Material Handling Experts


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

Mixed-Load Robotic Palletizing Application Video

May 10, 2011

In this video, a Fanuc robot is executing mixed-load palletizing of beer cases at a distribution center.

In this operation, differently-sized beer cases are conveyed to the robot to fulfill a specific order. Since the cases vary by width, length, and height, their dimensional information is sent to the robot by the WMS (warehouse management system). The robot utilizes mixed-load palletizing software to determine the best pattern to build a pallet with the available products, achieving high density and stack stability with rapid speed.

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Palletizers, Robotics, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

Best Practices for Warehousing – 13 Tips for Productivity

March 17, 2011

Improving a warehousing operation is a complex endeavor that can be approached from any number of angles.  Here are 13 common actions you can consider in any warehouse improvement effort…

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Posted in Automation, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, ROI, Supply Chain, Warehousing| 10 Comments »

A Guide to Automated Stretchwrap Machinery

February 19, 2011

rotary tower stretchwrap machinesWe’ve recently posted a guide to stretchwrap machine specification and justification. For operations with the kind of throughput where automation makes sense, machine driven stretchwrappers can enhance quality as well as increase speed. They also offer ergonomic benefits and material savings.

Also, see: standard Stretchwrap Machine models and specs.

Posted in Automation, Cross Docking, Docks & Shipping, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, ROI| No Comments »

Cisco-Eagle Expands Robotics and Automation Offerings

January 10, 2011

Robot intengrated with conveyorsCisco-Eagle has always provided integrated material handling systems, but we’re entering a new phase by partnering with companies like SSI Schaefer, HighJump WMS, Orion Packaging, Fanuc Robotics, ABB Robotics, von Gal, and more. We recently invited Dr. Sam Chen to join us as Senior Robotics and Software Engineer. Dr. Chen will complement our existing controls and implementation services, allowing us to integrate robotics, palletizers, packaging machinery, and other equipment with conveyors and other material handling solutions.

We have engineered and implemented hundreds of systems in distribution, manufacturing, order fulfillment, and other applications. We can now help clients to a greater degree by providing advanced control systems, robotics, and more.

More details on these partnerships are coming soon.

Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Manufacturing, Material Handling, News, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Palletizers, Warehousing| No Comments »

“Undercover Boss” Underlines the Difficulties of Large Scale Distribution

December 26, 2010

Tonight’s Undercover Boss on CBS features GSI Commerce CEO Michael G. Rubin, and as my wife and I were watching it, the loading, order picking and packing segment brought home the difficulties of these operations. It’s a somewhat rare mainstream glimpse into large scale distribution operations.

The order picking segment from GSI’s Lexington, Kentucky distribution center in particular stressed the disadvantages associated with walking in order picking operations. Armed with RF guns, the pickers tow order picking shelf carts between picking aisles. They leave the carts in a center aisle and move down rack aisles where inventory is stored in bins.

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, News, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Warehousing| No Comments »

Pallet Rack Wire Decking: Calculating Gauges and Capacity

December 7, 2010

Wire gauge is a crucial element in wire pallet rack deck design and is also one of the first places manufacturers look to when needing to cut costs, meaning it’s one of the first places you should look when comparing decking for your pallet rack project. Lower cost is great, but only if you’re getting the capacity and durability you need.

Just because two decks are the same size in no way makes them the same deck. That can be all right, so long as both can hold your load and last for the long term.

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Posted in Manufacturing, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Pallet Rack, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Saving Space in Rack Storage Areas

December 3, 2010

pallet rack rows

Pallet rack storage is relatively inexpensive and extremely common. In many facilities, it also consumes the majority of square footage. When you can cut down on this space, significant gains can be made that allow you to use the square footage for other purposes. Here are some ideas for reducing your rack storage footprint while maintaining storage capacity.
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Posted in Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Pallet Rack, ROI, Space Saving, Warehousing| No Comments »

Manufacturing & Distribution Professionals Pressured to “Deliver More Value”

November 8, 2010

distribution center conveyor system

The Integrated Systems and Controls (ISC) Council of Material Handling Industry of America has released a new report titled An Evaluation of Operational Performance in Warehousing, Distribution and Manufacturing., and it has some interesting information for those who operate warehouses, distribution centers, manufacturing, and commercial operations.

The key thing? You’re still being asked to squeeze more value from your operation – and you need to be able to do it with fewer resources.

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Manufacturing, Material Handling, News, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Supply Chain, Sustainability, Warehousing| No Comments »

The E24 24-Volt Conveyor Roller Timing Belt Transfer

November 4, 2010

e24 power roller conveyor transfer

E24 CONVEYOR LOGOWe’ve explained the advantages of 24-volt roller conveyor systems in the past, and wanted to get to you with this new product announcement from Hytrol: the Timing Belt Transfer. The E24™ powered timing belt strands and a pneumatic lift make this conveyor accessory powerful enough to sort up to 40 cartons per minute. The neoprene timing belts are coated with urethane to ensure positive grip when transferring the product. The drive sheaves come standard with ABEC-1 bearings, contributing to longer transfer life. The modular design of the transfer allows for simple system configurations.

Integrating an E24™ Transfer into your system is easy, as the standard configuration bolts into 3-inch roller centers in just minutes. For full bed width and extended configurations, an optional E24™ lineshaft kit is available so roll-to-roll o-rings are out of the way.

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Material Handling, News, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Warehousing| No Comments »

The Top Ten OSHA Violations for 2009 – and How to Avoid Some of Them

November 1, 2010

The National Safety Council has released its list of the top 10 OSHA safety violations for 2009, and there is plenty to chew on if you are running a warehouse, manufacturing facility, military installation, or distribution center. In fact, several of these categories drop directly into the laps of material handling operations. Worse news: violations are up over 30 percent.

The list is as follows:

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Posted in Manufacturing, Material Handling, Mezzanines, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Safety & Ergonomics, Security, Warehousing| No Comments »