Material Handling Experts


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

Seeing the light: how going energy efficient saves you money

April 19, 2010

Warehouse lighting system - high efficency

Implementing an energy-efficient lighting system can make your facility much brighter overall, and in particular, it can brighten those dark ‘canyons’ between rack rows.

It also saves you money on utility costs. In a large distribution center, the daily cost savings is significant, even before you factor in enhanced productivity due to an overall better working environment. But it gets better: Under the 2005 EPACT law, you can deduct the entire cost of a new lighting system, up to 60 cents a square foot if the system reduces lighting power density below he maximum allowable lighting power densities listed in ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2001, and if a few other requirements are met. This typically results in a much lower cost of ownership and a very quick return on investment.

Oh, and combined with other energy saving upgrades to your facility, that 60 cents could climb to $1.80 a square foot.

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Podcast: 5 Easy Ways to Save $100,000 in Distribution Costs

April 9, 2010

Cost vs. Service

The folks at the Material Handling Institute of America have thrown all of last year’s ProMat sessions in Podcast/Webcast form onto their website, for free. This presentation is intriguing – who doesn’t want to save a hundred grand? It’s presented by Louis J. Cerny, Vice President of Sedlak, and lasts about 37 minutes; it’s easy to listen to in the background if you don’t feel the need to watch the slide presentation.

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E24 Power Roller 24-volt Conveyor: Transfers & Merges

April 1, 2010

E24 Powered Roller Conveyor from Hytrol has become very popular with conveyor users due to its advantages over conventional conveyor and motorized rollers.  This quiet, energy-efficient conveyor fits the green mode that many operations are following, and can deliver exceptional flexibility, superb heat dissipation, and a robustness that cannot be achieved with motors embedded in conveyor rollers.

Below are two examples of  creative application of E24 technology…

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Vertical Lift helps University of Texas

March 22, 2010

Vertical Lift (VRC) at University of TexasTypically, you see Vertical Lifts deployed in heavy industrial settings. They’re frequently used in multilevel facilities, in manufacturing plants, or paired with a mezzanine.  Cisco-Eagle’s Houston office recently worked with Pflow to implement a lift in a unique application: to help the University of Texas marching band access the field.

From the IEN Article:

“Tradition dictates that the Texas band, cheerleaders, and Big Bertha, the world’s largest bass drum, enter the stadium through the north end zone after a pre-game parade. The initial design had the band march from the street to the field down a ramp with a clearance of only 3 ft below the main concourse. When it was determined that Big Bertha would not fit down the ramp, the architectural team sought to find a feasible solution. After a thorough review of various options, a Pflow Series-F VRC was specified to periodically elevate a section of the concourse up 9 ft, creating a 12 ft high clearance for the band to safely enter and exit the stadium through the ramp that passes under the main concourse.”

“Pflow partnered on the project with Cisco-Eagle, a material handling company based in Dallas and a longtime Pflow dealer in the Southwest. After an initial on-site consultation with the general contractor and the project architects, Cisco-Eagle and Pflow collaborated with Pflow’s industry leading engineering team and returned with an innovative solution. No other lift manufacturer came back with a proposal after the initial review phase, apparently assessing that the demands required of a viable system would be too great.”


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Did Wood Pallets Cause the Tylenol Recall?

February 11, 2010

wood pallets

According to DC Velocity, the answer may be yes.

The maker of several over-the-counter drugs, including Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl, announced a broad-based recall of these and other drugs after receiving complaints of an “unusual moldy, musty or mildew-like” odor. Johnson & Johnson received what the company described as a “small” number of complaints of issues including nausea, stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea.

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WERC Sets 2010 Annual Conference

January 26, 2010

WERC Conference logo

WERC (Warehousing Education and Research Council) has announced its 2010 Annual conference, geared for the needs of warehouse and distribution management. The conference is set for May 16-19, 2010. The WERC conference offers on a strong educational program for warehousing/distribution professionals from long-time to just-starting-out. Practitioners, subject matter experts, industry suppliers and academics freely share their experience and ideas. You’ll walk away with new insights on the best ways to optimize resources, maximize productivity and optimize performance. For more information or registration details, visit the official WERC site.

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Improve order picking processes without automation

November 20, 2009

Cliff Holste at Supply Chain Digest (opens in a new window) has a good piece on ways to improve picking productivity.

Distribution centers will benefit from emerging automated case picking technologies, but those don’t fit for every operation, at every level. They’re also expensive upgrades, so your ROI has to be considered as well.

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More Conveyor White Papers Published

October 27, 2009

conveyor white papers

We just finished adding 3 new Conveyor White Papers, including helpful information on Critical Product and Load Orientation, a Picking, Packing and Loading Application Matrix, and Sortation System Controls Comparisons table. All of these documents are PDF files, and all of them open in new windows. They’re all single-page, designed for quick downloading and reading. We will be adding more of these as they’re produced, so check back often.

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Managing an Effective Warehouse Operation

September 18, 2009

This is a plug for WERC’s upcoming seminar, “Achieving Warehouse Success: Your Comprehensive Guide to Managing an Effective Operation.” Warehousing requires expertise on 3 basic resources — space, equipment, and labor. Understanding how to integrate them for maximum effectiveness can transform any warehousing operation. The seminar is 3 days (October 14-16 in Long Beach, California). According to WERC, it will cover the following aspects of warehousing:

  • How to identify the precise problems that are 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 best suit your operations for storage and handling as well as order picking and order selection

WERC’s site says that it is good for Newly appointed supervisors and managers of warehouse, stockroom, storeroom and distribution centers, Supervisors and managers with little or no formal training, Plant storeroom, inventory, and materials managers, Stores, receiving, and shipping supervisors, or others who are interested in understanding the warehouse. It’s $975 for members, and $1,100 for nonmembers. Check it out at the WERC site if you are interested.

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Temporary, Accelerated Capital Equipment Depreciation in 2009

August 27, 2009

Tax incentivesThe American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has extended some of the 2008 business tax breaks for equipment purchases. These provisions have the ability to enhance your return-on-investment for equipment purchases in 2009, rather than waiting into next year.

Here’s how it works…

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