Material Handling Experts


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

Carts vs. Conveyors in Product Transport Operations

May 10, 2010

conveyors vs. carts for transport

When you are moving items such as cartons, bins, or components through a facility, several methods are available. Most of the time the choice is between non-powered carts & trucks or conveyors, whether power or gravity. (If you’re moving pallets, there are other methods and issues). Generally, conveyors deliver a less manual, safer operation with added efficiency across the board. Products are moved faster and fewer employees are required to accomplish the same tasks. Conveyors minimize fatigue and reduce potential manual lifting injuries. This improved handling has the potential to reduce worker compensation claims and expenses

But when do you make the leap from a manual, cart-driven system to a conveyor transport system?

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Extenda conveyor belt pusher is an excellent choice where space is minimal, but the load requires 90-degree sortation

April 21, 2010
90-degree sortation pusher

Hytrol PIB Extenda Pusher

The construction of the Extenda Pusher lends itself to both speed and strength. The robust cylinders – stabilized by tandem aluminum guides – provide the power, while the lightweight aluminum pusher face enhances the speed. With throughput rates of up to 50 cartons per minute, it is easy to see why Hytrol’s Extenda Pusher is the smartest choice for your system. Available in 4 stroke lengths, it mounts to units with overall conveyor widths of 18″, 24″, 30″, and 36″. Unique to this style pusher are proximity sensors for both extend and return signals, which allow you to adjust the stroke length. Its black composite guards are secure yet lightweight and simple to remove. Another standard feature is the emergency stop that when activated immediately empties air pressure stored within the pusher, ensuring safe operation. This space-saving design makes it a great choice for systems where mounting space is minimal, yet products require 90 degree sortation.

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Podcast: 5 Easy Ways to Save $100,000 in Distribution Costs

April 9, 2010

Cost vs. Service

The folks at the Material Handling Institute of America have thrown all of last year’s ProMat sessions in Podcast/Webcast form onto their website, for free. This presentation is intriguing – who doesn’t want to save a hundred grand? It’s presented by Louis J. Cerny, Vice President of Sedlak, and lasts about 37 minutes; it’s easy to listen to in the background if you don’t feel the need to watch the slide presentation.

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E24 Power Roller 24-volt Conveyor: Transfers & Merges

April 1, 2010

E24 Powered Roller Conveyor from Hytrol has become very popular with conveyor users due to its advantages over conventional conveyor and motorized rollers.  This quiet, energy-efficient conveyor fits the green mode that many operations are following, and can deliver exceptional flexibility, superb heat dissipation, and a robustness that cannot be achieved with motors embedded in conveyor rollers.

Below are two examples of  creative application of E24 technology…

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Vertical Lift helps University of Texas

March 22, 2010

Vertical Lift (VRC) at University of TexasTypically, you see Vertical Lifts deployed in heavy industrial settings. They’re frequently used in multilevel facilities, in manufacturing plants, or paired with a mezzanine.  Cisco-Eagle’s Houston office recently worked with Pflow to implement a lift in a unique application: to help the University of Texas marching band access the field.

From the IEN Article:

“Tradition dictates that the Texas band, cheerleaders, and Big Bertha, the world’s largest bass drum, enter the stadium through the north end zone after a pre-game parade. The initial design had the band march from the street to the field down a ramp with a clearance of only 3 ft below the main concourse. When it was determined that Big Bertha would not fit down the ramp, the architectural team sought to find a feasible solution. After a thorough review of various options, a Pflow Series-F VRC was specified to periodically elevate a section of the concourse up 9 ft, creating a 12 ft high clearance for the band to safely enter and exit the stadium through the ramp that passes under the main concourse.”

“Pflow partnered on the project with Cisco-Eagle, a material handling company based in Dallas and a longtime Pflow dealer in the Southwest. After an initial on-site consultation with the general contractor and the project architects, Cisco-Eagle and Pflow collaborated with Pflow’s industry leading engineering team and returned with an innovative solution. No other lift manufacturer came back with a proposal after the initial review phase, apparently assessing that the demands required of a viable system would be too great.”


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The Best Manufacturing Plants in America: What They Have in Common

February 9, 2010

Industry Week ran a recent article on the best manufacturing operations in the U.S.

IW says that these operations have the following traits in common…

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WERC Sets 2010 Annual Conference

January 26, 2010

WERC Conference logo

WERC (Warehousing Education and Research Council) has announced its 2010 Annual conference, geared for the needs of warehouse and distribution management. The conference is set for May 16-19, 2010. The WERC conference offers on a strong educational program for warehousing/distribution professionals from long-time to just-starting-out. Practitioners, subject matter experts, industry suppliers and academics freely share their experience and ideas. You’ll walk away with new insights on the best ways to optimize resources, maximize productivity and optimize performance. For more information or registration details, visit the official WERC site.

Posted in Automation, Docks & Shipping, Material Handling, News, Order Picking & Fulfillment, ROI, Safety & Ergonomics, Supply Chain, Sustainability| No Comments »

Horizontal Carousels: why top driven is better

January 6, 2010

top driven horizontal carousel

The age-old argument of top-versus bottom-driven horizontal carousels comes up all too frequently (at least among carousel people). You may think it doesn’t really matter that much but in fact, it makes all the difference in the world. Supporting something from underneath makes sense. After all, trains, cars and most rolling objects are bottom-supported. Yet, the best designed horizontal carousels in the world are top-supported units that outperform bottom-supported units in both speed and efficiency. How can that be?

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Improve order picking processes without automation

November 20, 2009

Cliff Holste at Supply Chain Digest (opens in a new window) has a good piece on ways to improve picking productivity.

Distribution centers will benefit from emerging automated case picking technologies, but those don’t fit for every operation, at every level. They’re also expensive upgrades, so your ROI has to be considered as well.

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More Conveyor White Papers Published

October 27, 2009

conveyor white papers

We just finished adding 3 new Conveyor White Papers, including helpful information on Critical Product and Load Orientation, a Picking, Packing and Loading Application Matrix, and Sortation System Controls Comparisons table. All of these documents are PDF files, and all of them open in new windows. They’re all single-page, designed for quick downloading and reading. We will be adding more of these as they’re produced, so check back often.

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