Material Handling Experts


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

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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Transferring onto belt conveyors

January 12, 2009


Transferring onto belt conveyors isn’t recommended due to box tracking issues. When you use belt conveyor, boxes will probably drag the belt as they enter, which will push the belt toward the far side. (Above: boxes may cause tracking problems)


If you can’t avoid using belt conveyors to transfer, the transferring conveyor should be positioned so that it overhangs the belt conveyor, as shown above. Boxes will drop onto the conveyor. If your load cannot be dropped, another solution may be necessary. For assistance with these kinds of transfers, contact us.

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When it Comes to Order Picking, Don’t Walk the Walk

November 3, 2008

picking & restocking from shelvesIn a recent Catalog Success magazine, the following facts were reaffirmed: Three areas – picking, packing and returns – take anywhere from 60% to 80% of labor costs in your typical distribution operation. 60% of the average pickers’ time is spent walking. Not picking, not packing, not checking for quality and accuracy – walking. This is an activity that cannot add value to your operation or to your customers, so you should strive to eliminate it whenever possible.

Not only does it waste time, it makes people tired, and tends to cause a loss in focus and can increase error rates.

Here are some ways to go about removing “walk time” from your operation…

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New testing methods deployed at University of Arkansas RFID research center

October 30, 2008

rfid-conveyor.jpgDmitriy Nesterkin, a graduate student employee of the University of Arkanas RFID Research Center, has recently developed a new test data management system for use in the Lab. His software application will allow test data to be stored and analyzed from within one system. In recent weeks, the RFID Research Center has also added two Masters of Information Systems (MIS) students to their staff. These two students have successfully extended a software application that was written by former student employee, Jarrod Bourlon. This application will now be able to handle new inputs and outputs. (Note: Cisco-Eagle is a strategic sponsor of the RFID center)

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Straight Conveyor Transfers: An Illustrated Application Guide

September 24, 2008

Straight conveyor transfer, roller to belt

This guide provides some quick tips to avoid snags, box tumbling, & hang-up’s when you’re transferring from one conveyor to another. Transfers are used to move a package from one conveyor to another, often in a longer line. Straight transfers are the most common type, used to connect individual conveyors in a longer line. Typically, these conveyors can be utilized in straight transfer applications:

Check it out: A guide to conveyor transfers

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Comparing Gravity Flow Rack Types

June 15, 2008

picking totes from flow rackWalk into any order fulfillment operation, and you’re probably going to see gravity flow rack.

The reason is obvious–it’s one of the best ways to pick orders utilizing first-in, first-out principles. It used to be that there was one kind of the stuff, the plastic-wheel tracks, but these days the choices are more diverse than ever. For the most part, these flow rack types act the same; they decline toward the picker and boxes or totes or even larger components flow toward him. They’re restocked from the rear and picked from the front onto a takeaway conveyor line, a cart, workstation, or another step in the process.

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Summertime Tips for Better Warehouse Operation

May 28, 2008


There are many issues of productivity and safety that are stressed as the heat rises. As temperatures start to rise, it gets particularly hot in industrial facilities, warehouses, shops, and distribution centers where air conditioning isn’t always present, extremely costly, or very effective. Experts say that employee productivity increases when ambient temperatures are comfortable and plummets when they aren’t. Error rates climb and safety is compromised as workers fight through hot, sweaty conditions. Here are some ways you can go about combating the rigors of summer.

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Hytrol to hold the line on conveyor costs until June 30 despite escalating, unpredictable steel costs

May 22, 2008

conveyor system

Steel prices and fuel prices are headed nowhere but up in the coming months.

Price increases and surcharges have become commonplace, driven by increased steel costs and skyrocketing fuel prices. We look around and see manufacturers issuing price increases, steel surcharges and fees on a weekly basis. It’s industry-wide and it’s being driven by international demand and also some commodities market issues. We have seen manufacturers decline to provide a price – orders are priced at shipment. This is reminiscent of the 1970’s, and it’s welcome by absolutely nobody who runs an industrial facility or deals in material handling equipment.

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Seven ways E24 power rollers are better than Conventional Motorized Roller Conveyors

May 15, 2008

E24 powered conveyor rollerLast year, there was a big splash when Hytrol introduced its E24 powered roller conveyor system – and rightly so, it’s great stuff. (See the link above for video, datasheets, and more).

E24 is a brushless, gearless, low RPM, high torque motor that drives conveyor rollers reliably and efficiently. The external motor provides exceptional flexibility, superb heat dissipation, and a robustness that cannot be achieved with motors embedded in conveyor rollers. But what really makes E24 superior to the conventional motorized roller conveyor? Let’s explore…

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