Material Handling Experts


Information on the products and techniques to better store, handle, and move products in your facility.

Technology’s Impact on Manufacturing & Distribution Center Industry

June 14, 2016

conveyor system automated

Automation comes sharply into focus at industry shows like this year’s Modex 2016. It’s an opportunity to see the latest innovations in technology up close and hear from vendors the new ways they are incorporating automated material handling systems into their own facilities, as well as serving their customers.

Manufacturing, distribution and supply chain companies are doing everything they can to keep pace with the rapid change of technology, from the Internet of Things to 3D printing to highly intuitive software. As we made our way around the show floor, we were curious how the increase of automation is affecting the workforce, updating facility processes, and changing how manufacturers do business. Let’s take a look:

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New Ways Manufacturers Are Attracting and Retaining Talent

June 8, 2016

manufacturing employees

If there’s one takeaway from Modex 2016 that will stick with us it’s that the supply chain industry is evolving at a rapid pace. From automated material handling to software that harnesses and makes sense of big data to safer and more ergonomic products, the show was rife with innovation.

While the technology is improving, most companies are facing challenges in another critical aspect: Hiring skilled workers. As the workforce ages and veteran employees look to retire, companies are struggling to fill positions. We’ve written about the manufacturing skills gap before and it was a topic that came up repeatedly in our conversations with industry colleagues at Modex. After all, the Manufacturing Institute research shows that by 2025 the skills gap will result in 2 million unfilled jobs. It’s a great concern across the industry.

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Interview: Proximity Detection for Forklift Safety

June 1, 2016

ZoneSafe Pedestrian Safety System

Safety has always been important to warehousing and manufacturing, but in recent years, the emphasis has grown – and it’s no wonder.

The forklift has always been at or near the top of these concerns, due to its common use. There are nearly 900,000 forklifts in use in the United State. Forklift accidents are always in OSHA’s top ten  safety violations lists. But the reality is that despite the dangers they can present, forklifts are indispensable for material handling operations.

We sat down with Donald Prater, Cisco-Eagle’s Safety Division Manager, to discuss some common questions involving ZoneSafe, a proximity detection technology that helps alert drivers that pedestrians are nearby as they do their work.

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Modex Interview Series: Hytrol’s Perspective on Today’s Manufacturing Industry

May 25, 2016

shipping dock area

“The Greatest Supply Chain Show on Earth” – that was the slogan for Modex 2016 – and this year’s event at Atlanta, Georgia did not disappoint. During the busy four-day conference, we were fortunate to get a few minutes with Boyce Bonham, Director of Integrated Systems and Controls at Hytrol, a leader in the design and manufacturing of advanced conveyor systems.

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How to Make Shipping Docks Safer and More Efficient

May 19, 2016

shipping dock area

Loading docks are often the busiest area of any distribution facility. When trucks are being loaded or unloaded, they become a center of activity with a number of people and forklifts operating within proximity to each other. Usually this is fast work, with the need to quickly load or unload a truck. Everyone involved, from forklift drivers to warehouse workers to truck drivers to bystanders has a role to play in a safer dock operation. Here are some common issues and solutions.

OSHA lists some of the potential threats on its official workplace hazards resource.

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Modex Interview Series: SixAxis’ Perspective on Today’s Manufacturing Industry

May 18, 2016

Modex Show Floor

Modex is more than an opportunity for the material handling industry to convene in Atlanta, GA, network with peers, and exhibit products and solutions. Heralded at “the Greatest Supply Chain Show on Earth,” Modex offers manufacturers and distributors access to cutting-edge innovations, allowing them to position themselves and their organizations to take full advantage of the next wave of technology to hit the industry.

Estimated at 25,000 attendees, Modex 2016 was a great event. We took the chance to speak with some of the exhibitors. Here’s what SixAxis President Rob Honeycutt told us about the future of automation in manufacturing and distribution.

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Modex Interview Series: UNEX

May 10, 2016

Modex 2016 Show Floor, Atlanta Georgia

At Modex 2016 in Atlanta, we had the opportunity to sit down with Brian Neuwirth, President of UNEX, for a wide-ranging discussion on the state of manufacturing. He shared his insights on key issues facing the industry from improving customer experience to addressing the skills gap.

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Case Study: American Greetings Reduces Maintenance, Noise Levels

May 3, 2016

Conveyor system in Arkansas

American Greetings, the largest greeting card company in the world, with a mission that includes the desire to make the world “a more thoughtful and caring place,” had an issue with its aging conveyor system. The company creates a variety of greeting cards and other products in its massive Osceola, Arkansas facility (which has more than 10 miles of conveyors and occupies a space around the size of 57 football fields).

The plant runs 24 hours, so finding a way to upgrade without reducing production was a challenge.

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Securing Product in Pallet Rack Bays

April 19, 2016

Rack Safety Types
There are some inherent safety and security issues when it comes to pallet rack – goods failing to be appropriately stacked on the pallets, failing to shrink wrap goods on the pallet, over hanging pallets past the rack beams into the flue space, and failing to secure high dollar products being stored in rack bays. Each of these situations present hazards either in safety or security.

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Industrial Workstations: The Key to Improved Productivity in the Warehouse

April 19, 2016

Modern packaging and shipping work bench station

Providing employees with a comfortable, ergonomic, and efficient workspace is a necessity in any picking, packing, assembly, inspection, quality control, manifesting or other industrial operations. A proper industrial workstation, tailored to the task and employee, goes a long way toward creating a healthier and more productive workspace and environment.

There are dozens of options for workstations, ranging from a simple bench to a more elaborate set up designed with the job in mind. Let’s take a look a few industrial workstations and their unique benefits.

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