Material Handling Experts


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

The Top 10 Distribution Center Locations for 2009

March 22, 2009

sortaation system at a distribution warehouse

Operations & Fulfillment (an excellent publication you should be reading if you aren’t already) has published a list of the top locations for warehouses and DC’s in 2009, in this article “Where to Warehouse: The Top 10 for 2009.”

The winner this year was Henderson, Kentucky, assuming a single warehouse. Dallas, Texas finished among the best locations in a 5-warehouse network.

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Incentives for Material Handling Equipment in the Federal Stimulus Package

March 11, 2009

The Material Handling Industry of America’s Executive VP Hal Vandiver has released a guide to the The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the impact it may have for purchasers of capital equipment like racks, conveyors, shelving, safety and automation equipment.

The act includes a couple of nice items for purchasers of new equipment in 2009:

  • 1-year extensions of 50% bonus depreciation and enhanced Sec. 179 small business expensing. The boost to $250,000 in Section 179 expensing is extended for new and used equipment purchases made and placed in service in 2009. The amount decreases to $128,000 in 2010. The cap on how much equipment can be purchased to enjoy the write-off remains at $800,000 in 2009. In 2010, that amount drops to $510,000. The one-year 50% bonus depreciation means you can write off in 2009 an extra 50% of the cost of your new equipment that you buy and start using in 2009.
  • A 5-year Net Operating Loss carry back provision for small businesses: Under the one-year extension, small businesses (whose total equipment purchases in 2009 don’t exceed $800,000) can also expense the first $250,000 for the 2009 tax year (until 1/1/2010). The 50% bonus depreciation can then be taken on the remaining basis of the machine, if it is new.

The MHIA article has some excellent information on the exact way you can apply these incentives, and is worth the short read. Track how the stimulus money is being spent at

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Gravity Conveyor: How Many Skatewheels do You Need?

March 6, 2009

skatewheel conveyor straight section - Hytrol

Gravity skate wheel conveyor is probably the most economical conveyor option around for quick, portable movement of lightweight boxes, totes, or trays. You see it used in shipping & receiving areas, in assembly operations, or as a transitional piece between workstations and powered conveyor lines. You can even slap casters on it for a conveyor that can be rolled in & out of use areas. We even plug it into gravity flow racks to create heavier-duty, FIFO flow storage.

For such a simple piece of conveying equipment — in fact the simplest — errors can and do crop up when it’s ordered incorrectly.

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Warehouse Space Savings Tip: Consolidate from Shelf Bins into Modular Storage

February 14, 2009

modular drawer storage system

This is a series of posts we’ll be making about saving space in your facility. There are plenty of ways to better utilize space, and some of them might fit your circumstances while others certainly won’t. In today’s challenging business climate, it is particularly critical to use space wisely in your facility.

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Video: Vertical Lifts increase efficiency, cut costs, increase safety at submarine manufacturing facility

February 12, 2009

This video is a short few minutes, and features vertical reciprocating conveyors implemented by Cisco-Eagle at defense contractor Electric Boat, Inc. The company manufactures submarines at its Groton, CT facility.

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RMI Announces R-Mark for Welded Wire Rack Decking

February 11, 2009

pallet rack with wire decking

The Material Handling Industry of America recently announced that the RMI (Rack Manufacturers Institute) has certified several manufacturers of wire rack decking “R-Mark” compliant, meaning that these companies have conformed to the Institute’s testing and utilization standards. The industry developed the latest and most comprehensive consensus documents ANSI MH16.1 – 2008 – Specification for the Design, Testing and Utilization of Industrial Steel Storage Racks and MH26.2 – 2007  – Specification for the Design, Testing and Utilization of Welded Wire Rack Decking. Members of RMI voluntarily choose to conform to ANSI MH16.1 – 2008 and MH26.2 – 2007 and any successor document(s).

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Ergonomic considerations for designing conveyor workstations

February 6, 2009

conveyor workstation considerations

Designing your conveyors and workstations to work together gives you significant safety and efficiency advantages. Using conveyors is a good way to reduce the risks of musculoskeletal injury in tasks or procedures that involve manual handling because conveyors reduce the need for repetitive lifting and carrying, but implementing conveyor into workstations requires some basic understanding of how to prevent stress. As a bonus, well-implemented conveyor workstations also boost productivity.

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Selecting The Right Conveyor Motor

January 25, 2009

powered belt conveyor

Electric motors are available to suit most conveying  applications, and have multiple variables to consider when making a selection. Understanding the terms used with electric motors is important to making a selection.

Basic Electric Motor Terms:

  • Horsepower: Determined by the equipment requirements, total load, operating conditions, and speed.
  • Voltage: The voltage of a motor is determined by the supply to which it is attached. The common voltages are 115, 200, 208, 230, 460, 575.
  • Phase: The most common power supplies are either single-phase or three-phase.
  • Common Motor Types: Totally Enclosed (TE), Totally Enclosed Non-Ventilated (TENV), Energy Efficient (EE or XL), or Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled (TEFC).
  • Cycles: 60 Hz (cycles per second) AC power is common throughout the US and 50 Hz is common in many foreign countries.

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Optimizing Your Distribution or Manufacturing Operation During Slow Economic Times

January 21, 2009

warehouse storage

It isn’t news that the U.S. has been in a recession for most of the last year. It also isn’t news that you can utilize certain equipment and process improvements to upgrade at lower costs, and even return your investment more quickly in an environment like this one. Here are some ideas.

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Cisco-Eagle website now calculates shipping costs

January 17, 2009
Shipping by motor freight

Shipping by motor freight

It’s common for websites that ship products via parcel services to calculate shipping costs, making it easy for buyers to learn total costs before ordering. Very few sites can calculate LTL or motor freight shipments for heavy, bulky equipment like industrial shelving, wire security partitions, warehouse racks, or conveyors.

That changes recently, as can now provide instant shipping costs.

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