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Back to Basics: The Legacy of Innovation & Inventions

November 1st, 2017

Back to Basics

Necessity really has been the mother of invention, whether it was the compass by the Chinese of the Han Dynasty for direction, the light bulb by Thomas Alva Edison who wanted to create an incandescent lamp, or the Dexion Slotted Angle by Demetrius Comino who wanted a smarter shelving system. Each invention was born of a need to make life better and improve on contemporary conditions. The great ones have even been disruptive.

There have probably been millions, if not billions, of inventions since the dawn of time. It might have started with tools to kill animals for food, and moved on to equipment to construct buildings and machines for travel. Today, we are privileged to live in a world where many of the derivatives of these initial inventions help us in our daily lives.

Necessity really has been the mother of invention, whether it was the compass by the Chinese of the Han Dynasty for direction, the light bulb by Thomas Alva Edison who wanted to create an incandescent lamp, or the Dexion Slotted Angle by Demetrius Comino who wanted a smarter shelving system. Each invention was born of a need to make life better and improve on contemporary conditions. The great ones have even been disruptive.

When businessman, engineer, inventor and philanthropist Comino needed a better way to store paper and other consumables in 1939, he designed the slotted angle with holes punched along the length of the angled steel. It was named the Dexion Slotted Angle, after the company he founded in 1937.

Moved by the plight of the many who were displaced by an earthquake, he donated 20,000 feet of those Dexion Slotted Angles to the Ionian Islands in Greece in 1953. The Dexion product was used to build makeshift houses.

Disruptive technology? Yes, indeed. Along the way, Comino built a whole new industry which today caters to the logistics storage needs of clients and consumers.

But, let’s be candid here. A good invention isn’t just something that will benefit the people of today and tomorrow, but one that can be improved upon with each generation for better solutions to suit the needs of each new era.

Comino didn’t just start a company in 1937; he started a whole new industry with a great hunger for cutting-edge innovations.

Dexion’s inventions have taken to whole new levels over the past 80 years, with many solutions being used globally today. They have also become templates for how storage and supply chain systems need to be built.

Storage units are no longer just cabinets of shelves. Today, racking systems are robust and offer high scalability, increased velocity of pallet retrieval and seismic engineering which maximise storage capacity.

Carton-picking is no longer done manually using pieces of paper. There are voice-operated carton-picking systems which are accurate, offer better batch control, and promise a safer work environment.

Storage solution systems can now be scaled up to thousands of shelving bays.

The elementary conveyor belt supply chain has developed into a full-scale intelligent system that flows around a factory, much like a complex multi-level highway with various interchanges.

From key-based lockers, there are now secure, weather-resistant, digital lockers for the mobile workforce.

Mezzanine floors no longer need to be built brick by brick. There are now mezzanine flooring solutions that are durable, can handle heavy loads and are easy to erect within existing buildings.

The humble shelving units have now transformed into mammoth storage machines which are easy to integrate into a company’s warehouse management system and are computer-controlled for easy storage and picking. They are also built vertically or horizontally to maximise storage space.

There are also intelligent machines for small parts handling and long goods storage and retrieval.

And, of course, to meet the requirements of businesses today, these inventions come with analysis and simulation tools.

These are only a scant number of inventions that were born out of necessity and can trace their roots to the humble Dexion Slotted Angle.

Beyond these inventions, the father of Dexion, Demetrius Comino left behind a more important legacy: a new way of thinking to problem-solve for achievements. His greatest contribution was really ‘Smarter Thinking’.



Back to Basics

By admin

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