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

P.E. Seals and Calcs – what they are, and why you need them on mezzanine projects

June 19, 2008

structural mezzanineWhen you’re working on a mezzanine (or work platform) project, you may be provided P.E. seals and calculations. Here’s why you will get these elements…

What are P.E. Seals and Calcs?

  • Calculations are a hard copy document of the checks of the mezzanine structural components
  • Seals are a stamp placed on the calculations and drawings certifying that a state registered Professional Engineer (P.E.) has made or reviewed them

Who & Why might you need them?

  • To obtain building permits municipalities may require them
  • Required by municipality plan checkers to review for code compliance
  • The end user may require them to certify review of the structure
  • Some companies require them for their records

What is included?

  • 3 copies of the drawings and calculations (normal)
  • All with a P.E. seal for the state that the mezzanine will be installed

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Comparing Gravity Flow Rack Types

June 15, 2008

Carton flow rack system for order picking

Walk into any order fulfillment operation, and you will see gravity flow rack.

The reason is obvious–it’s one of the best ways to pick orders utilizing first-in, first-out principles. It used to be that there was one kind of the stuff, the plastic-wheel tracks, but these days the choices are more diverse than ever. For the most part, these flow rack types act the same; they decline toward the picker and boxes or totes or even larger components flow toward him. They’re restocked from the rear and picked from the front onto a takeaway conveyor line, a cart, workstation, or another step in the process.

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4 Practical Tips to Fight Summer Heat in the Warehouse

May 28, 2008

Manufacturing_Facility

There are many issues of productivity and safety that are stressed as the heat rises. As temperatures start to rise, it gets particularly hot in industrial facilities, warehouses, shops, and distribution centers where air conditioning isn’t always present, extremely costly, or very effective. Experts say that employee productivity increases when ambient temperatures are comfortable and plummets when they aren’t. Error rates climb and safety is compromised as workers fight through hot, sweaty conditions. Here are some ways you can go about combating the rigors of summer.

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Hytrol to hold the line on conveyor costs until June 30 despite escalating, unpredictable steel costs

May 22, 2008

conveyor system

Steel prices and fuel prices are headed nowhere but up in the coming months.

Price increases and surcharges have become commonplace, driven by increased steel costs and skyrocketing fuel prices. We look around and see manufacturers issuing price increases, steel surcharges and fees on a weekly basis. It’s industry-wide and it’s being driven by international demand and also some commodities market issues. We have seen manufacturers decline to provide a price – orders are priced at shipment. This is reminiscent of the 1970’s, and it’s welcome by absolutely nobody who runs an industrial facility or deals in material handling equipment.

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The top 10 OSHA violations for 2007

May 1, 2008

rack protected by steel guard railingFrom a total of 39,324 inspections last year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found 88,846 violations. For warehousers, distributors and manufacturers, the list is familiar.

  1. Scaffolding
  2. Fall protection
  3. Hazard communication
  4. Control of hazardous energy
  5. Respiratory protection
  6. Powered industrial trucks
  7. Electrical (wiring)
  8. Ladders
  9. Machine guarding
  10. Electrical (general requirements).

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

Steel shortages are coming; here’s how to avoid being impacted

February 22, 2008

Are you ready for 2004 all over again? the roller coaster ride of rising steel prices and surcharges may be on its way back.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, steel prices are rising amid tightened supplies and robust overseas demand. For industrial and warehousing operators (and for material handling companies like us) the implications are obvious: prices are going to increase and they are going to be volatile in 2008. According to the Journal, “The worst-case scenario could be a repeat of 2004, when manufacturers of many products, from automobiles to washing machines, faced severe steel shortages and record-high prices.” The price of hot-rolled steel has increased about 6% in the past two weeks. There is about a 3-month supply of steel remaining, and shortages are predicted.

The takeaway: if you’re considering a large capital project like a conveyor or rack system that utilizes lots of steel, the time to pull the trigger is probably now, not later, to avoid a large hit on escalating steel prices.

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Economic stimulus makes this a good time to implement facility upgrades

February 20, 2008

tax incentives for businessThe big news out of Washington the last couple of months has been on the tax rebate part of economic stimulus. What may have more impact on the economy, and will certainly have more impact on people in the warehousing or manufacturing business, are the business tax breaks that quietly came along with it. We’ll break them down into two primary areas…

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Free download: “10 Ways to use Material Handling to Increase Security”

January 17, 2008

material handling and security brochure

We have uploaded the (free!) PDF of our latest paper, “10 Ways to use Material Handling to Increase Security.” It’s a quick, 4-page read with an additional page on identification systems that can help you quickly sort out the nature of what is being conveyed for a higher level of security and efficiency. It’s free, printable, and worth your time. You might ask why a material handling company is concerned with security. I might ask why one wouldn’t be concerned with security. Sure, Cisco-Eagle doesn’t sell cameras or alarm systems. We don’t consult on personnel or security systems, but what we do is inseparable from  security, because the way you store and handle valuable items is impossible to separate from the way you secure them…

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Getting lean (but not mean) in your warehouse operation

December 30, 2007

cover for lean warehousing book

Sure, we’ve heard all the talk of lean manufacturing, but what about lean warehousing? I’ve been in facilities that have straightened production lines in pursuit of lean principles, and those lines included storage factors and materials handling, but I’ve never seen it specifically done in a distribution operation. Many warehousing operations have probably applied aspects of lean in the warehousing process, but how many have, from top to bottom, implemented a lean warehousing program?

The original concept of lean was designed for mass production of identical or similar items, so a straight conversion to warehousing, where volumes aren’t massive or standardized, isn’t a given. You can’t apply the science of lean exactly the same way, but you can definitely apply it.

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What Are OSHA’s Safety Standards for Mezzanines & Platforms?

December 11, 2007

We see a lot of structural mezzanines in our business in a range of facilities. They range from professionally manufactured to home-made, with quite a few fabricated by a local shop. It’s a good business for the fabrication shops (although maybe not so much for end-users, given the potential pitfalls), and if you go that route, you need to be sure your mezzanine fabricator is complying with OSHA & local safety regulations, particularly on guard railing, stairs and gates. You also have to look at local building codes. If your fabricator doesn’t routinely work with mezzanines, this is something you’ll have to do on your own. It’s not something to dismiss lightly.

The best policy is to look at established vendors if you don’t want to micro-manage the details of building permits, code compliance, and OSHA’s blessings.

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