Material Handling Experts


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

A Vinyl Strip Door Configuration Guide

December 3, 2008

Warehouse door  with vinyl strip door accessAt this time of the year, many companies find the need to maintain open access to dock doors and warehouses without letting heat and other environmental controls escape into the cold. The obvious solution has been to install vinyl strip doors, which allow easy access to foot and lift truck traffic while they also keep climate-controlled air in – and cold air out.

We’ve created a guide to specifying vinyl strip doors to help you understand what types of strip materials to use, how much is needed to cover a particular opening, and which mounting system might work best for you.

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Pallet rack frame and overall rack capacities – how to deal with larger, bulky items in rack storage

November 20, 2008

pallet rack overall capacitySince overloading is a common source of pallet rack collapses, (in fact misapplication, including capacity issues, is the top cause) it’s important to understand how much weight your rack – not just your beams – can bear.

For a piece of storage equipment that is relatively simple, ensuring that the rack can hold what you want it to hold is sometimes complex – particularly on very heavy loads, or large but not so heavy loads. This article focuses on upright frame capacities. Beam capacities are pretty simple – they’re listed per pair of beams by most rack sellers, and you just adhere to them with your pallet loads. But frame capacity is not as straightforward as a beam capacity…

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Posted in Industrial Shelving, Material Handling, Pallet Rack, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Cisco-Eagle to present at North Texas WERCouncil End of Year “Celebration and Education”

November 12, 2008

Cargill Distribution in Friona, TexasIf you’re in the North Texas area or can easily make the trip, I highly recommend that you attend the North Texas Warehousing Education and Resource Council  “Celebration and Education” seminar on December 10, 2008 in Dallas at the Marriott DFW Airport North.  It’s an excellent day of networking, education and fun. Cisco-Eagle’s Donald Prater is presenting at this session, on the topic “Cargill Excel Beef Case Study – Taking Order Fulfillment to the Next Level.” Donald has implemented multiple facilities for Excel over the years and has keen insights on how to best improve the operations at these kinds of fast-paced, complex operations that you can apply to an operation of almost any kind.

The conference costs $30.

See  our case study on Excel’s innovative order fulfillment project.

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Posted in Automation, Manufacturing, Material Handling, News, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

When it Comes to Order Picking, Don’t Walk the Walk

November 3, 2008

picking & restocking from shelvesIn a recent Catalog Success magazine, the following facts were reaffirmed: Three areas – picking, packing and returns – take anywhere from 60% to 80% of labor costs in your typical distribution operation. 60% of the average pickers’ time is spent walking. Not picking, not packing, not checking for quality and accuracy – walking. This is an activity that cannot add value to your operation or to your customers, so you should strive to eliminate it whenever possible.

Not only does it waste time, it makes people tired, and tends to cause a loss in focus and can increase error rates.

Here are some ways to go about removing “walk time” from your operation…

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Industrial Shelving, Space Saving, Warehousing, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

New testing methods deployed at University of Arkansas RFID research center

October 30, 2008

rfid-conveyor.jpgDmitriy Nesterkin, a graduate student employee of the University of Arkanas RFID Research Center, has recently developed a new test data management system for use in the Lab. His software application will allow test data to be stored and analyzed from within one system. In recent weeks, the RFID Research Center has also added two Masters of Information Systems (MIS) students to their staff. These two students have successfully extended a software application that was written by former student employee, Jarrod Bourlon. This application will now be able to handle new inputs and outputs. (Note: Cisco-Eagle is a strategic sponsor of the RFID center)

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Material Handling, News, RFID, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

OSHA releases Forklift eTool

October 27, 2008

forklift-operation.jpgOSHA has released an eTool (which is basically just an informational web page) for powered lift trucks that you might find useful. It has drill-down information on the following categories:

  • Basic  Types and Fundamentals – The differing types and fundamentals of powered trucks
  • Operating the Forklift – the basic operating rules and safe work practices
  • Understanding the Workplace – how workplace conditions can affect safe operation
  • Training Assistance – operator training required by OSHA

This information specifically addresses OSHA’s Powered Industrial Truck requirements [29 CFR 1910.178]

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Posted in Lifts, Material Handling, News, Pallet Rack, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

WERC Houston Warehousing Seminar Rescheduled

October 8, 2008

Due to Hurricane Ike, the previous dates for the WERC (Warehouse Education Resource Council) were cancelled. The Council has rescheduled.  The new dates for this intensive 3-day seminar are November 10-12, 2008. WERC typically packs useful, solid information into their seminars, so if you’re in South Texas or feel like traveling there, this one may be worth your time. According to WERC, attendees will learn:

  • How to identify the precise problems that are the most troublesome in your warehouse
  • Which operations require your attention and how to prioritize work demands
  • Why leadership and communication skills are important to managing people, boosting morale, and solving labor/management conflicts
  • How to lay out your warehouse for good space utilization, material handling compatibility, and optimum flow efficiency
  • Which equipment and technology enablers best suit your operations for storage and handling as well as order picking and order selection.

See for complete information. Those who registered previously do not need to re-register.

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Posted in Material Handling, News, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

Intermingling new & existing pallet rack parts

October 3, 2008

pallet rack beam and upright connectionWhen you are running an operation with lots of racking, it isn’t uncommon to have to replace an occasional upright or beam, or to add new bays onto an existing row. Sometimes you cannot avoid it, as the rack was purchased years ago, by someone else, from a source you can’t even locate. It might be that you bought used rack and need to fill some gaps in, or it may be perfectly good, 15-year old rack that just needs some expansion or damaged components replaced.

This is done all the time, and although it isn’t an optimum situation for rack stability and safety, you can minimize the issues by following the following guidelines:

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Straight Conveyor Transfers: An Illustrated Application Guide

September 24, 2008

Straight conveyor transfer, roller to belt

This guide provides some quick tips to avoid snags, box tumbling, & hang-up’s when you’re transferring from one conveyor to another. Transfers are used to move a package from one conveyor to another, often in a longer line. Straight transfers are the most common type, used to connect individual conveyors in a longer line. Typically, these conveyors can be utilized in straight transfer applications:

Check it out: A guide to conveyor transfers

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Material Handling, Warehousing| No Comments »

Ten questions to ask when you’re considering a VRC (Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor) Lift

September 23, 2008


A few months ago, we posted a Guide to Vertical Reciprocating Conveyors (you might find it useful if you’re looking at any application that moves a load up and down at least one level integrated with a shaft, mezzanine or other are). That guide includes the following questions, which you should be able to answer as you move ahead with your project.

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Posted in Automation, Lifts, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Mezzanines, Space Saving, Warehousing| No Comments »