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AGVs, AMRs, and Conveyors: Automated Product Transport Applications

January 5, 2023

comparing conveyors, amrs and agvs for product transport.

When you need to move loads—pallets, totes, cartons or other items—through a facility without manual involvement, the options fall into three broad categories: AMRs (automated mobile robots), AGVs (automated guided vehicles) and conveyor systems. Each of these methods has its advantages, and all can be integrated to work with each other.

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Posted in Automation, Manufacturing, Material Handling| No Comments »

How to Handle and Remove Corrugated Box Waste in Distribution Applications

December 6, 2022

Overhead conveyor system removing cardboard waste.

Without efficient waste handling flow, systems bog down as people work to clear trash from their work areas. It’s a distraction that significantly impacts productivity and safety, so removing trash from a large scale picking or packing system can be problematic. Pick systems tend to generate empty cartons, and dealing with that waste material can be costly and time consuming if not planned in advance. Devising the right waste (or empty carton) strategy cannot be minimized during the system design process.

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

Forklift-Pedestrian Safety: Docks, Shipping and Receiving Areas

December 1, 2022

Forklift backing away with load at a warehouse truck dock area.

Because shipping docks are busy, sometimes chaotic areas, they can become a safety hazard if not properly managed. During a busy shift, you may find multiple forklifts, carts, walkies and other traffic trying to work across a series of bay doors, all with pedestrians potentially in the same areas. They can adjoin staging areas, which often allow even more forklifts and pedestrians to work in the same, shared area. That’s where accidents are most likely to occur.

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Posted in Safety & Ergonomics, Material Handling, Docks & Shipping, AisleCop| No Comments »

Warehouse Safety: Pedestrians, Workstations and Forklifts

November 10, 2022

Forklift aisle between warehouse work areas.

Above: work areas facing away from an active traffic aisle with pallet stacks that impede visibility for both pedestrians and forklifts. 

Forklift accidents make OSHA’s top-10 list every year without fail because forklifts are ubiquitous in American industry and interact with hundreds of thousands of people every day. One of the key places to prioritize safety is for pedestrians—the people on foot who work near and walk around forklifts on a daily basis.

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Posted in Material Handling, AisleCop, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing, Manufacturing| No Comments »

How Material Handling and Automation Increases Labor Flexibility

September 13, 2022

heavy pipe handling at a manufacturing facility.

Manufacturing plants, warehouses and other industrial operations are all facing one central challenge today: labor shortages. There are other challenges in supply chains, material inputs and environmental situations, but everyone in every industry across the board is dealing with labor—or the lack of it. 

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Posted in Automation, Material Handling, Lifts, Order Picking & Fulfillment| No Comments »

Gapping Conveyors: A Guide to Types and Applications

July 12, 2022

Gapper Conveyor line in a distribution center

Conveyors that create gaps between loads—called “gappers”—are used in functions ranging from sortation to quality control to packing to machine integration. Any process that requires identical and predictable gaps between the back of a load and the leading edge of the following will probably need a gapper. Most gappers are slider bed belt conveyors, since belts provide superior control and support.

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Posted in Conveyor, Automation, Material Handling| No Comments »

How to Reduce Conveyor Headaches, Repair Costs and Downtime

June 16, 2022

conveyor service

We spoke with Tim Harris, our manager of Field Services Group. Tim’s expertise when it comes to conveyors – and how to keep them running tip-top – is unparalleled. Tim and the Field Services group maintains many miles of conveyors from virtually every manufacturer, in just about every environment. Here’s what he had to say.

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Posted in Conveyor, Manufacturing, Material Handling, ROI| No Comments »

The Ergonomics of Automation

June 2, 2022

Worker at a distribution center reaching over a conveyor to retrieve a package.

Above: distribution center worker stretches over a conveyor line to access a package. Automation can reduce or eliminate this type of stressful, repetitive motion. 

Companies tend to focus on the hard-dollar ROI when they evaluate automation—labor reduction, throughput improvements, error reduction and efficiency—but should also consider “soft” benefits like ergonomics, safety and flexibility. Ergonomics in particular should be considered a primary factor in an era of aging labor and tight supply.

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Posted in Order Picking & Fulfillment, Automation, Safety & Ergonomics, Material Handling| No Comments »

Built To Spill: Containment Options For Any Facility

May 26, 2022

Spill from containers in facility storage area

Safety is multifaceted, from ceiling to floor and everything between. Operational safety processes boost your overall productivity and bottom line. Some kinds of safety are more apparent and easier to visualize than others; things like forklift safety or machine guarding. One safety concern that should always be addressed, but might be overlooked, is spill containment.

Spill prevention and containment are important to protect workers and the environment around your facility. No one wants the hassle, potentially deadly injuries, or costly aftermath that comes with chemical spills in a warehouse, factory or processing facility. With that in mind, what are good options to help keep chemicals contained?

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Posted in Safety & Ergonomics, Material Handling| No Comments »

Pallet Rack Evaluation: Storage and Retrieval Speed Improvements

May 3, 2022

Loading a pallet into a high-bay rack system with a forklift
Your rack system is your business, if you’re operating a warehouse or distribution center—or, it at least holds your business.

Pallet racks aren’t simply rows of storage shelves, and you shouldn’t treat them that way. Something so fundamental to a warehousing operation can and should be evaluated for improvement. One of the chief roles of a rack system is to allow efficient, quick access to stored products. How fast can you store things? How fast can you retrieve them?

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Posted in Pallet and Industrial Racks, Safety & Ergonomics, Material Handling| No Comments »

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