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

Justifying AisleCop Forklift Safety Gate Systems

January 13, 2012

AisleCop warehouse pedestrian safety systemWe see two kinds of operations that have shown interest in, or implemented an AisleCop® forklift safety gate system. The first are those companies who have defined traffic plans and are looking to prevent possible accidents in high-risk, limited-visibility, or heavy-traffic aisles. They foresee potential accidents and are taking measures to prevent them. The second kind are companies who have had an incident, or a near-miss.

In both cases, the question has been “how can I justify this system?”

Aside from the fact that it could help save a life, or help prevent horrific injuries (the only kind that a forklift-pedestrian accidents seem to produce), AisleCop® can also save money in a variety of ways.

We have created a document, free for download, that you can use if you’re pitching a safety system to your management. It’s a short, but informative read.

Check it out here: “AisleCop®  return on investment” (PDF file)

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Posted in Manufacturing, Material Handling, News, Pallet Rack, ROI, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| No Comments »

6 Ideas to Keep Your Warehouse Clean

January 3, 2012

One easy way to gauge a warehouse or manufacturing plant ‘s effectiveness is to check how clean it is. Cleaner facilities are more productive, tend to be safer, and tend to be more organized.

Whether your facility features gleaming floors or just keeps debris from packaging materials, pallets, and accumulated junk under control, being cleaner is well worth the time investment. People who work in a disorganized facility where things just feel sloppy won’t work as well. They may make more errors. They won’t have pride in the operation.  An inch of dust on rack beams or beneath conveyor legs sends a message to workers. You don’t need a sparkling facility with floors so clean you could have lunch on them, but a well-lit, organized, pleasant place to work can be helpful in employee attitudes and retention.

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, Industrial Shelving, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Pallet Rack, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing| 5 Comments »

Hand Carts vs. Pallets for Retail Distribution

September 19, 2011

Pallet and order picking carts for retail distribution
Retail distribution facilities have multiple options for shipping product to store locations. They can send full pallets which must be unwrapped, unloaded, and stocked at the store location. They can send packed carts that can easily be rolled onto store floors and stocked at the point of sale. What method works best?
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Posted in Cross Docking, Docks & Shipping, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

“Undercover Boss” Underlines the Difficulties of Large Scale Distribution

December 26, 2010

Tonight’s Undercover Boss on CBS features GSI Commerce CEO Michael G. Rubin, and as my wife and I were watching it, the loading, order picking and packing segment brought home the difficulties of these operations. It’s a somewhat rare mainstream glimpse into large scale distribution operations.

The order picking segment from GSI’s Lexington, Kentucky distribution center in particular stressed the disadvantages associated with walking in order picking operations. Armed with RF guns, the pickers tow order picking shelf carts between picking aisles. They leave the carts in a center aisle and move down rack aisles where inventory is stored in bins.

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Posted in Docks & Shipping, News, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Warehousing| No Comments »

The E24 24-Volt Conveyor Roller Timing Belt Transfer

November 4, 2010

e24 power roller conveyor transfer

E24 CONVEYOR LOGOWe’ve explained the advantages of 24-volt roller conveyor systems in the past, and wanted to get to you with this new product announcement from Hytrol: the Timing Belt Transfer. The E24™ powered timing belt strands and a pneumatic lift make this conveyor accessory powerful enough to sort up to 40 cartons per minute. The neoprene timing belts are coated with urethane to ensure positive grip when transferring the product. The drive sheaves come standard with ABEC-1 bearings, contributing to longer transfer life. The modular design of the transfer allows for simple system configurations.

Integrating an E24™ Transfer into your system is easy, as the standard configuration bolts into 3-inch roller centers in just minutes. For full bed width and extended configurations, an optional E24™ lineshaft kit is available so roll-to-roll o-rings are out of the way.

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Material Handling, News, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Warehousing| No Comments »

Conveyor systems: Total Cost of Ownership

September 28, 2010

conveyor system

Conveyors, like any capital investment have multiple costs. The amount on your invoice is hardly the last time you’ll pay for that conveyor. If a conveyor is correctly specified and designed for future use, significant cost savings can be realized.

The three costs a conveyor system carries:

  • Initial costs – the easiest to understand and quantify. This is the cost of equipment, installation, and controls.
  • Operational costs – electrical usage  & pneumatics usage
  • Maintenance costs – Spare parts, replacement parts, & labor costs

All of these costs are spread over the conveyor’s useful life, so a formula that might best express what your conveyor will cost is: TCO (total cost of ownership) = IC (initial cost) + OC (operational costs) + MC (maintenance costs)/ useful life of the system.

Higher initial costs may be recouped in lower maintenance and operational costs over time if the right decisions are made when the equipment is specified and ordered. The initial cost savings can be eaten up by higher operating and maintenance costs, but neither of those is as expensive as a system that cannot do the job it was deployed to do. Long term costs can easily outstrip the initial costs. What are the real, long term costs and what can you do to control them?

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

WERC Council of North Texas Warehousing Resource Convention

September 14, 2010

werc logoJust a quick tip of the hat to the The North Texas WERC (Warehousing Education and Research Council) Chapter. They are planning a 1-day convention on Thursday, September 23, 2010. Even if you’re not a member, you’re welcome to go. Cisco-Eagle will be there, so come by and see us if you attend. Besides our booth, you can visit 8,000 square feet of exhibit showroom and attend four educational presentations with a total of 12 topic options. For an inexpensive, quick, but informative day, it’s hard to beat. There will be raffles, continental breakfast, a hot lunch, and excellent networking opportunities.

The conference is sponsored by TCU and DCVelocity.

  • Where: Grapevine Convention Center, 1209 South Main Street, Grapevine, TX 76051
  • When: Thursday, September 23
  • Cost: $20 to WERC Members, $25 to non-members. Free to students & faculty with ID’s (must submit info prior to the 23rd).
  • More information: Visit the North Texas WERC site

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Posted in Material Handling, News, Warehousing| No Comments »

Carts vs. Conveyors in Product Transport Operations

May 10, 2010

conveyors vs. carts for transport

When you are moving items such as cartons, bins, or components through a facility, several methods are available. Most of the time the choice is between non-powered carts & trucks or conveyors, whether power or gravity. (If you’re moving pallets, there are other methods and issues). Generally, conveyors deliver a less manual, safer operation with added efficiency across the board. Products are moved faster and fewer employees are required to accomplish the same tasks. Conveyors minimize fatigue and reduce potential manual lifting injuries. This improved handling has the potential to reduce worker compensation claims and expenses

But when do you make the leap from a manual, cart-driven system to a conveyor transport system?

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Docks & Shipping, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, ROI, Safety & Ergonomics, Space Saving, Warehousing| No Comments »

Extenda conveyor belt pusher is an excellent choice where space is minimal, but the load requires 90-degree sortation

April 21, 2010
90-degree sortation pusher

Hytrol PIB Extenda Pusher

The construction of the Extenda Pusher lends itself to both speed and strength. The robust cylinders – stabilized by tandem aluminum guides – provide the power, while the lightweight aluminum pusher face enhances the speed. With throughput rates of up to 50 cartons per minute, it is easy to see why Hytrol’s Extenda Pusher is the smartest choice for your system. Available in 4 stroke lengths, it mounts to units with overall conveyor widths of 18″, 24″, 30″, and 36″. Unique to this style pusher are proximity sensors for both extend and return signals, which allow you to adjust the stroke length. Its black composite guards are secure yet lightweight and simple to remove. Another standard feature is the emergency stop that when activated immediately empties air pressure stored within the pusher, ensuring safe operation. This space-saving design makes it a great choice for systems where mounting space is minimal, yet products require 90 degree sortation.

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

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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Posted in Automation, Docks & Shipping, News, Warehousing| No Comments »