

The Toni Company were manufacturers of beauty products and this new DC was located across the street from Toni's main manufacturing plant. The DC featured not only automated shipping capabilities but also provided space for finished good storage as well as a tank farm for storage of chemicals used in the production of Toni's various products. Toni's finished goods were conveyed into the DC building using a bridge that was connected to the existing 9-story manufacturing facility. Products were then palletized using the Epstein design automatization system and then transported to storage bays or into mechanized order filling lines. In addition, an automatic towveyor (think indoor rail) system looped through the DC and was connected to additional storage facility in the adjacent manufacturing building through a tunnel under the street. Lastly, this DC also featured truck shipping and receiving docks as well as traditional rail shipping access.

Automatic Palletizer

If you are curious, this facility no longer exists and neither does The Toni Company, which was purchased by Gillette. And, the land in which this DC stood is now the home to CHS Field, where the St. Paul Saints of North Division of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, play.

Order Filling Line