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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How Much Difference do Fully-Enclosed Pallet Rack Frames Make?

April 5, 2010

How much difference can a fully enclosed pallet rack upright make? When it comes to the kind of significant injuries, product damage, and overall safety of a warehouse or commercial facility, the minor cost differences are insignificant compared to the potential savings if you prevent just one accident over the next decade. Imagine suffering an accident like this one.

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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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Another completely preventable forklift accident

February 16, 2010

You can see some of the mistakes happening in this video. Others aren’t so obvious.

What were the problems here?

#1: The driver is traveling too fast. That said, he’s not racing, but that doesn’t matter. He’s carrying a wide load through a narrow space. He was either distracted or he went faster than he should have through a tight spot, or both.

#2: The aisle is cluttered. Why create a pinch point with stacks of drums? Poor housekeeping in a warehouse is dangerous. One of the best things you can do for safety in your warehouse is to make sure there is adequate — or more than adequate — aisle space. It should be clear, it should be clean, it should have space and it should be highly visible. It should never be close to this tight. If you need space, find it elsewhere.

#3: The pallet racks were possibly overloaded. That forklift was moving too fast for the situation, but it wasn’t pedal-to-the-metal-fast. Although the weight of a forklift can turn a slow impact into devastation, a properly loaded, undamaged rack with upright post protectors should not necessarily collapse when struck slowly.  While you never want to smack an upright, exceeding rack capacities can make them much more susceptible to collapse, even to minor impacts. Always know your listed capacity, and stick to it.

#4: The uprights may have suffered previous damage. This can cause a collapse. I’ve been in warehouses where you could walk for five minutes and find a dozen bent uprights. That’s insanity. There isn’t any way to tell whether or not the upright was dented from this video, but the point is this: routinely inspect your racks and assess your uprights. They’re cheap to replace, and doing so could prevent injuries and major accidents.

#5: The driver should not have fled the forklift. It has a cage for a reason — to protect him from falling objects. He was much safer inside than he was doing the “Die Hard” jump out.

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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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The Best Manufacturing Plants in America: What They Have in Common

February 9, 2010

Industry Week ran a recent article on the best manufacturing operations in the U.S.

IW says that these operations have the following traits in common…

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Gravity Skatewheel Conveyor Load & Usage Guide

February 3, 2010

gravity skatewheel conveyor

One of the simplest methods ever devised for conveying goods is undoubtedly the skatewheel conveyor, which  can be used in either temporary or permanent installations in virtually any kind of operation.

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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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