Material Handling Experts


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

Comparison: Modular vs. Tubular Steel Crossovers

November 29, 2012

Comparing crossover types

In many operations, things like conveyors or pipe runs or other machinery interrupt the flow of a work floor, and the obvious way to get around it is to erect a crossover. This is commonly done in larger scale conveyor systems with longer lines, but we also do them for other areas where going around the obstacle could take significant time, or where access is limited by other factors. The question is, what type of crossover best fits your needs?

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Posted in Conveyor, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Warehousing| No Comments »

OSHA Safety Violations: The Top 10 for 2011

October 24, 2012

OSHA logo

OSHA has released the top safety violations for 2011. It’s not a big departure from recent years, but still worth noting for industrial operations. How many of these potential violations are in areas that are present in your operation? OSHA releases this information in part to allow employers to do the kind of self-inspection and auditing that might help avoid issues.

Most of these violations (and the injuries/costs that accompany them) are preventable.

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Posted in Manufacturing, News, Robotics, Safety & Ergonomics| No Comments »

Ways to Enhance Training to Protect Pedestrians from Forklifts

October 23, 2012

manager in a warehouse forklift area between rack aisles

According to OSHA, training is the key to forklift safety, and there is fundamental agreement on that. Training can and does make a serious dent in the high injury rates suffered due to industrial traffic. Training must happen, and it must be repeated. But that begs this question: Why has training failed to move the needle when it comes to serious forklift related injuries? The numbers seem to have stabilized at an average of 100 deaths per year, and have stayed consistently at that level for years.

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Using Wire Partitions to Secure Retail Space

October 15, 2012

retail storefront security partitions

We routinely help industrial and warehousing customers fit their facilities with wire security cages and partitions. They can be built into just about any configuration you want, fit just about any space needed, and can be specified with locks ranging from padlocks to biometric locks.

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, Security| No Comments »

The Cost of Managing a Skid or Pallet

September 24, 2012

If you’re paying someone to store a pallet for you, what’s reasonable? Are you overpaying for convenience or location? It’s not easy to compare 3PL vs. 3PL, or even your own warehouse so you know for sure if you are getting value for your money. But there are some basic assumptions you can make to help you understand what you’re dealing with, the costs the 3PL may experience, and reasonable costs for your storage projects.

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Posted in Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Pallet Rack, Warehousing| 2 Comments »

Sheet Metal Storage Alternatives: What Works Best

September 18, 2012

sheet metal in a production facility

Above: how difficult is it access these sheets?

Sheet metal is one of the most difficult handling challenges out there. It’s simultaneously bulky, heavy, somewhat flexible, and prone to damage if handled incorrectly. It often has sharp edges and corners, making it dangerous to manually move and turn. At higher gauges or in bundles, it requires forklifts, cranes or scissor lifts for safe and effective handling. Even a thin sheet, if it’s 4 x 8, can be too much for a single worker to handle.

Yet, sheet metal is commonly used in manufacturing and fabrication, so finding better storage and handling methods is key. What can you do to handle it better?

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Posted in Manufacturing, Material Handling, Safety & Ergonomics, Space Saving| 1 Comment »

Tips to Prevent and Reduce Pallet Rack Damage

September 14, 2012

damaged rack post

Pallet racks are frequently subject to abuse, and even the toughest rack will need some cautious handling, processes, guarding equipment, and other help to remain in service. Racks can be overloaded, hit by heavy forklifts, misloaded, and otherwise impacted. These are some tips to help you avoid the frustration, expense, and danger of rack damage.

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Posted in Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Pallet Rack, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

The Importance of Conveyor Emergency Stops

September 11, 2012

conveyor emergency stop

Take a look at your conveyor – do you think it’s safe? Are there sufficient guardrails? Are operators wearing loose clothing? Are visitors allowed near running lines? Because conveyor seems safe at a glance, it’s an often-overlooked hazard. Used correctly, of course, it is a safe way to increase productivity.

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Posted in Conveyor, Safety & Ergonomics| No Comments »

Seeing Around Corners: The Danger Spots in Warehouses & Factories

August 28, 2012

pallet rack row end and forklift traffic

In an industrial environment, intersections can be dangerous. With fast-moving workers who are busy and probably distracted, and fast-moving forklifts that may have loads elevated that can obstruct the driver’s view, corners, ends of rack rows, and intersections can be the cause of many accidents. Whether it’s a worker walking and carrying a load, or a forklift on its way to the next pick, the chances of collisions, injuries, and damages are greater at intersections than most anywhere else. What are your options when it comes to making your intersections safer?

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Video: Danger in the Rack Aisles

August 21, 2012

Although this incident took place in a big-box warehouse store, it could have happened in any number of industrial warehouses across the country. The presence of order pickers, shoppers, or others in a rack aisle is a top safety concern, in particular if the aisle on the other side of the rack row is being restocked. Most likely this accident was caused by a push from the opposite side of the racks.

In any case, a tragic accident was narrowly avoided by sheer luck.

If possible, these kinds of accidents should be guarded against with items such as rack safety nets or wire mesh safety panels. This isn’t always possible, since lifts may need access to both sides of a rack aisle.

Another thing you can do is try to remove pickers from aisles where trucks are working the other side. If they are executing each-pick or carton-pick from lower bays, is it possible to move those to their own area of the warehouse, away from lift truck traffic?

In the case of poorly constructed storage, it’s a matter of process. Inspect pallets before they go into the rack. Are they stacked for stability? Shrinkwrap or band them to shore them up. Don’t allow carton picks from those pallets if possible, as that can destabilize the load. If you must pick from them, bring them down, pick, re-balance, and restock them. That’s time consuming compared to a quick carton pick, but given what almost happened here, and what could happen any day in any warehouse, it’s a small price to pay.

You can also clear both sides of a bay when either side is being loaded or unloaded by forklift. This helps you keep people safe even if there is a spill. Of course training lift drivers to avoid these types of “push” accidents is mandatory, but you can’t count on training alone when there is this kind of danger to people in the next aisle.


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Posted in Order Picking & Fulfillment, Pallet Rack, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »