Material Handling Experts


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

Horizontal Carousels: why top driven is better

January 6, 2010

top driven horizontal carousel

The age-old argument of top-versus bottom-driven horizontal carousels comes up all too frequently (at least among carousel people). You may think it doesn’t really matter that much but in fact, it makes all the difference in the world. Supporting something from underneath makes sense. After all, trains, cars and most rolling objects are bottom-supported. Yet, the best designed horizontal carousels in the world are top-supported units that outperform bottom-supported units in both speed and efficiency. How can that be?

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Posted in Automation, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, ROI, Space Saving, Warehousing| No Comments »

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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Posted in Docks & Shipping, Material Handling, Pallet Rack, Safety & Ergonomics, Space Saving, 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 »

Saving Space: Shelves vs. Modular Drawers vs. Flow Racking vs. Vertical Carousels

June 3, 2009

Vertical carousels and space savings

This is a good visual comparison of how much space is utilized by various storage methods. The vertical carousel provides the same amount of storage space as several rows of shelving or modular drawer storage. In this particular instance, the carousel saves over 1,400 square feet of floor space when compared to shelving. Of course, you know the cost differences are significant, but there are other factors in making a decision about these types of storage equipment.

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Posted in Automation, Industrial Shelving, Material Handling, Pallet Rack, Space Saving, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

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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Posted in Docks & Shipping, Material Handling, Pallet Rack, Safety & Ergonomics, Space Saving, Warehousing| No Comments »

Workbench supply placement should be constantly evaluated

May 4, 2009

Packing operation with conveyor lines

There isn’t enough room at your average industrial workstation. In fact, many order pickers, packers, shippers, and other professionals might tell you that you could have a 10′ long workbench, and they’d still be squeezed for space. In a busy operation, it’s a constant battle between availability of materials and space for doing the actual work. So what’s the solution? A larger workbench top? According to (registration required, but a pretty useful resource from Dehnco – we have reprinted the entire piece here, with permission), if there is not enough workstation storage area a bigger table won’t help – and may hurt.

The tabletop surface should not be considered storage space in the first place. So that leaves the unanswered question: how do you get more storage space for needed materials?

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Posted in Conveyor, Material Handling, Safety & Ergonomics, Space Saving, Warehousing, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

Doing more with less: the core mission of material handling

April 27, 2009

Cisco-Eagle CEO Warren Gandall discusses ways to do more with less in a struggling economy

order picking at a warehouseAchieving more with less is a core goal of most businesses. In the warehousing and industrial world, that means building more, shipping more, doing more – controlling more – with fewer resources. The typical issue is labor in many of these operations. It takes people to run a shipping operation, and plenty of them.

“In economically challenging times like now, you’re being asked to produce more per person than ever,” said Cisco-Eagle’s CEO, Warren Gandall. “You’ve probably had to let people go. You may have shut down some areas, cancel contracts, cut a shift, and take the steps necessary to emerge from this downturn. But the big question is, how do you emerge stronger?”

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Cross Docking, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Space Saving, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

Metal Lockers: Quick Ship vs. Production

April 12, 2009

Penco Vanguard LockersWe’ve offered quick ship metal lockers from Penco for years. They ship fast, they’re easy to order, but sizes, color, and other options are limited. You can order them today and you’ll get them fast. They’re used all over the place – schools, warehouse locker rooms, industrial and commercial facilities. People like them for easy, inexpensive secure personal storage. But now, we’re offering Built to Order Vanguard Lockers priced by the frame on our site. This gives you a ton of options and flexibility.

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Posted in News, Security, Space Saving, Warehousing| No Comments »

A variety of material handling equipment guides

April 2, 2009

conveyor optimization guideHELP SPECIFYING JUST ABOUT ANYTHING

Over the years, we have compiled a large number of guides for everything material handling related. These are things that can tell you everything from what caster wheel works best on a particular surface (on a floor with oils and greases you would want phenolic wheels, for instance) to safe ladder usage, to mezzanine decking advice.

Conveyors are extensively covered in our guide areas (MHIA has recognized this resource in its annual content awards). There are lots of guides, and if you’re trying to specify a particular kind of equipment, it’s a good bookmark to have.

Posted in Conveyor, Material Handling, Mezzanines, Space Saving, Warehousing| No Comments »

How can you slash DC labor costs? With product slotting

March 24, 2009

The North Texas WERC (Warehouse Education and Resource Council) is presenting a Dinner & Educational seminar on the topic of product slotting. According to WERC, Product Slotting may be the most cost-effective improvement opportunity in today’s distribution center. Slotting is assigning an item into the right storage fixture type and placing it into a location that results in the most efficient use of space, equipment and labor resources. To get the product into the right location many factors can be analyzed including product velocity and order commonality. At the same time, the optimum location must satisfy special storage and handling requirements, such as weight and contamination issues. The optimization of product slotting can be complicated without the aid of an advanced slotting program. There are a few on the market, and WERC has invited Optricity to demonstrate how their slotting program  solves this complex opportunity to slash your DC labor costs.

The Dinner presentation is Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 4:30. It costs $40, and includes dinner and networking sessions. For more information, visit the WERC North Texas events page.

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