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

Protecting Overhead Dock Doors from Forklift Impacts

November 4, 2009

Dock door with overhead door protection system

Walk around any warehouse, manufacturing facility, or commercial storage operation of any size, you’ll almost always find two things — forklifts and dock doors. If that building has been in place for any substantial length of time, you’ll also find dinged, dented, ruined or replaced dock door guides, pallet rack frames, building columns, etc. It just happens that way. While many operations take steps to use guard rails or bollards to shield their critical machinery, dock doors can be left out.

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Getting the Load Right for your Pushback Rack

October 12, 2009

pushback rack applicaiton

Push back rack systems are excellent high density storage solutions — perhaps the most economical way to squeeze space out of a crowded warehouse.  All loads are stored and retrieved from the same aisle. This reduces the number of aisles needed in a facility, freeing up more space for storage. Aisles can take a great deal of space up in a typical warehouse, so by implementing a pushback pallet rack system, you essentially swap selectivity for space. Push back rack systems provide a Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) inventory rotation, so you have to be certain your load fits. If it does, congratulations — you’ve just saved a lot of space. But there are issues that can arise when pushback rack is inappropriately specified or utilized. Here are some of those…

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Designing workbenches for assembly, testing, packaging, or packing

September 24, 2009

technical workstation

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.

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

Industrial Scissor Lift Tables: Mobile vs. Stationary

September 9, 2009

Mobile lift tables comparison to stationary lift tables

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?

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7 Steps to prevent workers’ compensation fraud

September 8, 2009

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…

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Safety Tips for Utilizing Air Balancer, Rail and Jib Crane Systems

August 24, 2009

air balancer and rail system

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…

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What is Material Handling?

July 20, 2009

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.”

Posted in Manufacturing, Material Handling, News, Safety & Ergonomics, Supply Chain, Sustainability, Warehousing| No Comments »

10 steps to supply chain sustainability

July 17, 2009

green warehouse conveyor

The Material Handling Industry of America has posted a video that may be helpful if you are starting the process of “greening” your supply chain.

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.

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Manufacturing, Material Handling, News, Safety & Ergonomics, Space Saving, Supply Chain, Sustainability, Warehousing| No Comments »

Reduce air conditioning costs with high speed fans

June 15, 2009

Warehouse fan cooling system - ceiling mounted

It’s summer, and it’s hot. No doubt, if you have an air conditioned facility, your electric bills are headed someplace north of the top of the Eiffel Tower. HVLS (high volume, low speed) ceiling-mounted fans can reduce climate control costs, in particular when your facility is already air conditioned. Some ways this works after the jump…
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What’s the Most Useless Space in your Warehouse?

May 20, 2009

space wasted above dock doorsNext time you’re standing there wondering where you’re going to put an inbound shipment while your dock is stacked with empty pallets, look at those doors (or at the void above them)  —  the copious space between the top of the doors and the ceiling is unused. Multiply each door by that amount of space, and in many operations, we’re talking serious amounts of unused square footage.

The easy solution: find a use for it with over-dock-door storage. You can’t really rack heavy stuff up there without some significant structure. The best thing to consider is empty pallets, which take up a ton of room and are relatively lightweight. And usually, they’re all over the floor and always in your way. Empty pallets clutter up the shipping & receiving docks or can take up positions in your racks that would be better suited to full pallets of finished goods or incoming shipments.

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