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

When it Comes to Order Picking, Don’t Walk the Walk

November 3, 2008

picking & restocking from shelvesIn a recent Catalog Success magazine, the following facts were reaffirmed: Three areas – picking, packing and returns – take anywhere from 60% to 80% of labor costs in your typical distribution operation. 60% of the average pickers’ time is spent walking. Not picking, not packing, not checking for quality and accuracy – walking. This is an activity that cannot add value to your operation or to your customers, so you should strive to eliminate it whenever possible.

Not only does it waste time, it makes people tired, and tends to cause a loss in focus and can increase error rates.

Here are some ways to go about removing “walk time” from your operation…

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Industrial Shelving, Space Saving, Warehousing, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

New testing methods deployed at University of Arkansas RFID research center

October 30, 2008

rfid-conveyor.jpgDmitriy Nesterkin, a graduate student employee of the University of Arkanas RFID Research Center, has recently developed a new test data management system for use in the Lab. His software application will allow test data to be stored and analyzed from within one system. In recent weeks, the RFID Research Center has also added two Masters of Information Systems (MIS) students to their staff. These two students have successfully extended a software application that was written by former student employee, Jarrod Bourlon. This application will now be able to handle new inputs and outputs. (Note: Cisco-Eagle is a strategic sponsor of the RFID center)

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Material Handling, News, RFID, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

OSHA releases Forklift eTool

October 27, 2008

forklift-operation.jpgOSHA has released an eTool (which is basically just an informational web page) for powered lift trucks that you might find useful. It has drill-down information on the following categories:

  • Basic  Types and Fundamentals – The differing types and fundamentals of powered trucks
  • Operating the Forklift – the basic operating rules and safe work practices
  • Understanding the Workplace – how workplace conditions can affect safe operation
  • Training Assistance – operator training required by OSHA

This information specifically addresses OSHA’s Powered Industrial Truck requirements [29 CFR 1910.178]

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Posted in Lifts, Material Handling, News, Pallet Rack, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Hytrol Conveyor now ships with Higher-Efficiency, EPAct-compliant Motors

October 13, 2008

190nsp_small2.jpgIn July, Hytrol Conveyor Company started shipping conveyors with EPAct efficiency motors. The company ships conveyors standard with the motors, at no extra charge. This is a significant upgrade. Besides the savings from EPAct compliance, these motors are invertor-duty from 15hz to 6hz. It also carries a two-year warranty, an extra year compared to the previous, standard duty motors. Generally, the mandated efficiency levels of EPAct motors fall somewhere between the present efficiencies of Baldor’s standard motors and Baldor’s Super-E®premium efficient motors.

The energy savings component varies by motor, hours in usage, loads, and other factors. If you are interested in details, contact us for assistance.

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Posted in Conveyor, Material Handling, News, Supply Chain| No Comments »

WERC Houston Warehousing Seminar Rescheduled

October 8, 2008

Due to Hurricane Ike, the previous dates for the WERC (Warehouse Education Resource Council) were cancelled. The Council has rescheduled.  The new dates for this intensive 3-day seminar are November 10-12, 2008. WERC typically packs useful, solid information into their seminars, so if you’re in South Texas or feel like traveling there, this one may be worth your time. According to WERC, attendees will learn:

  • How to identify the precise problems that are the most troublesome in your warehouse
  • Which operations require your attention and how to prioritize work demands
  • Why leadership and communication skills are important to managing people, boosting morale, and solving labor/management conflicts
  • How to lay out your warehouse for good space utilization, material handling compatibility, and optimum flow efficiency
  • Which equipment and technology enablers best suit your operations for storage and handling as well as order picking and order selection.

See WERC.org for complete information. Those who registered previously do not need to re-register.

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Posted in Material Handling, News, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

Intermingling new & existing pallet rack parts

October 3, 2008

pallet rack beam and upright connectionWhen you are running an operation with lots of racking, it isn’t uncommon to have to replace an occasional upright or beam, or to add new bays onto an existing row. Sometimes you cannot avoid it, as the rack was purchased years ago, by someone else, from a source you can’t even locate. It might be that you bought used rack and need to fill some gaps in, or it may be perfectly good, 15-year old rack that just needs some expansion or damaged components replaced.

This is done all the time, and although it isn’t an optimum situation for rack stability and safety, you can minimize the issues by following the following guidelines:

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Straight Conveyor Transfers: An Illustrated Application Guide

September 24, 2008

Straight conveyor transfer, roller to belt

This guide provides some quick tips to avoid snags, box tumbling, & hang-up’s when you’re transferring from one conveyor to another. Transfers are used to move a package from one conveyor to another, often in a longer line. Straight transfers are the most common type, used to connect individual conveyors in a longer line. Typically, these conveyors can be utilized in straight transfer applications:

Check it out: A guide to conveyor transfers

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

Ten questions to ask when you’re considering a VRC (Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor) Lift

September 23, 2008

vrc_application.jpg

A few months ago, we posted a Guide to Vertical Reciprocating Conveyors (you might find it useful if you’re looking at any application that moves a load up and down at least one level integrated with a shaft, mezzanine or other are). That guide includes the following questions, which you should be able to answer as you move ahead with your project.

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Posted in Automation, Lifts, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Mezzanines, Space Saving, Warehousing| No Comments »

A quick guide to sortation conveyors & systems

September 21, 2008

Sortation conveyor system

Sortation Conveyors divert a product from one conveyor line to another. By using controls and multiple sortation conveyors, product can be sorted by diverting the product only to the appropriate conveyor. From basic pushers to sophisticated cross-belt sorters, distribution centers and warehousing operators have more options today than ever when it comes to automated product sortation.

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More pallet rack safety tips

September 9, 2008

rack-aisle.jpgJust some tips we’ve picked up along the way when it comes to keeping pallet racks safe:

  • The majority of pallet rack structural failures result from just three sources – know them, and most of the rest takes care of itself. Those include (1) impacts from a lift truck collision; (2) Misuse and overloading (3) Lack of comprehension that racks can be dangerous, and the lack of a safety oriented mindset. Really, the focus is on #3 gets you to #1 and #2. Operations with a safety mindset will also understand that impacts are deadly, and they know how to safely load their racks.
  • Check out “When Racks Collide” for more information on protecting your racks.
  • Know how your rack will be used when you spec it. “The two main rack safety points are the proper initial design of the structure so it doesn’t collapse, and proper training of personnel to ensure a clear understanding of the structure’s operational characteristics,” said Rack Manufacturer’s Institute (RMI) President John Nosfinger in a 2008 Modern Materials Handling article. If you inherited the pallet rack in your operation from someone else, find out the details of the rack system and its design. File that so that anyone can access it, and enforce your capacity ratings so that your racks will not be overloaded or mis-loaded.

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