Material Handling Experts


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

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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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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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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How to quadruple the number of cases presented to pickers in your flow rack system

December 26, 2008

case flow racking in a distribution centerColumn flow racking is an innovation designed to present vertical columns of cartons to pickers. It works well for light cartons where flow storage and order picking are desired. You can stack cartons in each lane, allowing for more pick faces in the same space.

Although this system isn’t right for every application, it can provide a large number of pick faces for many types of case-picked product in the same space as regular flow racking.

See Column Flow Racking for more details and photos.

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Can Your Floor Bear the Weight of a New Mezzanine?

December 13, 2008

Structural mezzanineCisco-Eagle has created an informative article you should check out if you are thinking of installing a mezzanine in your facility. When implementing an Industrial Equipment Platform (mezzanine) be sure that you are not putting too much stress or weight on the floor of the building. Too much weight will cause the floor to crack – or worse. This article tells you how to calculate the correct load capacity and column spacing for any new structural mezzanine project. Floor capacity depends on the thickness of the concrete, but that’s not the end of the story. It also matters how much the soil underneath the slab will compress.

Click “Calculating Mezzanine Floor Capacities” to get the whole story…

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OSHA releases Forklift eTool

October 27, 2008

forklift-operation.jpgOSHA has released an eTool (which is basically just an informational web page) for powered lift trucks that you might find useful. It has drill-down information on the following categories:

  • Basic  Types and Fundamentals – The differing types and fundamentals of powered trucks
  • Operating the Forklift – the basic operating rules and safe work practices
  • Understanding the Workplace – how workplace conditions can affect safe operation
  • Training Assistance – operator training required by OSHA

This information specifically addresses OSHA’s Powered Industrial Truck requirements [29 CFR 1910.178]

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WERC Houston Warehousing Seminar Rescheduled

October 8, 2008

Due to Hurricane Ike, the previous dates for the WERC (Warehouse Education Resource Council) were cancelled. The Council has rescheduled.  The new dates for this intensive 3-day seminar are November 10-12, 2008. WERC typically packs useful, solid information into their seminars, so if you’re in South Texas or feel like traveling there, this one may be worth your time. According to WERC, attendees will learn:

  • How to identify the precise problems that are the most troublesome in your warehouse
  • Which operations require your attention and how to prioritize work demands
  • Why leadership and communication skills are important to managing people, boosting morale, and solving labor/management conflicts
  • How to lay out your warehouse for good space utilization, material handling compatibility, and optimum flow efficiency
  • Which equipment and technology enablers best suit your operations for storage and handling as well as order picking and order selection.

See for complete information. Those who registered previously do not need to re-register.

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Intermingling new & existing pallet rack parts

October 3, 2008

pallet rack beam and upright connectionWhen you are running an operation with lots of racking, it isn’t uncommon to have to replace an occasional upright or beam, or to add new bays onto an existing row. Sometimes you cannot avoid it, as the rack was purchased years ago, by someone else, from a source you can’t even locate. It might be that you bought used rack and need to fill some gaps in, or it may be perfectly good, 15-year old rack that just needs some expansion or damaged components replaced.

This is done all the time, and although it isn’t an optimum situation for rack stability and safety, you can minimize the issues by following the following guidelines:

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