Modula helping automate, optimize storage space in warehouses, factories from Franklin location

Automated storage units can reach up to 60 feet tall.

An Italian manufacturer of automated, vertical storage units is helping bring storage optimization to warehouses and factories in the Midwest and central U.S. through its Franklin location.

Modula specializes in factory automation and storage optimization, installing vertical storage units ranging from 10 feet to 60 feet tall. The storage unit also has an automated retrieval system, so a robotic system retrieves whatever stored item is needed and brings it down to the user.

“Instead of having to walk through a warehouse or a factory and find the pieces you need for the next pieces of assembly or for the next piece of picking you need to do for your customer, everything’s automated in these machines,” said David Lind, sales director for Modula. “It’s stored vertically…It actually comes down to you,” Lind said.

Modula bought the former location of the Dayton Daily News printing facility at 5000 Commerce Center Drive in 2019, going live with production in 2021, he said.

An engineer founded the company in 1987, near Modena, Italy.

“He was working in a factory, and there was too much stuff on the ground,” Lind said. “He thought, ‘I have to go vertical. I want to automate it, and go vertical.”

Since then, Modula has been growing and opening new factories, including its factory near Modena and a factory in China.

Modula’s first warehouse in the U.S. was in Maine, which they still have a facility there, but they wanted to be closer to the center of the U.S.

Modula wanted to move to the Midwest and to the Cincinnati and Dayton region because of logistical benefits, Lind said.

“When you think about what America is trying to be good at is jobs of the future, so manufacturing technology that gives us advantages in how we manufacture,” Lind said.

Jordan Adams, parts specialist at Modula, is among a handful of Modula employees who also worked at the facility when it housed Dayton Daily News printing presses. Adams operated hopper machines, which printers use to place loose inserts, like advertisements, into newspapers.

Adams pursued a different career after his time at that facility when it was a printing press, but his career path eventually led him back to the Franklin facility.

“I was one of the first 10 people there,” Adams said about when he joined Modula’s team. Now, Modula is supporting more than 200 jobs in the Dayton region.

Adams has been able to see the facility transform over time.

“It’s crazy to see, especially what it was when it was Dayton Daily to what it is now. I’ve seen it be fully running as Dayton Daily, and then when Modula first got in there, it was that was surreal to see,” Adams said. “...Now it’s a full-on factory again, and it’s really cool to see.”

Modula has an open door policy, Lind said, encouraging other businesses to schedule a tour and see their automated storage units at work.

“They’re very much part of the future,” Lind said.

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