Material Handling Experts


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

Preventing Energy Leaks at the Dock Door

September 20, 2011

Loading dock door
Any operation with dock doors faces an uphill challenge when it comes to preserving the climate inside. In particular, air-conditioned and heated facilities must face the reality of losing large volumes of treated air when trailers must be loaded or unloaded. Managers will be asked to scrutinize every expense, and the loss of climate controlled air can be a significant expense.

So how can you minimize air and energy loss?

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Posted in Cross Docking, Docks & Shipping, Safety & Ergonomics, Sustainability, Warehousing| No Comments »

Ten Reasons to Automate your Operation

June 10, 2011

automated robotic palletizer

In the not-too-distant past, most companies that weren’t running immense distribution operations, who didn’t have multiple facilities, who didn’t run 24-hour shifts, didn’t even consider automation. Too expensive, they’d say. Too much risk. Too little upside if things go wrong.  All valid in context, if we were in 1998. But the reality is this: While most costs—personnel, land, energy— have increased, automation costs have remained steady or declined across the board. The reality today is that the four guys stacking pallets at the end of a line, even for a single shift, even at low wages, are more expensive than a well configured palletizing system.

Those costs aren’t going to do anything but escalate, either. Listed are ten ways automation has become more relevant, even to mid-size operations:

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Robotics, ROI, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

Smart Labor Management Helps Cut Warehouse Costs

May 22, 2011

packing operations

Especially as the economic recovery continues, it’s important to control costs in your operation. What are some warehousing cost-cutting methods you can employ that don’t require extensive investment or re-tooling? Most of the costs of warehousing operations fall into the following categories:

  • People
  • Real Estate, Utilities & other Fixed Costs
  • Inventory
  • Technology

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Posted in Lifts, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Safety & Ergonomics, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

Picking Bar Stock, Steel, or Pipe: Rack Storage Options

March 24, 2011

storing bar stock

Especially in heavy manufacturing, machine shops, petroleum, or chemical operations, large bundles of pipe, tubing, bar stock, or other long, heavy loads must be stored and picked during the day. Multiple ways are available to store these loads.  They can be picked by forklifts, by hand, by hoist or crane. The choices you make will determine how you access the product (and how easily), how much space it takes, and its safety. Here are the options:

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Posted in Manufacturing, Material Handling, Safety & Ergonomics, Space Saving, Warehousing| No Comments »

11% of Forklifts are Involved in Accidents Annually. What Can You Do?

January 14, 2011

hurtling forklift

There isn’t much other way to say it: If you have a forklift, it is almost surely the most dangerous piece of equipment under your roof. If you have many forklifts, that danger us multiplied.

How dangerous? According to OSHA estimates, there are 61,800 minor injuries, 34,900 serious injuries and 85 forklift related deaths in the United States every year. Since there are almost 900,000 forklifts operating at any given point in the United States, this is something that every operation needs to consider when your forklifts start moving on a busy day. 11% of them stand a good chance of being in an accident or collision every single year. Those aren’t great odds, considering that a forklift in a given warehouse is heavy, moving, and in a noisy and often visually crowded environment.

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, Lifts, Manufacturing, Safety & Ergonomics| 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 »

Why Warehouse Employees Ignore Safe Lifting Advice – and How to Help Them

December 5, 2010

lifting boxes and cartons correctly

The most common advice that ergonomics experts, OSHA, and other researchers provide to people in warehousing or other jobs that require manual lifting is that you should always bend your knees and lift that way, rather than bend at the waist to pick something up. Repetitive stress on the lower back is staggering: 20% of workplace injuries are related to lower back issues. Lifting right is essential to employee safety, and also to preventing Worker Compensation claims.

Even when you train employees to lift right – and we know that not everyone does – they frequently ignore the advice. Why?

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Posted in Lifts, Safety & Ergonomics, 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 »

A guide to storing gas cylinders

October 26, 2010

cylinder safety cabinet

One of the more dangerous items that you’ll find at virtually every facility is the humble gas cylinder. In warehouses or manufacturing operations, you’ll find LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) canisters that power gas forklifts. You’ll also find vertical cylinders for welders, cutting torches, or other equipment operations. Too often, you will find them standing against a wall or on the dock with no protection at all.

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, Safety & Ergonomics, Security| No Comments »

Testing Cantilever Racks for Lateral Deflection

October 21, 2010

cantilever storage racks

Cantilever racks are the best way to store long, heavy loads. Whether the load is a single item or a bundle of them (like lumber, tubing, or pipes), as long as you understand the load, these racks are ideal storage. One key to correctly loading and specifying them is nailing the necessary lateral spacing vs. load weight so that you have enough arms beneath the load.

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