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A Jargon-Free Guide to Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor Specification

April 7, 2015

Pflow lift mechanical, four post

Facility space is expensive—very expensive—so it’s become increasingly important to utilize it to its full potential in any industrial facility. We’ve seen many companies find ways to expand their crowded operation utilizing mezzanines and other elevated work platforms that help seize the vertical cube. There are multiple methods for moving materials between vertical levels, and  vertical reciprocating conveyors (VRCs) are one of the best.

With an array of carriage types, drives, designs and power sources available, what vertical lift might meet your needs?

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Posted in Automation, Lifts, Material Handling, Mezzanines| No Comments »

10 Ways to Keep Orders Moving During Your Busiest Season

December 23, 2014

I received a newsletter the other day that really hit home during this busy Christmas season. It was about keeping warehouse order pickers motivated in their work and I thought, “That’s really key during peak seasons when highly stressed workers can get burned out quickly.” So, how do you keep order pickers moving when they’re already under the gun?

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Product Ideas, Robotics, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

Questions to Ask: Carousel Picking Systems

October 28, 2014

horizontal carousels

Carousels are a high performance order picking technology option, but only if you match them to the right operational needs and applications. If you are considering a carousel system for your operation, it’s important to understand when these “goods to person” picking systems are appropriate, and where manual picking might still work better for you. The real issue is, can you make a carousel, or any automated solution, outperform a good manual system?

The answer is: not always. Let’s look at ways you can push your project in the right direction.

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Posted in Automation, Inventory Management, Order Picking & Fulfillment| No Comments »

Manufacturing Automation: What Is It? Where Is It Going?

October 15, 2014

Industrial Robotics

Industrial engineers have envisioned fully automated factories since at least the middle of the 20th century. But the real race to automate manufacturing can be said to have begun in the 1980s, when US car manufacturers came up with the vision of “lights-out” manufacturing. The idea was to beat their rivals by automating the factories to such an extent that the entire manufacturing process could be left to robots. To a great extent, it has remained only a vision so far. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Automation, Manufacturing, Robotics| 2 Comments »

Manufacturing News Roundup: Q3 2014

October 9, 2014

robotic palletizing system

As we wrote in June, the manufacturing sector continues to evolve this year, including technology, innovation, reshoring, labor shifts, and more. To highlight these important trends, research, and discussions, we’ve begun compiling a quarterly industry news roundup. During Q3, the manufacturing sector experienced continued advancements in technological innovations and steady growth in a variety of areas. The following is a collection of manufacturing reports and articles on various topics affecting the industry from Q3 2014: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Automation, Manufacturing, News, Robotics, Warehousing| 1 Comment »

Are We Automating Jobs Away?

October 3, 2014

A Variety of robots

In the last 200 years 70% of jobs done by American workers have been replaced by automation – and during the next century we will see another automation revolution that replaces 70% of American jobs–again.

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Posted in Automation, Lean, Material Handling, Robotics, Safety & Ergonomics| No Comments »

Pick Light vs. Voice-Directed vs. RF Picking Systems

October 1, 2014

light directed picking

These systems are at their best for open case picking systems. When you’re picking full pallets and cases, they’re less useful, although that depends on the situation. You can mix these systems in a single facility of pick pod area for maximum effect with inventory slotted to match the necessary profile. Each has a role, depending on what you’re picking, how your facility is set up, and the nature of your picking methodology. What might be best for a given situation?

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Order Picking that Doesn’t Pull any Punches

July 11, 2014

I just got done adding some mobile automated pick dispensers to our website and got thinking about how a fulfillment manager can know when they need to add pick dispensers. So I went out on the internet and found some great info at the website hosted by MHI, an industry organization for material handlers.

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Posted in Automation, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Product Ideas| No Comments »

The Wonder of Robotic Palletizing

June 6, 2014

Robotic Palletizing

I recently attended an ESOP event at a specialty paints and stains company. During the tour of their plant, I got to see a robotic palletizing system in operation. I was impressed. Standing about 6 to 8 feet away from the action, I watched as it placed 5-gallon cans of paint in rows of 3 stacked 3 high. Each row was offset from the previous one, so that optimum pallet space was used. As the robot picked up cans off the conveyor belt using a vacuum end effector, it placed them precisely on the pallet. Then, it slightly dropped down and “bumped” them to make sure they seated onto the row below. That action made me chuckle as I considered what a profoundly human act that was – a little hip action to make sure the cans seated correctly.

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Palletizers, Robotics, Safety & Ergonomics| No Comments »

2014 Manufacturing Trends: Cisco-Eagle Interviews with Leading Manufacturers

May 5, 2014

As we’ve written about previously, Cisco-Eagle took part in last month’s supply chain expo Modex, held in Atlanta, GA.  When we weren’t demonstrating our automated forklift safety system and talking to customers, we snuck away from our booth to connect with some of the industry’s leading innovators.

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