Material Handling Experts


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

ProMat 2011 is 3 Months Away

December 14, 2010

proMat 2011 logo

ProMat, the Material Handling Industry’s bi-annual trade show, is coming in March 2011.

The show will feature over 700 exhibiting companies featuring cutting-edge equipment and systems solutions. Choose from 2 keynote addresses, 2 educational tracks and 80 educational sessions that deliver valuable insights into the latest trends, technologies and innovations. The show is March 21-24, 2011 and as usual, is located in Chicago at McCormick Place South.

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Pallet Rack Wire Decking: Calculating Gauges and Capacity

December 7, 2010

Wire gauge is a crucial element in wire pallet rack deck design and is also one of the first places manufacturers look to when needing to cut costs, meaning it’s one of the first places you should look when comparing decking for your pallet rack project. Lower cost is great, but only if you’re getting the capacity and durability you need.

Just because two decks are the same size in no way makes them the same deck. That can be all right, so long as both can hold your load and last for the long term.

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

Why Warehouse Employees Ignore Safe Lifting Advice – and How to Help Them

December 5, 2010

lifting boxes and cartons correctly

The most common advice that ergonomics experts, OSHA, and other researchers provide to people in warehousing or other jobs that require manual lifting is that you should always bend your knees and lift that way, rather than bend at the waist to pick something up. Repetitive stress on the lower back is staggering: 20% of workplace injuries are related to lower back issues. Lifting right is essential to employee safety, and also to preventing Worker Compensation claims.

Even when you train employees to lift right – and we know that not everyone does – they frequently ignore the advice. Why?

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Saving Space in Rack Storage Areas

December 3, 2010

pallet rack rows

Pallet rack storage is relatively inexpensive and extremely common. In many facilities, it also consumes the majority of square footage. When you can cut down on this space, significant gains can be made that allow you to use the square footage for other purposes. Here are some ideas for reducing your rack storage footprint while maintaining storage capacity.
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Posted in Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Pallet Rack, ROI, Space Saving, Warehousing| No Comments »

Manufacturing & Distribution Professionals Pressured to “Deliver More Value”

November 8, 2010

distribution center conveyor system

The Integrated Systems and Controls (ISC) Council of Material Handling Industry of America has released a new report titled An Evaluation of Operational Performance in Warehousing, Distribution and Manufacturing., and it has some interesting information for those who operate warehouses, distribution centers, manufacturing, and commercial operations.

The key thing? You’re still being asked to squeeze more value from your operation – and you need to be able to do it with fewer resources.

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Manufacturing, Material Handling, News, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Supply Chain, Sustainability, Warehousing| No Comments »

The E24 24-Volt Conveyor Roller Timing Belt Transfer

November 4, 2010

e24 power roller conveyor transfer

E24 CONVEYOR LOGOWe’ve explained the advantages of 24-volt roller conveyor systems in the past, and wanted to get to you with this new product announcement from Hytrol: the Timing Belt Transfer. The E24™ powered timing belt strands and a pneumatic lift make this conveyor accessory powerful enough to sort up to 40 cartons per minute. The neoprene timing belts are coated with urethane to ensure positive grip when transferring the product. The drive sheaves come standard with ABEC-1 bearings, contributing to longer transfer life. The modular design of the transfer allows for simple system configurations.

Integrating an E24™ Transfer into your system is easy, as the standard configuration bolts into 3-inch roller centers in just minutes. For full bed width and extended configurations, an optional E24™ lineshaft kit is available so roll-to-roll o-rings are out of the way.

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Material Handling, News, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Warehousing| No Comments »

The Top Ten OSHA Violations for 2009 – and How to Avoid Some of Them

November 1, 2010

The National Safety Council has released its list of the top 10 OSHA safety violations for 2009, and there is plenty to chew on if you are running a warehouse, manufacturing facility, military installation, or distribution center. In fact, several of these categories drop directly into the laps of material handling operations. Worse news: violations are up over 30 percent.

The list is as follows:

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Posted in Manufacturing, Material Handling, Mezzanines, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Safety & Ergonomics, Security, Warehousing| No Comments »

Testing Cantilever Racks for Lateral Deflection

October 21, 2010

cantilever storage racks

Cantilever racks are the best way to store long, heavy loads. Whether the load is a single item or a bundle of them (like lumber, tubing, or pipes), as long as you understand the load, these racks are ideal storage. One key to correctly loading and specifying them is nailing the necessary lateral spacing vs. load weight so that you have enough arms beneath the load.

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A Quick Guide to Reducing Warehouse Costs

September 29, 2010

warehouse distribution center

Over at the Operations & Fulfillment site, Curt Barry has written a brief, informative piece on reducing warehouse costs. In particular during a difficult economic climate, cost reduction is at the top of mind for distribution operations.

Here are some of the quick tips from that piece…

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, ROI, Warehousing| No Comments »

Conveyor systems: Total Cost of Ownership

September 28, 2010

conveyor system

Conveyors, like any capital investment have multiple costs. The amount on your invoice is hardly the last time you’ll pay for that conveyor. If a conveyor is correctly specified and designed for future use, significant cost savings can be realized.

The three costs a conveyor system carries:

  • Initial costs – the easiest to understand and quantify. This is the cost of equipment, installation, and controls.
  • Operational costs – electrical usage  & pneumatics usage
  • Maintenance costs – Spare parts, replacement parts, & labor costs

All of these costs are spread over the conveyor’s useful life, so a formula that might best express what your conveyor will cost is: TCO (total cost of ownership) = IC (initial cost) + OC (operational costs) + MC (maintenance costs)/ useful life of the system.

Higher initial costs may be recouped in lower maintenance and operational costs over time if the right decisions are made when the equipment is specified and ordered. The initial cost savings can be eaten up by higher operating and maintenance costs, but neither of those is as expensive as a system that cannot do the job it was deployed to do. Long term costs can easily outstrip the initial costs. What are the real, long term costs and what can you do to control them?

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