Material Handling Experts


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

How to Create a Conveyor Maintenance Checklist

October 4, 2016

Hytrol conveyor system

The following is a guest post by Boyce Bonham, Chief Engineer at Hytrol. 

Staying on top of your conveyor maintenance is an integral part to the success of your operation. When left untended, equipment can become inefficient, unreliable, and a potential safety hazard.  To keep your alleviate the problems that come with poorly-maintained equipment, it’s important to create and follow a standardized maintenance checklist for each of the conveyor types in your operation, from gravity conveyors to powered conveyors.

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Posted in Conveyor, Manufacturing, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Warehousing| No Comments »

Ergonomics and Hand Tools

July 19, 2016

manufacturing activities
Ergonomics should be wired into the design of all the processes of a modern industrial operation. Whether that means designing conveyor workstations with ergonomics in mind, utilizing work benches and stations that are adjustable for “right height” operations, adding turntables to rotate product, finding ways to reduce order pickers’ bending and stretching, or designing storage areas so that bending and stretching are minimized, well-designed operations bake ergonomics into their work processes.

One of the common areas you can attack is hand tool use. In many operations, strong younger workers may not complain about using heavy, hand-held tools for 8+ hours a day, but that stress is taking its tolls.

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Posted in Lifts, Manufacturing, Safety & Ergonomics, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

Improving Customer Experience Through Manufacturing

June 16, 2016

manufacturing activities

Today’s consumers know what they want — and they want it fast.

The global online marketplace has placed infinite possibilities at customers’ fingertips and competition is stiff. This is no longer a consumer trend; B2B companies have to change how they approach customer experience. Buyers are not only looking for a superior product, they also want great customer service and an efficient sales process.

Hue Schlegel of Wildeck put the current trend in the most succinct way possible: “The customer is king, so you have to give them what they want.”

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Technology’s Impact on Manufacturing & Distribution Center Industry

June 14, 2016

conveyor system automated

Automation comes sharply into focus at industry shows like this year’s Modex 2016. It’s an opportunity to see the latest innovations in technology up close and hear from vendors the new ways they are incorporating automated material handling systems into their own facilities, as well as serving their customers.

Manufacturing, distribution and supply chain companies are doing everything they can to keep pace with the rapid change of technology, from the Internet of Things to 3D printing to highly intuitive software. As we made our way around the show floor, we were curious how the increase of automation is affecting the workforce, updating facility processes, and changing how manufacturers do business. Let’s take a look:

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New Ways Manufacturers Are Attracting and Retaining Talent

June 8, 2016

manufacturing employees

If there’s one takeaway from Modex 2016 that will stick with us it’s that the supply chain industry is evolving at a rapid pace. From automated material handling to software that harnesses and makes sense of big data to safer and more ergonomic products, the show was rife with innovation.

While the technology is improving, most companies are facing challenges in another critical aspect: Hiring skilled workers. As the workforce ages and veteran employees look to retire, companies are struggling to fill positions. We’ve written about the manufacturing skills gap before and it was a topic that came up repeatedly in our conversations with industry colleagues at Modex. After all, the Manufacturing Institute research shows that by 2025 the skills gap will result in 2 million unfilled jobs. It’s a great concern across the industry.

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Modex Interview Series: Hytrol’s Perspective on Today’s Manufacturing Industry

May 25, 2016

shipping dock area

“The Greatest Supply Chain Show on Earth” – that was the slogan for Modex 2016 – and this year’s event at Atlanta, Georgia did not disappoint. During the busy four-day conference, we were fortunate to get a few minutes with Boyce Bonham, Director of Integrated Systems and Controls at Hytrol, a leader in the design and manufacturing of advanced conveyor systems.

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Posted in Lean, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Safety & Ergonomics| No Comments »

Modex Interview Series: SixAxis’ Perspective on Today’s Manufacturing Industry

May 18, 2016

Modex Show Floor

Modex is more than an opportunity for the material handling industry to convene in Atlanta, GA, network with peers, and exhibit products and solutions. Heralded at “the Greatest Supply Chain Show on Earth,” Modex offers manufacturers and distributors access to cutting-edge innovations, allowing them to position themselves and their organizations to take full advantage of the next wave of technology to hit the industry.

Estimated at 25,000 attendees, Modex 2016 was a great event. We took the chance to speak with some of the exhibitors. Here’s what SixAxis President Rob Honeycutt told us about the future of automation in manufacturing and distribution.

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Modex Interview Series: UNEX

May 10, 2016

Modex 2016 Show Floor, Atlanta Georgia

At Modex 2016 in Atlanta, we had the opportunity to sit down with Brian Neuwirth, President of UNEX, for a wide-ranging discussion on the state of manufacturing. He shared his insights on key issues facing the industry from improving customer experience to addressing the skills gap.

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Case Study: American Greetings Reduces Maintenance, Noise Levels

May 3, 2016

Conveyor system in Arkansas

American Greetings, the largest greeting card company in the world, with a mission that includes the desire to make the world “a more thoughtful and caring place,” had an issue with its aging conveyor system. The company creates a variety of greeting cards and other products in its massive Osceola, Arkansas facility (which has more than 10 miles of conveyors and occupies a space around the size of 57 football fields).

The plant runs 24 hours, so finding a way to upgrade without reducing production was a challenge.

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Industrial Workstations: The Key to Improved Productivity in the Warehouse

April 19, 2016

Modern packaging and shipping work bench station

Providing employees with a comfortable, ergonomic, and efficient workspace is a necessity in any picking, packing, assembly, inspection, quality control, manifesting or other industrial operations. A proper industrial workstation, tailored to the task and employee, goes a long way toward creating a healthier and more productive workspace and environment.

There are dozens of options for workstations, ranging from a simple bench to a more elaborate set up designed with the job in mind. Let’s take a look a few industrial workstations and their unique benefits.

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Posted in Manufacturing, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Product Ideas, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »