Material Handling Experts


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

How Much Difference do Fully-Enclosed Pallet Rack Frames Make?

April 5, 2010

How much difference can a fully enclosed pallet rack upright make? When it comes to the kind of significant injuries, product damage, and overall safety of a warehouse or commercial facility, the minor cost differences are insignificant compared to the potential savings if you prevent just one accident over the next decade. Imagine suffering an accident like this one.

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

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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Another completely preventable forklift accident

February 16, 2010

You can see some of the mistakes happening in this video. Others aren’t so obvious.

What were the problems here?

#1: The driver is traveling too fast. That said, he’s not racing, but that doesn’t matter. He’s carrying a wide load through a narrow space. He was either distracted or he went faster than he should have through a tight spot, or both.

#2: The aisle is cluttered. Why create a pinch point with stacks of drums? Poor housekeeping in a warehouse is dangerous. One of the best things you can do for safety in your warehouse is to make sure there is adequate — or more than adequate — aisle space. It should be clear, it should be clean, it should have space and it should be highly visible. It should never be close to this tight. If you need space, find it elsewhere.

#3: The pallet racks were possibly overloaded. That forklift was moving too fast for the situation, but it wasn’t pedal-to-the-metal-fast. Although the weight of a forklift can turn a slow impact into devastation, a properly loaded, undamaged rack with upright post protectors should not necessarily collapse when struck slowly.  While you never want to smack an upright, exceeding rack capacities can make them much more susceptible to collapse, even to minor impacts. Always know your listed capacity, and stick to it.

#4: The uprights may have suffered previous damage. This can cause a collapse. I’ve been in warehouses where you could walk for five minutes and find a dozen bent uprights. That’s insanity. There isn’t any way to tell whether or not the upright was dented from this video, but the point is this: routinely inspect your racks and assess your uprights. They’re cheap to replace, and doing so could prevent injuries and major accidents.

#5: The driver should not have fled the forklift. It has a cage for a reason — to protect him from falling objects. He was much safer inside than he was doing the “Die Hard” jump out.

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

Did Wood Pallets Cause the Tylenol Recall?

February 11, 2010

wood pallets

According to DC Velocity, the answer may be yes.

The maker of several over-the-counter drugs, including Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl, announced a broad-based recall of these and other drugs after receiving complaints of an “unusual moldy, musty or mildew-like” odor. Johnson & Johnson received what the company described as a “small” number of complaints of issues including nausea, stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea.

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

Gravity Skatewheel Conveyor Load & Usage Guide

February 3, 2010

gravity skatewheel conveyor

One of the simplest methods ever devised for conveying goods is undoubtedly the skatewheel conveyor, which  can be used in either temporary or permanent installations in virtually any kind of operation.

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Safety Rules for Pedestrians & Forklifts: Help them See You

January 18, 2010

This is a great video from WorkSafeBC on how to prevent forklift injuries from a pedestrian’s point of view.

As a pedestrian in a forklift environment, it’s your responsibility to keep yourself safe.  Anyone who runs a warehouse or industrial facility understands the dangers, and drivers should be trained. But do you train the pedestrians, the order pickers, the managers, and vendors who sometimes roam your facility?

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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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Warehouse Safety: Distracted Forklift Drivers

January 6, 2010

forklift distractions

If you’ve ever stopped at a traffic light, and shuddered at the texting, teenage (or all too often, an adult) driver in the next lane, you probably thought this is an irresponsible person who shouldn’t be behind the wheel. Given statistics that smart phone users are impaired as drunk drivers, it’s a serious and deadly issue; most states have laws specifically forbidding texting on the road. The question is, do you tolerate that kind of distractions for forklift drivers in your warehouse? Should you have the same rules? (Short answer: yes).

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How Much Money does Shipping Rivet Shelves Without Decks Save?

December 18, 2009

We sell loads of shelving all over the country, and one of the persistent issues is the cost of shipping. In particular, that’s an issue for industrial rivet shelving, which is the most economical type of shelving with the highest capacity. It is easily the most popular industrial shelf type going. For many customers, shipping an all inclusive shelving system is the easiest, most convenient thing — we do it all the time.

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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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