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How Simulation Adds Value to Material Handling Systems Specification

November 3, 2020

screenshot from material handling automation program

As we’ve discussed automating anything as complex as a large scale material handling process has risks, but there are ways understand the outcome better in advance and reduce any risks. It’s always good to have more data, and simulation plays into that scenario by giving you a view of what key systems, technology and process will interact in your system, with your loads.

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Posted in Automation, Labor & Efficiency|

How to Properly Evaluate Your Warehouse Management System (WMS)

October 15, 2015

warehouse-management-system

What Does a Warehouse Management System Do?

A medium-sized chain of convenience stores once asked me to take a look at their Warehouse Management System (WMS) to see if it was time for an upgrade. After documenting all the functions it performed, we discovered that none of them could be described as serving warehouse activities. The system had lots of good purchasing functions—but offered nothing to support the actual warehouse.

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5 Common Flaws of Manufacturing Automation and How to Fix Them

October 21, 2013

Manufacturing Automation has taken huge steps forward in recent years, helping companies become safer and more efficient. Technology such as robotics for picking, packing, or welding is constantly advancing, making systems better, and smarter, each year. Vision systems alone are undergoing a revolution in terms of effectiveness. This type of automation is also more affordable every year, while the cost of just about everything else – labor, energy, raw materials, and insurance – is rising.

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Posted in Manufacturing|

Ten Reasons to Automate Your Operation

June 10, 2011

automated conveyors

In the not-too-distant past, most companies that weren’t running immense distribution operations, who didn’t have multiple facilities, who didn’t run 24-hour shifts, didn’t even consider automation. Too expensive, they’d say. Too much risk. Too little upside if things go wrong.  All valid in context, if it was 1998. But the reality is this: While most costs—personnel, land, energy— have increased, automation costs have remained steady or declined across the board. The reality today is that the four guys stacking pallets at the end of a line, even for a single shift, even at low wages, are more expensive than a well configured palletizing system.

Those costs aren’t going to do anything but escalate, either. Listed are ten ways automation has become more relevant, even to mid-size operations:

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Palletizer Perspectives: Is Palletizing Suitable for My Operation?

August 4, 2008

Palletizer - palletized cans

With the growing popularity of automating the palletizing function, we arranged an interview with vonGAL, a leading manufacturer who has the largest installed base of palletizers in the country. Bobby Edmond is vonGAL’s Director of Applications, and has been in the business for 25 years. He has seen applications in a wide range of industries, and in companies large and small. I asked him if he would take time to share his thoughts, and answer a few questions of interest to those that might be considering palletizing for the first time.

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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|

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