Material Handling Experts


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

Conveyor Education: A Basic Maintenance Checklist

July 1, 2009

service and maintenance

We’re compiling a great deal of conveyor-related information, tips and articles into a series of downloadable conveyor white papers.  The first focuses on the basics of conveyor maintenance – what to do, when to do it, and how, in general terms. As the paper says, most conveyors ship with detailed maintenance manuals that will help your staff keep them running at top efficiency. The good news is that conveyors are very tough, reliable machinery. They require maintenance, but for the hours of service and stress put on them, they are remarkably reliable.

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CEMA releases unit handling conveyor application guidebook

June 18, 2009

CEMA application guide for unit handling conveyors

CEMA, (Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association) has released its Application Guide for Unit Handling Conveyors.  This is an in-depth guide for design details and application guidance of Unit Handling Conveyors (these conveyors typically mean pallet handling, but also can encompass cartons, totes, monorail, and manufactured items.  This application guide was collaborated by conveyor industry leaders. Order yours directly from CEMA for $250 plus ship/handling charges of $15.75 per single copy. CEMA may offer discounts of orders of 20+ books.

More on Unit Handling Conveyors:

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Reduce air conditioning costs with high speed fans

June 15, 2009

Warehouse fan cooling system - ceiling mounted

It’s summer, and it’s hot. No doubt, if you have an air conditioned facility, your electric bills are headed someplace north of the top of the Eiffel Tower. HVLS (high volume, low speed) ceiling-mounted fans can reduce climate control costs, in particular when your facility is already air conditioned. Some ways this works after the jump…
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Saving Space: Shelves vs. Modular Drawers vs. Flow Racking vs. Vertical Carousels

June 3, 2009

Vertical carousels and space savings

This is a good visual comparison of how much space is utilized by various storage methods. The vertical carousel provides the same amount of storage space as several rows of shelving or modular drawer storage. In this particular instance, the carousel saves over 1,400 square feet of floor space when compared to shelving. Of course, you know the cost differences are significant, but there are other factors in making a decision about these types of storage equipment.

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Staged Shipments at Risk for Pilferage

May 25, 2009

Warehouse dock theft

The everyday stuff that hits many shipping docks may not be as organized, or to such a scale, but any operation that stores, ships or receives valuable items is at risk of being hit – or is already being hit to some degree.  In the above case, an organized group of thieves working at a shipping dock would simply wait until after a supervisor finished checking outbound shipments and add more to them. Since the shipments sat on the docks for 90 minutes, it gave the pilferers plenty of time to work on this. They would place extra cases onto staged pallets and those would ship out on trucks driven by colluding drivers. The next day, the drivers would sell the extra product for cash and split the proceeds with their warehouse accomplices.

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What’s the Most Useless Space in your Warehouse?

May 20, 2009

space wasted above dock doorsNext time you’re standing there wondering where you’re going to put an inbound shipment while your dock is stacked with empty pallets, look at those doors (or at the void above them)  —  the copious space between the top of the doors and the ceiling is unused. Multiply each door by that amount of space, and in many operations, we’re talking serious amounts of unused square footage.

The easy solution: find a use for it with over-dock-door storage. You can’t really rack heavy stuff up there without some significant structure. The best thing to consider is empty pallets, which take up a ton of room and are relatively lightweight. And usually, they’re all over the floor and always in your way. Empty pallets clutter up the shipping & receiving docks or can take up positions in your racks that would be better suited to full pallets of finished goods or incoming shipments.

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1,149,120 Hytrol Model TA Belt Conveyor Combinations

May 13, 2009

Model TA belt conveyor

Over the last few months, we have been tweaking the conveyors offered on our website to offer a variety of options in a usable, easy-to-understand format. What we came up with is an online configuration system that allows great flexibility in changing the conveyor the way you want to change it.

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Limiting Access to your Dock & Warehouse Areas

May 12, 2009

man trap driver security cage

Leaving a dock door open all day is an invitation to have someone stroll your aisles, check out your inventory, and perhaps take something. Most busy operations, particularly in good weather situations, leave those doors open. Often, the crew is busy with actual work; they don’t have the time to monitor visitors, delivery drivers, service providers, and every other person who strolls in.

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Steel (and Material Handling) Prices might be on the Move

May 12, 2009

Steel millAlthough most metal markets are still depressed from their all time highs of the last few years, it’s quite likely that steel pricing is going to increase in the near term. What’s that mean? It means that pricing for steel goods like warehouse racks, conveyors, shelving, mezzanines, and other material handling equipment will be on the rise.

“We are clearly going to see higher prices for May,” said Marty Forman, president of Forman Metal Co.  in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Things aren’t going to explode, by any means, but the scuttlebutt is that steel prices are going up $15 to $20 a ton.”

The takeaway? Prices are as low as they will be for the near future right now.

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The Plight of the Warehouse Manager

May 6, 2009

warehouse manager - distribution center management

With the advent of widespread e-commerce fulfillment, just-in-time principles, lean management, supply chain collaboration, globalization, the need for ever-faster response, and constant pressure to reduce expenses through headcount and shift reductions, today’s warehouse manager is being asked to do more than ever before.

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