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Palletizers: Ergonomics and Justification

June 30, 2008

Conveyors induct pallets into a palletizer.

As interest continues to grow in automated palletizing, let’s take a brief look at a few of the issues surrounding these applications.

Over the next couple of months, I’ll be providing a handful of blog postings relative to palletizers. We will begin with what is driving the growth in the use of these products, then a look at basic systems, cost estimates, what you can expect from a properly applied palletizer system, and then share specifics from a couple of actual implementations in distribution centers. If you are experienced in palletizer systems, you will likely be familiar with much of what is covered here. If you are new to palletizing, or considering your first system, hopefully, this information will help you understand what the issues are and how you can navigate them.

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Posted in Automation, Labor & Efficiency|

Comparing Gravity Flow Rack Types

June 15, 2008

Carton flow rack system for order picking

Walk into any order fulfillment operation, and you will 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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Posted in Order Picking & Fulfillment|

Modular Storage Considerations

June 4, 2008

modular drawer - compartmental industrial drawersSomething we often recommend to save space for our clients is modular drawer storage — for certain operations, in particular those with components, assorted small parts, hardware, or even tool storage, we’re talking about recouping 50% -70% of floor space. Once people have ’em, they love ’em.

But there is more than one way to skin that cat. You can configure different kinds of cabinets to do different jobs. There are hundreds of possible combinations of drawer styles and sizes. Another wrinkle is what happens when you can merge the drawers with steel shelving. It can be new, it can be some you are already using. It begs the question: when is it better to have a cabinet, and when is it better to use shelving and compartmentalized drawer inserts?

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Posted in Storage, Organization & Workstations|

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