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Material Handling Tips & Info


June 2007 Material Handling Tips & Information Newsletter


Pack more than 7,000 cubic feet of storage space into a 30' x 30' footprint with a high-density storage mezzanine

This layout can help you consider ways to design a high-density storage system, to help you improve storage density, ergonomics, pick speed and inventory control. The mezzanine is configured with an incline, reversible belt conveyor to help you transport parts and bins from level to level with ease. It could be fitted differently--imagine carton flow on the floor, or an in-plant office on the top, or even using a shelf supported, rather than structural mezzanine. Since the sky's the limit, it depends on your needs. You can put nearly anything on a mezzanine, and you can deliver product to it a number of ways...


Understand the fundamentals of cross docking to reduce storage expense, increase productivity

Crossdocking essentially eliminates the inventory-holding function of a warehouse while still allowing it to serve its consolidation and shipping functions. The idea is to transfer incoming shipments directly to outgoing trailers without storing them in between. Shipments typically spend less than 24 hours at the facility, sometimes less than an hour. This article is from Auburn University's Kevin Gue, a recognized leader in cross docking and logistics research...


Merge cartons from multiple parallel lines with the "Zipper" Wide Belt Merge Conveyor

Hytrol’s Zipper is a wide belt conveyor fitted with fixed belt plows for the purpose of merging cartons from multiple parallel lines. The conveyor utilizes a unique belt type designed for tracking on a low length-to-width ratio. Also, tracking idlers are angled and skewed to properly position the belt on the pulleys...


Pick from carton flow, increase selectivity & storage density, and store pallets with gravity flow rack modules

A recent survey of order picking professionals and management revealed that one of the top carton flow system priorities for them was the ability to utilize pallet rack as the "host" rather than a specialized gravity flow rack.

This is partly because pallet racks that utilize carton flow tracks are an excellent way to mix slow and fast-moving items in the same storage footprint. With overhead pallet storage, bulk quantities are easily transferred to active operation later. Available in 3-shelf and 4-shelf units, with either 4-pallet or 8-pallet overhead storage. The stuff on our site is just a small sample of the varied range of sizes and configurations we can put together.


 Make your suspended & overhead conveyors safer

Conveyor safety netting is a pretty good idea for any conveyor that's suspended overhead, inclines to a mezzanine or other area, or has the chance for product damage or injuries when something falls. You can use it for a lot of situations, including box-shaped (covers the sides and bottom of a conveyor), L-shaped (covers the bottom and one side, for conveyors against a wall, side guards (covers both sides of a suspended conveyor), Catenary curves (used in special applications where other system layouts are not possible), horizontal (used under or between multiple overhead conveyors, or elevated work platforms and mezzanines for non-personnel-fall protection), and curve configurations.

Using Safety Netting is easy and simple to plan and set up. Usually no special tools are required. It installs on conventional support structures such as steel rod, threaded rod, angle iron, punched angle, pipe, etc., using steel cable. We have 'em on our site in some standard sizes, but can make it fit whatever you need...


Batching Orders Can Cut Down on Travel

As your operation grows, the type of order selection vehicles that will work best for you may change. Growth often means increasing numbers of SKUs, and larger on-hand quantities. It is not uncommon for shelving storage requirements to grow to cases on pallet rack shelving, and then to full pallet loads of a single SKU. In a business where items are constantly added and changing, you may find that SKUs will proliferate. All of these factors can combine to create extra travel that can place a growing burden on your order picking staff. Fortunately, there are some powered vehicle options that can help.

For operations that have a steady flow and backlog of orders, it is easy to sort orders into common groupings, and then pick a group of orders together. Orders that are picked together on a single picking run are often referred to as a "batch," and picking a batch of orders almost always cuts down on the total traveling distance needed to fill the orders. Manually pushed carts are the lowest cost vehicles used for order batching, but you can also batch orders and combine them with a powered vehicle. When "Batching" you can pick to order, or you can pick by item, and sort things out on the back end. Tuggers can help with either batch picking strategy.