Material Handling Experts


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

Comparing Pallet Rack Frame Protectors

January 21, 2016

pallet rack loading
Pallet rack damage can be extremely costly and dangerous. Damaged racks are more likely to collapse or spill their loads, so avoiding that damage is critical.

Day after day, year after year, it’s inevitable that a busy forklift driver in a fast-paced operation will eventually hit a rack upright. I’ve been in many facilities and seen lots of damaged frames, ranging from paint scrapes to twisted steel. This might not cause an immediate collapse, although it can. It does set you up for trouble down the road when another truck impacts the same upright, the rack is overloaded or loaded incorrectly.

Any dented, gouged or twisted rack uprights should be replaced, but how can you avoid that damage in the first place? Let’s examine some common rack protector types and where they might fit for you.

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7 Ways Industrial Housekeeping Boosts Productivity & Safety

January 14, 2016


Most people work less effectively, are less comfortable, and have poorer attitudes in a messy environment. For industrial facility operators, housekeeping can sometimes lag behind with busy days where people hardly have time to look up, much less deal with the clutter and byproducts of meeting shipping deadlines or production demands.

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10 Expert Insights on 2016 Manufacturing Trends

January 12, 2016


As noted in one Citrix report, 2016 is set to become a watershed year for manufacturing.
“The industry is showing signs of reinvention in areas including automation, 3d printing and data analysis, and the next five years looks to be pivotal in realizing this change,” says a Global Manufacturing article on the report findings.

With manufacturing at such a critical point in its long history, the ways in which industry leaders view the changing landscape will likely shape its future. Manufacturing in particular is positioned for domestic growth and, more than ever, industry leaders must guide their organizations strategically.

To get a sense of how experts are approaching the year ahead (and how this year’s trends compare to previous years), we connected with our vendor partners and other industry leading organizations.

The following is a look at 10 expert opinions on 2016 trends: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Automation, Manufacturing, ROI, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| 1 Comment »

Structural vs. Roll-Form Pallet Racks: a Comparison

November 16, 2015

structural rack application

Structural vs. roll form racks: which fits your application and operation best?

Roll-form selective rack is the standard for many industrial storage operations. It’s the go-to rack due to its teardrop assembly, ease-of-use, and strength. Because it doesn’t require bolts or other hardware (aside from a snap-on safety clip) to attach beams to uprights, it’s a popular option for selective industrial pallet storage operations. But there is another option: structural rack with bolt-on beam/frame connections, higher capacities and rigidity.

Why would you use structural racks rather than roll-form racking?

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How Conveyors Improve Lean Operations

November 12, 2015


In Lean Manufacturing, less is more.

A Lean operation’s ultimate goal is to eliminate waste in a system, which it achieves by creating flexibility and disposing of overproduction. Lean environments sometimes shy away from using powered conveyors in their operations, but when correctly applied, automation propels Lean Manufacturing goals—not hinders them. It’s the “secret sauce” of excellent lean manufacturing and warehousing operations.

In a true Lean environment, the customer is paramount. In other words, you need to consider what the customer wants to pay for at every point in your production. The automated solutions of today can help your Lean Manufacturing operation in three significant ways. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Lean, Manufacturing, Warehousing| 2 Comments »

A Guide to Stacking Bulk Materials

November 10, 2015

When you have bulk materials to store and handle, when is it best to stack them on the floor, and when do you need to move it to storage equipment like heavier racks? How can you safely and effectively stack these materials on the ground? OSHA offers some guidelines on the question from a safety perspective. When you do opt for either floor stacking or rack storage, what are some safeguards you should take?

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Wire Shelving Advantages Over Standard Shelving

November 5, 2015

Wire Shelving Examples
What specialized applications do you have for shelving? Cold storage capable? Biohazard resistant? Air flow through shelves? Fire sprinklers able to reach all levels? Bin storage and easy visibility of shelf contents? All these are great reasons to go with wire shelving, which can serve multiple purposes in a facility and is less likely to retain airborne dust and debris.

Let’s look at some of the wire shelving options available.

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This article is part of a series of articles on Industrial Shelving. Click on a link below to view one of the other articles.
  1. Wide Span Bulk Shelving Offers More Capacity
  2. The Flexibility of Steel Shelving
  3. The Value & Versatility of Rivet Shelving
  4. Mobile Shelving Puts Supplies Where You Need Them
  5. Wire Shelving Advantages Over Standard Shelving

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Posted in Industrial Shelving, Inventory Management, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Product Ideas, Space Saving, Warehousing| No Comments »

Goods-to-Picker Methods and Alternatives

October 29, 2015

as rs system

The long path from person to product

In a distribution or warehousing operation, the most common working concept is “person-to-goods” order picking, which simply means that order pickers move to storage locations, often pushing or pulling carts and reading orders off paper. These pickers spend significant amounts of time walking between storage, and are then expected to decipher an order picking sheet. These operations spend lots of money and time and resources on those steps. Picking paths and storage locations evolve as inventory profiles change — and not always for the better.

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OSHA’s Top 10 List for FY2015

October 21, 2015
OSHA's Top 10 Safety Violations

The annual National Safety Council Congress & Expo has come and gone and one of the best take-aways from that event was the announcement of OSHA’s top ten most-cited safety violations for FY2015. None of the items on the list were especially surprising, except perhaps the numbers of citations, and all types of violations should give you cause to stop and think about how well you’ve done with safety in those areas.

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How to Properly Evaluate Your Warehouse Management System (WMS)

October 15, 2015


What Does a Warehouse Management System Do?

A medium-sized chain of convenience stores once asked me to take a look at their Warehouse Management System (WMS) to see if it was time for an upgrade. After documenting all the functions it performed, we discovered that none of them could be described as serving warehouse activities. The system had lots of good purchasing functions—but offered nothing to support the actual warehouse.

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Posted in Automation, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »