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Pickers, Packers, and Conveyor Reliability

Are your conveyors adequate for the order picking process?

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Do your line employees help extend the life of your conveyors? If you don’t know the answer to that question, it’s probably “no.”

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Employees are the first line of defense when it comes to minimizing maintenance problems, according to Cliff Holste at Supply Chain Digest. Are you adequately preparing them to fulfill that role? Are they trained, equipped, and encouraged to help you prevent issues with conveyors and other equipment? Past the jump, a couple of ways to help your line workers become more aware of ways to keep your systems running…

Don’t use conveyors in ways they weren’t intended

If you read the maintenance manual for any conveyor, it will spell out the ways that conveyor is supposed to be used – how much weight can be placed on it, what types of loads, loading on non-conveyable items. All of this can degrade a conveyor’s performance, reduce its operating life, or cause major operational interruptions.  Holste also mentions that pickers are often guilty of loading a pick belt with full cases. Often, these belts aren’t designed to be started when fully loaded.

Get line workers involved in maintenance

Your maintenance group, or a maintenance service can do an excellent job keeping conveyors running and in perfect shape, but the first line of defense are the warehouse workers, pickers, or packers who work the line every day.  If you make them part of the process, they can help you spot problems early, before the problems become a full scale shut-down.  Let them attend maintenance walk-throughs, inspections, etc. Another idea is to have your maintenance staff hold seminars about the use of your conveyors, how to spot problems, etc. This can help your line staff understand how to spot such issues as a frayed belt, loose roller, or separating belt lacing.  If your people understand how a conveyor is supposed to work optimally, they can help you prevent it from reaching a point where expensive repairs or downtime occur.

Credit: Supply Chain Digest
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Scott Stone is Cisco-Eagle's Vice President of Marketing with more than thirty years of experience in material handling, warehousing and industrial operations. His work is published in multiple industry journals an websites on a variety of warehousing topics. He writes about automation, warehousing, safety, manufacturing and other areas of concern for industrial operations and those who operate them.

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