Many operations utilize pallet or slip-sheet to convey bulked material, whether in manufacturing, work in process, to convey from a palletizer, or in shipping areas. While some applications require these palletized items to only be carried the last few feet of their process, many rely solely on the pallets to carry their product throughout a facility. Today’s processes require a smarter and often unique footprint for these palletized items. However, historically these unique footprints have been difficult for the material handling, namely conveyors, to handle effectively.
It ought to be fairly simple, but specifying the right workbench for your application is something that deserves thought and pre-planning. Minor differences in the type of bench can provide critical benefits that add up to major productivity gains over time. Benches aren’t the simple, static equipment many believe. Here are some traits to consider
Application: A clear, flat surface is the basis for most workstations. The bigger question is this: how will it be used? Will you be packing orders? Repairing or assembling? Will it integrate with conveyors or assembly lines? Will you need access to certain supplies? Ergonomic considerations will play heavily into this part of the decision making process.
Mobile lift tables are increasing in popularity in many assembly and repair operations for a number of reasons, but using this flexible material handling device must be approached correctly, and with your eyes open. They provide more flexible use (move them where you want them) in everything from printing or assembly industries to pallet breakdowns in distribution. They’re great for flexible production lines or lean manufacturing lines or work cells where the ability to lift and move something is at a premium – in particular if you need to frequently reconfigure work areas.
Obviously, a lift table you can roll to where you need it is highly desirable, but what does that mobility cost you? And when should you choose stationary lift table over mobile?
Duncan Prince of Material Handling Wholesaler has a short, informative piece you might appreciate on preventing workers’ compensation fraud. In a system that costs business billions of dollars every year, there is ample opportunity — and motivation — for fraud. Prince argues that many employers, but in particular smaller operations, take a hands-off approach to worker compensation. After all, they believe that it is just an insurance issue.
The problem: worker compensation fraud isn’t an insurance issue at all…
If you utilize an air balancer in your operation, how can you know you’re safely handling loads? Balancers inherently create a safer, more ergonomic operation by removing manual lifting and positioning (even of heavy items) and replacing it with a near-float system, where heavy loads are lifted and positioned by the balancer – not by people.
Here are some tips from Ingersoll Rand to make your operation even safer…
We’ve been posting a series of brief conveyor white papers. There are 5 now, with many others in development for future publication. You’ll always be able to download these PDF files from our site, and will be informed as there are new ones. This paper, “Conveyor System Implementation Considerations” (PDF file; opens in a new window) focuses on implementation considerations.
In my mind, material handling can be boiled down to this statement Cisco-Eagle developed years ago:
“Material Handling is a set of solutions for the movement, storage, retrieval, control and protection of materials and products throughout their manufacture, distribution, consumption and disposal. We enable clients to get the right amount of the right material to the right place at the right time in the right sequence in the right position in the right condition for the right cost in a safe manner.”
Baby steps are important, especially at the plant level. For instance, in a recent Cisco-Eagle white paper (PDF), we point out the value of energy efficient conveyor motors. A thousand feet of conveyor outfitted with energy efficient motors could cut enough energy costs over five years to pay for 90% of the cost of the equipment. Also, besides its money savings and “green” profile, you are also saving on heat, which means the equipment may require less maintenance, and endure less wear and tear. It’s a win-win.
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.