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VLMs Vs. Vertical Carousels: Critical Specification Factors

August 8, 2023

Vertical carousels and vertical lift modules—VLMs for shortenhance organization, increase storage density, improve security and speed throughput. They serve components directly to pickers in waist-high ergonomic zones. 

While these systems are similar from a functional standpoint and look similar from the outside, they can have different use cases and application requirements. Kevin, a Cisco-Eagle Dallas account executive, zeroes in on the differences in this video. 

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Posted in Automation, Labor & Efficiency|

How to Use Conveyors for Ergonomic Truck Loading and Unloading

July 18, 2023

flexible conveyor extended into a tractor trailer for loading at a distribution center.

We recently discussed the various ways you can use conveyors to optimize the end of the line, which includes the ways they interface with trucks and trailers. The transition between the end of a conveyor system and the trucks where goods are loaded or unloaded are one of the areas where distribution centers can struggle. The traditional method has been to throw labor at the problem, but as we know in 2023, that is becoming a less useful and more difficult option.

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Posted in Conveyor Optimization|

Targeted Warehouse Automation: Manual Pallet Handling

April 13, 2023

stacking and wrapping pallets with manual processes
While many companies can benefit from full scale automation, the math isn’t the same for everyone. However, labor shortages continue to drive companies to seek ways to reduce dependence on manual processes in specific, labor-intensive functions. What are some areas you should target for partial automation?

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Posted in Automation, Labor & Efficiency|

Vacuum Grippers and Lightweight Palletizers

August 18, 2022

Vacuum palletizer for a cobot system

One of the most exciting things about today’s automation is that it’s becoming increasingly specialized; like eating from a buffet, you can choose what you want. That’s the idea behind cobot palletizers that zero in on a specific target: lighter weight, end-of-line carton palletizing that used to take high six figures and months of implementation time. The critical part of any palletizing project, of course, is the end effector.

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Posted in Automation, Labor & Efficiency|

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 Automation, Labor & Efficiency|

Motorized Carts For Ergonomic Material Movement

March 29, 2022

powered cart operating in warehouse environment

Forklifts are the usual method to move heavy materials, but there are plenty of times—and many good reasons—you might not want to use one. You can use pallet jacks, stackers, tuggers, pallet dollies, AGVs or even conveyors, but what about the instances where you don’t need forklift power, but your loads are too heavy or the travel time too far for pushcarts?

Enter the powered cart. This option resides in that “sweet spot” for material movement. But what exactly can a powered cart offer you, and what are your options?

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Posted in Material Handling|

A Guide to Workstation Reach Zones

March 23, 2021

assembly line with integrated conveyors and workstations.

You should always analyze the economy of movement for repetitive tasks like assembly, packing, picking and repair. Imagine reaching to the same shelf, for the same carton, to pull the same part. How many times a shift does someone make that reach? How many working days a year? How many years? Shaving time and effort off a simple repetitive motion can shave time off your process and improve ergonomics over the years.

To do that, look at how many times–and places–your people reach for things on a daily basis.

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Posted in Storage, Organization & Workstations|

Download Our Guide To Workstations

March 9, 2021

workstation

Ergonomics in the warehouse is a constant focus that each operation looks to improve. You want your workers to perform better each day while reducing factors that contribute to missed time and injuries. One way to achieve this is by adding workbenches to your facility. When built to the right specifications, workbenches help people work faster, more accurately and more ergonomically. That’s why we’ve added a new guide to workstations.

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Posted in Storage, Organization & Workstations|

How to Use Dockboards & Dockplates Safely and Effectively

November 10, 2020

dock plate with a hand truck unloading at a warehouse shipping area.

Dock boards and dock plates are built to transition forklifts, pallet jacks, carts, people and other transportation methods between trailers and your warehouse dock area or staging floor. How can you be sure the transition between truck trailers and your dock is safe?

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Posted in Docks & Shipping|

Workstation Ergonomics: Eliminating Extreme Movements

June 18, 2020

An illustration of ergonomic reach zone areas on a work surface
With the massive worker compensation costs related to musculoskeletal disorders, finding ways to reduce the risks is imperative. In May, we discussed the impact of work positioning. This time, the focus on the effects of extreme movements and how to counteract the risks.

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Posted in Storage, Organization & Workstations|

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