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Results: 706 Blog Posts found.

Inside the Success of an Electronics eCommerce Distribution Center

Written By: Nick VanWallaghen
September 13, 2019

With the right people, processes, and technology in their new advanced distribution center, NewEgg can accurately fill orders faster with a lower cost of shipping and provide overall better customer service.

Posted in General Blogs

Tackling Returns: An Online Clothing Retailer Changes the Game

Written By: Kyle McCarty
September 10, 2019

Dealing with returns and reverse logistics can be a struggle for ecommerce order fulfillment - especially in the retail and consumer goods industries. Here's how we helped one client improve their returns process.

Finding the Right Solution: Supercapacitors vs. Batteries

Written By: Tiffany Greyson
August 28, 2019

When making a decision, it’s important to fully consider the benefits and disadvantages of each available option. Here's how we decided between supercapacitors and batteries when developing our warehouse robots.

How the World's Largest Wine & Spirits Distribution Center Ships 25 Million Cases Each Year

Written By: Chris Bratten
August 20, 2019

After consolidating all the inventory and functions of its Florida facilities into a single location, Southern Glazer’s Lakeland, Florida facility is now the largest liquor spirits and wine distribution hub on the planet.

Retail Fulfillment: The Costs to Be Free

Written By: Kelsey Bates
August 15, 2019

As ecommerce continues to grow, it’s apparent that fast and free shipping is a key motivator for online shoppers.

Posted in General Blogs

5 Reasons to Study Your Supply Chain Network

August 07, 2019

Whether a company has established supply chain optimization as a competitive advantage or is just starting to explore the possible benefits, here are 5 reasons to conduct a distribution network study.

Automation's Effect on Flexibility

Written By: Joe McGrath
July 31, 2019

When exploring automated solutions, it’s important to consider not just the benefits, but the overall impact each will have on your operations - including their effects on flexibility.

How to Identify a Replacement Conveyor Part

Written By: Sarah Fronczak
July 23, 2019

Replacing conveyor parts is a normal part of system maintenance, but it's not always easy to identify the right part number to reorder. This guide will help.

The Challenges of Grocery Ecommerce

Written By: Dustin Crandall
July 16, 2019

Grocery retailers are clambering to position themselves for success in the ecommerce channel. Here are their various approaches and the challenges they present.

Posted in General Blogs

Joint Process Improvement: How to Find the Right Partner

Written By: Matt Greene
July 11, 2019

A joint process improvement program should reduce costs and improve quality - if you choose the right partner. Here are the characteristics you should look for to ensure success.

Drones in Supply Chain

Written By: Carlos Candia
July 09, 2019

Drones are becoming increasingly popular in multiple industries, but will they ever become an essential tool for warehouse management and logistics?

Drones en la Cadena de Suministro

Written By: Carlos Candia
July 09, 2019

Era sólo cuestión de tiempo para que los proveedores logísticos, los integradores y las diferentes empresas multinacionales empezaran a buscar maneras de aprovechar esta tecnología.

Tags: Spanish

Why You Don't Need a Consultant

Written By: Dean Starovasnik
June 28, 2019

Not sure whether you need a consultant? This quick guide should help you decide if hiring one is right for your operation.

Creating a Successful Cross-Docking Operation

Written By: Carlos Minjares
June 26, 2019

One of the best options to reduce waste is to implement cross docking, but it requires careful consideration and planning to be effective.

Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement: Part 2

Written By: Rob Schabinger
June 20, 2019

While every organization is unique, the steps required to build a continuous improvement culture are the same.

Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement: Part 1

Written By: Rob Schabinger
June 17, 2019

Creating a culture of continuous improvement requires commitment, investment, and empowerment. First, you must understand what continuous improvement is.

Major Trends That Will Drive Distribution Throughout the 2020s

Written By: Marvin Logan
June 13, 2019

Millennials, and their desire for choice and convenience, will drive requirements and expectations on fulfillment and logistics creating a new “on-demand ecommerce” model throughout the 2020s.

Florida’s Growing Distribution & Logistics Market

Written By: Reed Langton
June 11, 2019

With over 20 million residents and more than 100 million visitors every year, plus the growing demand for faster delivery, Florida has seen tremendous growth in distribution centers over the past few years.

Posted in General Blogs

3 Ways Lift Assist Devices Can Benefit Your Manufacturing Process

Written By: Mason Cole
June 06, 2019

Rather than risking damage or injury when moving large and heavy objects, more and more companies are turning to ergonomic industrial lift assist systems. Here are 3 benefits that make lift assist devices a worthwhile investment.

Tags: N/A

What is AutoStore?

Written By: Ryan Nicholas
June 04, 2019

Learn more about this unique automated warehouse storage system and what makes it the best option for maximizing storage density.

3 Ways Simulation Modeling Optimizes Distribution Center Design

Written By: Tim Duket
May 30, 2019

System simulation modeling is a very effective strategy to validate the future-state design of a distribution center, but the benefits don’t end there.

Michigan’s Contribution to Material Handling

Written By: David Musch
May 23, 2019

How Michigan’s history as a regional center of automotive manufacturing led to the rise of innovative assembly line technologies.

Posted in General Blogs

What are Photo Eye Sensors, and How Do They Improve System Automation?

Written By: Blake Smith
May 21, 2019

Whether they’re used to sense the presence of boxes on a conveyor or parts on a manufacturing line, photo eyes help keep automated systems running around the world.

8 Questions to Consider When Choosing Warehouse Racking

Written By: Cody Caissie
May 17, 2019

While it’s pretty simple to construct, the art of properly choosing and implementing racking can either optimize or inhibit your storage density. These are some questions to consider to ensure you select the best warehouse racking solutions for your facility.

Choosing your Material Handling System: A Quest for the Right Solution

Written By: Benton Graff
May 14, 2019

Your business is starting to take off and orders are coming in faster than you can keep up. It’s starting to look like time for an upgrade to your warehouse system, but where should you begin your search? These tips will help you start the journey.

Designing an Endless Metal Belt Conveyor Solution to Withstand High Temps

Written By: Tom Gregovich
May 09, 2019

While every operation is different, some have unique challenges that require creative solutions. This client needed a conveyor that can tolerate high temps while transporting molten plastic. Here's how we designed the solution.

4 Steps to Reduce Operational Waste in an E-commerce World

Written By: Jordan Wengert
May 08, 2019

The Toyota Production System (TPS) characterizes waste using 3 Ms: Muda, Mura, and Muri. These 4 steps can help ecommerce organizations enhance their understanding of these wastes and create a plan reduce them.

Posted in General Blogs

3 Things That Will Help You Succeed in a Robotics Career

Written By: Hans Leidenfrost
May 02, 2019

At Bastian Solutions' R&D branch, we have seen many intern candidates and interested students apply, all hoping to get into robotics. Here are three characteristics that we look for. They may not be what you think!

Posted in Education

4 Signs It's Time to Replace That Outdated Conveyor System

Written By: Sky Hernandez
April 30, 2019

Conveyor systems can last a long time, but even the best maintained systems only last so long. Here are 4 signs that it's time to replace your outdated conveyor system.

The Rise of the Urban DC

Written By: Jeff Snyder
April 23, 2019

More and more people, especially young adults, are moving into cities. To reach this increasingly important market segment, retailers need to find a profitable and efficient way to do urban fulfillment.

5 Simple Strategies to Attract and Retain Warehouse and Distribution Center Labor

Written By: Greg Conner
April 16, 2019

Warehouse and distribution center managers face massive challenges in both hiring and retaining employees. Here are five simple strategies that help attract and retain warehouse and distribution center workers.

Posted in General Blogs

Technological Advancements Enabling the Growth of Robotic Picking

Written By: Jason Tenorio
April 04, 2019

In the very near future, robotic picking will become mainstream, facilitating a 24/7 picking and order fulfillment environment. Improvements in a few existing technologies have helped pave the way.

3 Advanced Features of the ZiPline Shoe Sorter

Written By: Andy Eckerle
April 02, 2019

From day one, the main design criteria for our ZiPline shoe sorter was maximum uptime with industry-leading crash avoidance. That’s why we developed the best slat, shoe, and end offload in the industry.

Palletizing and Depalletizing with Cobots

Written By: Geoff Schreiber
March 28, 2019

Palletizing and depalletizing with collaborative robots just made a huge step forward. These easy-to-integrate solutions can handle a range of product sizes and styles while eliminating the need for safety fencing and requiring minimal floor space.

The Customizable Gripper That’s Changing Robotic Handling

Written By: Adam Kulon
March 26, 2019

Until recently, handling delicate products required a human touch. The flexibility and dexterity of Soft Robotics' new modular collaborative robot gripper kit changes that.

Lessons Learned: Styrofoam Coolers and Timing Belt Transfers

Written By: Mark Zeilinger
March 20, 2019

While most of our projects are successful, there is always the occasional project that didn’t go as planned. Here are some lessons learned from a recent project involving timing belt transfers and styrofoam coolers.

Read: Lessons Learned: Styrofoam Coolers and Timing Belt Transfers

The Emergence of Kiva Look-Alikes

Written By: Wayne Lewis
March 14, 2019

After Amazon acquired Kiva Systems, these look-alike vendors have copied and expanded on the fetch & carry, goods-to-person fulfillment method.

Read: The Emergence of Kiva Look-Alikes

7 Energy Considerations for Material Handling Automation

Written By: Kyle Dorge
March 11, 2019

Automation can provide a wealth of benefits with the right system. Don't overlook these 7 energy-related questions when selecting which automation technologies are best for your operation.

Read: 7 Energy Considerations for Material Handling Automation

El Comercio Electrónico en México

Written By: Carlos Candia
March 08, 2019

Sin duda el comercio electrónico ha revolucionado la manera en la que las personas realzan sus compras. No sólo ha incrementado la participación comercial del comercio electrónico en el mundo, si no que en los años recientes el crecimiento exponencial representa una amenaza para el comercio tradicional.

Read: El Comercio Electrónico en México

Posted in Bastian Mexico

Distribution Facility Selection: It’s Not Just About Location and Cost

Written By: Wynn Watson
March 06, 2019

Cost and location are important factors when selecting a new distribution facility, but don't overlook these important physical components.

Read: Distribution Facility Selection: It’s Not Just About Location and Costy

What to Expect When Onboarding at an Engineering Company

Written By: Pablo Pozas
February 28, 2019

Here's what you can expect when starting a new role at an engineering company based on my experience joining a team of industrial & systems engineers.

Read: What to Expect When Onboarding at An Engineering Company

Posted in Education

SpeedCell: Store More in Less Space

Written By: Reed Langton
February 26, 2019

Warehouse and distribution companies often need to hold many SKUs and pick faces in a small space. For this client, the SpeedCell storage system was the perfect solution.

Read: SpeedCell: Store More in Less Space

Labor Management’s Role in Automation

Written By: Justin Willbanks
February 21, 2019

While effective labor management is vital in any operation, it’s critical to not lose sight of its importance as the supply chain and material handling industry moves further down the path of automation.

Read: Labor Management’s Role in Automation

5 Simple Ways to Protect Your Warehouse Pallet Rack

Written By: Gina Labou
February 19, 2019

You've made an investment in your pallet racking, so why not take the next step and protect it? Here are 5 simple ways to protect your warehouse pallet rack and improve warehouse safety.

Read: 5 Simple Ways to Protect Your Warehouse Pallet Rack

Split Case Picking Systems: A Beginner’s Guide, Part 3

Written By: JD Stumpf
February 15, 2019

With the growth in e-commerce, the demand for split case picking order fulfillment systems has never been higher. Here's Part 3 of our Beginner's Guide: Considerations for Choosing a Split Case Picking System Design

Read: Split Case Picking Systems: A Beginner’s Guide, Part 3

Posted in Education

Split Case Picking Systems: A Beginner's Guide, Part 2

Written By: JD Stumpf
February 14, 2019

With the growth in e-commerce, the demand for split case picking order fulfillment systems has never been higher. Here's Part 2 of our Beginner's Guide: Options for Designing a Split Case Picking System

Read: Split Case Picking Systems: A Beginner’s Guide, Part 2

Posted in Education

Split Case Picking Systems: A Beginner’s Guide, Part 1

Written By: JD Stumpf
February 12, 2019

With the growth in e-commerce, the demand for split case picking order fulfillment systems has never been higher. Here's Part 1 of our Beginner's Guide: What Is Split Case Picking?

Read: Split Case Picking Systems: A Beginner’s Guide, Part 1

Posted in Education

La importancia de utilizar un Consultor en Logística en México

Written By: Carlos Minjares
February 07, 2019

Mexico needs consultants to get to the next level. To get there, Mexican companies need to trust that not everything can be solved from the inside.

Read: La importancia de utilizar un Consultor en Logística en México

Trends Driving the Case for Distribution Center Automation

Written By: Mike Senuta
January 31, 2019

An overview of the economic and technological trends that are increasing demand (and ROI) for distribution center automation.

Read: Trends Driving the Case for Distribution Center Automation

Velocity Slotting with Supply Chain Software

Written By: Ryan Reed
January 29, 2019

Velocity slotting can drastically improve order pick time and operator productivity, if used correctly. Here's what you should keep in mind.

Read: Velocity Slotting with Supply Chain Software

Integrating Conveyor into a Part Press Operation

Written By: David Musch
January 25, 2019

When trying to determine the best automated solution for a manufacturing application, it’s important to ask the right questions.

Read: Integrating Conveyor into a Part Press Operation

Tips on Integrating Pallet Flow Rack in a Freezer

Written By: Greg Conner
January 23, 2019

Standard pallet flow components will not hold up to the rigors of cold storage, but these tips will help you find what will.

Read: Tips on Integrating Pallet Flow Rack in a Freezer

The Blockchain Supply Chain: Transparent and Traceable

Written By: Kelsey Bates
January 17, 2019

Modern supply chains are extremely complex, making it difficult to track provenance, production methods, and more. Blockchain technology can change that.

Read: The Blockchain Supply Chain: Transparent and Traceable

AutoStore Black Line: Your Questions Answered

Written By: Derek Cribley
January 15, 2019

What's different about the new AutoStore Black Line? We've put together a Q&A so you can learn what's new and if it's right for you.

Read: AutoStore Black Line: Your Questions Answered

The 8 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing Applied to Warehouse Operations

Written By: Rob Schabinger
January 10, 2019

Using lean manufacturing principles to increase efficiency and productivity in warehouse operations by eliminating wasteful, non-value-added components.

Read: The 8 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing Applied to Warehouse Operations

Which Products Should Go into a Goods-To-Person System?

Written By: Matt Greene
January 03, 2019

Considering a goods-to-person system, but not sure which one to choose or what to put inside? Start by analyzing your data.

Read: Which Products Should Go into a Goods-To-Person System?

Trends in Supply Chain Network Software Stack

Written By: Mike Prince
December 27, 2018

Supply chain network software tools that can help optimize inventory, facilities, and transportation - and some tips to use them.

Read: Trends in Supply Chain Network Software Stack

Lessons From the Amazon Effect

Written By: John Knudsen
December 19, 2018

How the retail and material handling industries have evolved to service increasing e-commerce demand.

Read: Lessons From the Amazon Effect

Great Gifts to Give an Engineer

Written By: Kelsey Bates
December 10, 2018

We polled Bastian’s engineers to see which gifts they’d love to get this holiday season. From books to gadgets, even STEM toys for future engineers, our fifth annual Gifts for Engineers holiday guide is sure to please!

Read: Great Gifts to Give an Engineer

5 Questions to Ask When Considering AGVs

Written By: Mason Cole
November 30, 2018

Wondering whether automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are the right solution for your material handling problem? These 5 questions will help.

Read: 5 Questions to Ask When Considering AGVs

The Art of Reusing Conveyor

Written By: Mike Czernik
November 28, 2018

When you’re tasked with reusing conveyor the customer already has, these tips will make the redesign and transition as smooth as possible.

Read: The Art of Reusing Conveyor

Optimizing Productivity and Space Utilization Through Warehouse Slotting

November 15, 2018

One of the differentiators between average-class and best-in-class operations is having an active warehouse slotting program.

Read: Optimizing Productivity and Space Utilization Through Warehouse Slotting

A Food Bank Supply Chain: The Logistics of Feeding the Hungry

Written By: Dustin Crandall
November 13, 2018

Food Bank LogisticsFood banks from a supply chain perspective: how they receive, store, process, and distribute millions of pounds of food out to the community.

Read: A Food Bank Supply Chain: The Logistics of Feeding the Hungry

What is a Pallet Positioner and Why Do I Need One?

Written By: Sarah Fronczak
November 08, 2018

Find out how pallet positioners like the PalletPal™ can make loading and unloading pallets faster, safer, and easier for your workforce..

Read: What is a Pallet Positioner and Why Do I Need One?

Reaching The Apex 2018 in Review

November 06, 2018

A review of Bastian Solutions’ Reaching the Apex 2018, a 3-day supply chain and logistics event combining education, facility tours and one-to-one consulting to take your distribution operations to the next level.

Read: Reaching The Apex 2018 in Review

5 Advantages of a Cobot from Universal Robots

Written By: Adam Kulon
October 30, 2018

Do you want to automate a process in your facility without breaking the bank? Here are 5 advantages of cobots.

Read: 5 Advantages of a Cobot from Universal Robots

Distribution Center Layout and Design - Part 2: Systematic Layout Planning

Written By: Marvin Logan
October 25, 2018

Effective distribution center layout planning is essential for achieving optimal performance. Systematic Layout Planning is our preferred strategy..

Read: Distribution Center Layout and Design - Part 2: Systematic Layout Planning

Distribution Center Layout and Design - Part 1: Fundamentals

Written By: Marvin Logan
October 25, 2018

Before diving in to more complex topics, it’s important to have a general understanding of the types of DCs and the functions that happen inside.

Read: Distribution Center Layout and Design - Part 1: Fundamentals

Back to Basics: 4 Common Types of Racking & Their Benefits

Written By:
October 18, 2018

Racking is one of the most basic tools in material handling. Here is a simple overview of 4 common types and their benefits.

Read: Back to Basics: 4 Common Types of Racking & Their Benefits

A Guide to Testing Your Warehouse Execution System (WES)

Written By: Will Tritle
October 16, 2018

A WES is a powerful tool that can help a wide range of warehouse DCs. Here’s what’s required to properly test and implement a warehouse execution system..

Read: A Guide to Testing Your Warehouse Execution System (WES)

How Industrial Automation Helped Detroit Recover

Written By: Reed Langton
October 04, 2018

With the perseverance of its manufacturing industry and the help of innovations like industrial automation, Detroit has made an impressive comeback.

Read: How Industrial Automation Helped Detroit Recover

5 Things to Consider When Implementing Trash Conveyor

Written By: Gina Labou
September 27, 2018

Don’t throw your money in the trash! Here are the first 5 factors you need to consider when selecting trash conveyor.

Read: 5 Things to Consider When Implementing Trash Conveyor

Fixing a Conveyor Belt Tracking Issue

Written By: Wes Bryant
September 19, 2018

How a conveyor belt tracking issue let us prove our commitment to providing exceptional customer service.

Read: Fixing a Conveyor Belt Tracking Issue

How to Calculate the Ideal Building Column Spacing for Warehouse Pallet Racking

September 13, 2018

Anyone who has been through the process of laying out warehouse pallet racking knows the frustrations of trying to accommodate building columns…

Read: How to Calculate the Ideal Building Column Spacing for Warehouse Pallet Racking

8 Top Recruiting and Interview Tips for Companies and Job Seekers

Written By: Bastian Solutions
August 28, 2018

The hiring process can be a challenge for both companies and candidates. Here are 8 recruiting and interview tips to make the process better for everyone.

Read: 8 Top Recruiting and Interview Tips for Companies and Job Seekers

5 Cobot Applications for Distribution Centers

August 22, 2018

From picking, packing, palletizing and beyond, here are some distribution center applications that can benefit from using cobots, or collaborative robots.

Read: 5 Cobot Applications for Distribution Centers

How Much Does Pallet Racking Cost?

Written By: Greg Conner
August 09, 2018

Only your material handling provider can provide an accurate pallet racking price, but here are a few rough estimates to help with your next project.

Read: How Much Does Pallet Racking Cost?

Understanding Host System Integration with Exacta: Supply Chain Software

Written By: Bastian Solutions
August 07, 2018

Integrating supply chain software may seem intimidating, but with the help of our experts and a good software package such as Exacta, connecting your host software system to your automated material handling system is easy.

Read: Understanding Host System Integration with Exacta: Supply Chain Software

Integrating a Modular Overhead Conveyor System

Written By: Christopher Dyjak
August 01, 2018

How Bastian Solutions evaluated and integrated an overhead conveyor system for a customer’s new manufacturing procedure.

Read: Integrating a Modular Overhead Conveyor System

Increase Revenue with Automatic Stretch Wrapping

Written By: Bastian Solutions
July 26, 2018

You spend millions of dollars to get your product to the customer as fast as possible. So why let outdated wrapping procedures slow you down?

Read: Increase Revenue with Automatic Stretch Wrapping

3 Factors for Proper Roll Handling

Written By: Bastian Solutions
July 19, 2018

The key to any material handling operation is the collection of product data. For roll handling, these are the most important pieces of information to have.

Read: 3 Factors for Proper Roll Handling

4 Things to Consider When Selecting Wire Decking

Written By: Cuong Ngo, Greg Conner
July 11, 2018

After you’ve decided wire decking is the best option for your warehouse or distribution center, you still need to decide which options will work best. Here are 4 things to consider when selecting the best wire decking for your application.

Read: 4 Things to Consider When Selecting Wire Decking

Are You Being Held Hostage by Your Material Handling Provider?

Written By: Greg Conner
July 03, 2018

Open Controls ArchitectureOne of the most important questions you should ask before choosing your material handling systems provider is: do they program in an open controls architecture?  The implications of the answer might surprise you.

Read: Are You Being Held Hostage by Your Material Handling Provider?

Surprising Applications for Plastic Modular Chain Conveyors

Written By: David Musch
June 28, 2018
Part 2 of our series on plastic chain conveyors. Typically used to transport clean, cool, or small products, plastic modular chain conveyors are surprisingly well suited for the opposite, too. Read: Surprising Applications for Plastic Modular Chain Conveyors

3 Reasons to Implement a Plastic Chain Conveyor System

Written By: JT Goodwin
June 26, 2018
plastic chain conveyorThe demand for plastic chain conveyor systems has been steadily increasing as companies realize the benefits they provide. Here are the top three reasons why you should consider using a plastic chain conveyor system. Read: 3 Reasons to Implement a Plastic Chain Conveyor System

5 Key Steps to Your Next Material Handling System Modification

Written By: Matt Greene
June 20, 2018
System renderingIn today's fast-paced, demand-driven world, material handling system modifications are almost guaranteed and required to keep up with competition. To ensure a smooth project and successful go-live, whether a brand new system or modification, follow these five steps. Read: 5 Key Steps to Your Next Material Handling System Modification

Material Handling Ergonomics: 4 Products to Keep Your Workers Safe

Written By: Codi Wilson
June 14, 2018
Material handling ergonomicsMost material handling situations involve physically-straining or repetitive actions, such as lifting products from variable elevations, installing a component in an assembly process, or picking products into containers for order fulfillment. Those physical stresses could lead to worker injury and additional costs. Read: 4 Ergonomic Products to Keep Your Workers Safe

How to Avoid the 6 Most Common Pitfalls of Robotic Palletizing System Startups

Written By: Ollie Langhorst
June 07, 2018
“Garbage in, garbage out.” As this phrase applies to robotic palletizing systems, the system outputs, particularly built pallet quality and throughput rates, are directly tied to the quality of the system inputs. To avoid issues, it's critical to ensure quality products, pallets as well as downstream and upstream processes. Read: How to Avoid Common Pitfalls of Robotic Palletizing System Startups

The Benefits of Automating Line Replenishment with Electronic KANBAN

Written By: Tim Hoffman
June 01, 2018
With the improvements and new technology in material handling, we can take the idea of Kanban to whole new levels. The question is, what level of Kanban implementation, if any, is right for you and your facility? Read: The Benefits of Automating Line Replenishment with Electronic KANBAN

Adopting Automation and Change Management: What to Expect and How to be Prepared

Written By: JD Stumpf
May 23, 2018
Whether its automating the picking process with goods-to-person (GTP) technology or the pack-and-ship process with tapers and print and apply, the path to a successful automation implementation can be seamless and smooth for some organizations, but also, prolonged and strenuous for others. Read: Adopting Automation and Change Management

New Brew of Software for Beverage Distribution

Written By: Chris Bratten
May 16, 2018
Consumers are getting more tech savvy when it comes to purchasing goods. The common trend is to be faster, more accurate, and provide decision-making information on-demand. The wine and spirits industry is no different, which is why smart distributors are investing in new hardware and software. Read: New Brew of Software for Beverage Distribution

Understanding OSHA Safety Standards for Conveyor

Written By: Greg Conner
May 09, 2018
Conveyor safety standardsConveyor equipment can be dangerous if not used in the proper manner and with necessary safety precautions in place. To prevent injuries and accidents, OSHA has outlined several conveyor safety standards, which we'll review and expand upon. Read: Understanding OSHA Safety Standards for Conveyor

Comparing Internet of Things (IoT)-Based Asset Tracking Technologies: RFID vs. BLE

Written By: Natalie Hogan
May 04, 2018
RFID v BluetoothSearching for the right asset tracking solution can be daunting. Within the materials handling and supply chain industry, Radio-Frequency Identifier (RFID) is commonly championed as the defacto successor to previous approaches like barcode scanning, but there are other methods that have competitive advantages and technological trade-offs. Read: Comparing IoT-Based Asset Tracking Technologies

Software and Automation for Third Party Logistics

Written By: Sheila Dooley
April 30, 2018
3PL automationThe need for third party logistics companies has grown greatly over the past decade. With the rise of e-commerce, many companies do not wish to host their own distribution for those channels of sales. The solution is for businesses to outsource elements of their distribution and fulfillment operations. Read: Software and Automation for Third Party Logistics

Robotic Truck Loading is the Future of Shipping Dock Automation

Written By: Joe Zoghzoghy
April 19, 2018
Robotic trailer loadingAutomation has reached almost every corner of modern warehouses, but one area often still lacks efficiency—shipping and receiving docks. In these areas, an employee is often required to manually lift and handle cases, causing injury and discomfort. This is leading companies to search for automated solutions for improved ergonomics. Read: Robotic Truck Loading is the Future of Shipping Dock Automation

3 Key Factors in Goods-to-Person Throughput Design

Written By: Kyle Dorge
March 30, 2018
Goods to person pickingFrom a mechanical standpoint, a goods-to-person system certainly can attain the tote delivery rate advertised on a vendor’s website.  However, these advertised rates do not consider the primary determinant for the throughput rate that is actually realized at a goods-to-person work station – the pick cycle time.  Read: Key Factors in Goods-to-Person Throughput Design

Why Choose Composite Pallets?

Written By: Sean Regan
March 28, 2018
Composite pallet on forkliftCompanies invest heavily on staff, machinery and automation to create highly efficient processes to get goods to the market, however they overlook a keystone item, the pallet. This oversight, usually with great affect to efficiency, ends up costing big. Read: Why Choose Composite Pallets?

Decoding Your ZiPline Conveyor Model Name

Written By: Andrew Jones
March 21, 2018
ZiPline Conveyor systemWith ZiPline Conveyor, we want anyone to look at the model name and instantly know what type of conveyor it is. To do this, our naming convention identifies three key features of any conveyor system--belt surface, conveyor function, and power type. Read: Decoding Your ZiPline Conveyor Model Name

5 Tips for Attending Trade Shows Like an Expert

Written By: Kayla Wohldmann
March 16, 2018
Trade show tipsIf you’ve never attended a trade show before, they can be a bit daunting; however, with proper preparation, they can provide you with a lot of exposure to new trends and technologies within a relatively short period of time! Read: Attending Trade Shows Like an Expert

How Can Internet of Things (IoT) Tracking Help Recover Assets?

March 14, 2018
From theft to damaged goods, there is a disconnect in the current supply chain. The Internet of Things is quickly changing how we track, manage, and recover assets. What can you do today to ensure your products are shipped on time and uninterrupted? Read More: How Can Internet of Things (IoT) Tracking Help Recover Assets?

Your Pallet Racking Guide: Insider Tips on Selecting and Installing

Written By: Brandon Trammell
March 08, 2018
Pallet rackPallet racking is a common storage solution in warehouses, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities of any size. Although common, there are many options to consider, so it’s good to understand your objectives before jumping into the proposal process. Read: Tips on Purchasing & Installing Pallet Rack

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe: Picking the Best Supply Chain Trade Organizations

Written By: Amanda Bomar
March 02, 2018
Welcome to the world of distribution…or is it supply chain….or maybe logistics? Whatever you call it, your objective is to get something from one place to another. There are hundreds of thousands of people working to do the same. Wouldn't it be great if you could find those people and learn from them? Read: Picking the Best Supply Chain Trade Organizations

The Highway to Success – Enhancing the Value of the Workforce through Automation

Written By: Chris Graver
February 28, 2018
Workforce and automationLast year, MHI published its “Material Handling & Logistics US Roadmap 2.0”. The Roadmap explains how changing trends in the workforce, technology, consumers and logistics infrastructure will impact material handling and logistics through 2030. One of the biggest changes we see occurring is the relationship between the workforce and technology. Read: Enhancing the Value of the Workforce Through Automation

It’s the Little Things: How Anti-Fatigue Mats Make a Big Impact

Written By: Robert Shenon
February 23, 2018
It’s easy to focus on highly automated material handling solutions, especially when these systems have technologies such as fast-moving robots, conveyor, or software. However, it’s just as important to focus on the basics of a material handling environment, including ergonomic products like anti-fatigue mats. Read: How Anti-Fatigue Mats Make a Big Impact

Industrial Real Estate Considerations for Goods-to-Person Technologies

Written By: Blake Bearden
February 21, 2018
Just as the internet has been an enabler for e-commerce, today’s modern goods-to-person (GTP) automation technologies have been an enabler for e-commerce order fulfillment, especially when those orders are delivered on the promise of next-day or same-day delivery. Continue Reading: GTP Tech Impacts Building Design

Automated Order Routing: A Keystone of Your Warehouse Control System

Written By: Mohammad Shaban
February 16, 2018
From intelligent modules, to proactive monitoring, and complete data visibility into your operations; Automated Order Routing is a software system that will be the keystone to holding your entire operation together. Read: Automated Order Routing Defined

How the New Tax Law Could Impact Material Handling

Written By: Greg Conner
February 14, 2018
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that President Trump signed into law this past December was the most comprehensive overhaul of the US tax code in over 30 years.  The law contains significant changes to both individual and corporate tax rates.  There is little doubt the law will impact all Americans in some manner or another, but what impact will the tax law have on the material handling industry? Read: Tax Law Impact on Material Handling

3 Keys to a Successful Warehouse Management System Implementation

Written By: William Saucer
February 09, 2018
Purchasing a new warehouse management system (WMS) can bring levels of uncertainty. You want to ensure it's installed correctly and smoothly and your employees are properly trained. To do so, here are 3 steps to a successful WMS implementation. Read: 3 Keys to a Successful WMS Implementation

How to Select a Warehouse Management System

Written By: Marvin Logan
February 06, 2018
WMS ReviewSearching for a new warehouse management system (WMS) can be a complicated matter. It is very important to have a plan for success before starting, and then work that plan to the best of your ability. Read: How to Select a Warehouse Management System

Is Mobile Pallet Racking the Right Fit for Your Warehouse?

Written By: Marco Lentini
February 01, 2018
mobile racking thumbIn today’s world, we are continuously looking for ways to cut operating costs, maximize the capacity in our facilities, and become more efficient in our everyday processes. As industrial space becomes more difficult to find, mobile pallet racking is emerging as a viable solution. Read: Is Mobile Pallet Racking the Right Fit for Your Warehouse?

Mini-Load ASRS: What is it & why does Australia need it?

Written By: Bastian Solutions
January 24, 2018
mini load asrsASRS is the short way of saying “Automated Storage and Retrieval System.” Although these systems have been around for several years, many in warehousing facilities have not heard of it, and those who have might not exactly understand what it is or how it could benefit their operations. Read: Mini-Load ASRS in Australia

3 Dock Door Equipment Options for a Warmer and Safer Winter

Written By: Austin Galaska
January 17, 2018
dock door equipmentMany parts of the U.S. have felt the full force of a ‘bombogenesis’ nor’easter and overall freezing temperatures this season, making it a great time to consider ways to make sure your facility is protected against mother nature. Here are three options for dock door equipment to improve the safety and comfort of your facility. Read: 3 Dock Door Equipment Options for a Warmer and Safer Winter

Supervisão das Instalações de Manuseio de Materiais no Exterior

Written By: William Montfort
January 12, 2018
Installation SupervisionSupervisionar uma instalação de equipamentos como em outras áreas requer atenção, paciência e obviamente o conhecimento técnico necessário, tanto para lidar com os técnicos como com o cliente. Leia o Artigo

Don’t Let Wash-Down Conveyor Leave You Feeling Drowned

Written By: Wes Bryant
January 10, 2018
Often times, when people think of wash-down conveyor, stainless steel comes to mind. That's correct, but there are several key components to successful wash-down conveyor. They are complicated as long as you work with a trusted vendor. Read: Getting Started with Wash-Down Conveyor

5 Ways to Optimize Your Warehouse Processes with Microsoft Access

Written By: Wade Brown
January 03, 2018
If your warehouse management system provides countless amounts of raw data, a database management program such as Microsoft Access can help you maximize all that valuable information. Read: 5 Ways to Optimize with Microsoft Access

10 Common Warehousing Mistakes to Avoid This Year

Written By: Greg Conner
December 28, 2017
Constraints such as omni-channel distribution and speed to delivery have really put a strain on overall operations.  Given the immense challenges faced today, DC managers and facility engineers should work to avoid the following 10 common warehousing mistakes. Read: 10 Common Warehousing Mistakes to Avoid This Year

6 Considerations when Integrating Cold Room Conveyor

Written By: Gina Labou
December 21, 2017
cold room conveyorMany of us think about winterizing our car or home, but your conveyor system also needs protection from cold temperatures. In this article, we will discuss six areas to consider when installing conveyor and other material handling equipment in cold rooms or freezers. Read: 6 Considerations when Integrating Cold Room Conveyor

The Magic Behind Online Shopping

Written By: Cody Caissie
December 19, 2017
E-Commerce DCE-commerce fulfillment is on the rise and investing in automating these facilities streamlines operational processes. Through the use of robotic ASRS, supply chain software, and conveyor sortation, fulfillment centers are beginning to look a lot like high-tech versions of Santa's workshop. Read: The Magic Behind Online Shopping

20 Awesome Gifts to Get an Engineer in 2017

Written By: Stefanie Hardy
December 04, 2017
navdyFor our fourth year, we're bringing you our annual list of top 20 awesome gifts to get an engineer for 2017. We polled our team of engineers to find out what was on their wish list, and they had some excellent ideas for engineers of all ages. Read: Top 20 Gifts for an Engineer 2017

How to Quickly Build Mixed Layer Pallets

Written By: Bastian Solutions
November 21, 2017
mixed layer pallet buildingLayer picking is a high-rate, high-SKU order fulfillment application used in warehouses across many industries to increase efficiencies and reduce fulfillment costs.  Layer picking operations are made even more efficient when combined with pallet flow racking equipped with specialty separators. Read: How to Quickly Build Mixed Layer Pallets

Collaborative Robots Part 2: Benefits and Expanding Capabilities

Written By: Nathan Busch
November 16, 2017
Cobot benefitsIndustrial robots play a large part in the automation of industrial environments, but collaborative robots are expanding the realm of possibility. In part two of our series, we’re discussing the benefits of collaborative robots, and why that makes them a growing piece of today's modern manufacturing and distribution puzzle. Read: Collaborative Robot Benefits

Collaborative Robots Part 1: Pros, Cons, and Applications

Written By: Matt Greene
November 14, 2017
CobotsOnce you know the strengths and weaknesses of cobots, where do they make the most sense?  Typically, they’ll find homes in applications where they move light products relatively slowly. Read: Collaborative Robots Part 1

Robótica e a otimização de espaço de armazenagem

Written By: Marcelo Souza
November 10, 2017
Sistema AutoStore para EmbraerApesar da tecnologia de armazenagem e retirada automatizada (ASRS) não ser exatamente recente, é notável o nível de desenvolvimento e sua capacidade de solucionar problemas complexos otimizando processos logísticos economizando espaços ao máximo. Leia: Robótica e a otimização de espaço de armazenagem

Using Virtual Reality for Material Handling System Design

Written By: Stephany Cardinali
November 07, 2017
Virtual reality is the next disruptive technology making its way into many different industries and applications, including material handling systems design. Learn more about BastianVR and how our team is using it to help customers visualize their system investments.

Artificial Intelligence: Hype or Game Changer

Written By: Adam Cole
November 01, 2017
AI in the warehouseArtificial intelligence (AI) has been in the news a lot lately.  Self-driving cars, smart personal assistants (e.g. Amazon’s Alexa), and recommendation engines that serve up your favorite movies and books, are all exciting AI applications that you have probably heard about.  There are, though, many more, including in material handling automation. Read: AI - Hype or Game Changer

From the “Other Side” – Perspectives from a Systems Integration Rookie

Written By: Matt Bangert
October 19, 2017
Material Handling is not as large of a household term as many of us would like, but once you have product that needs handled, you must know certain levels about the industry. Here's my first material handling systems integration experience. Read: Perspectives from a Systems Integration Rookie

Supply Chain Software: What are Unit Tests and Why Should You Care?

Written By: Jonathan Ferguson
October 11, 2017
Software Unit TestsUnit testing has become quite the buzzword over the past several years, but what is and why should you care? Learn more about this process and how it can help. Read: What are Unit Tests and Why Should You Care?

Zone Skipping Your Way to Increased Profits in Ecommerce Distribution

Written By: Greg Conner
October 05, 2017
Zone skippingZone skipping is a logistics technique where companies ship their products directly to sorting facilities close to the final ship-to destination.  Zone skipping can result in a significant savings as the costs associated with multiple sort and transfer points by the carrier are eliminated. Read: Zone Skipping Your Way to Increased Profits

A 3-Step Method to Warehouse Optimization

Written By: Wade Brown
September 27, 2017
While there are many different areas and processes you can focus on when attempting to optimize your warehouse, this three-step method can be applied to all areas of your warehouse in one form or another. Read: A 3-Step Method to Warehouse Optimization

3 Space-Saving Conveyor Support Alternatives

Written By: Bill Galbraith
September 21, 2017
Conveyor support alternativesConveyors are often routed through all parts of a facility at various elevations. Supporting these conveyors while maintaining critical floor space and walk ways creates a unique challenge. Here are three conveyor support alternatives to help you maximize floor space. Read: 3 Space-Saving Conveyor Support Alternatives

The Importance of Installation Drawings for Your Material Handling System

Written By: Andrew Stockton
September 15, 2017
System drawingMaterial handling system drawings are a key tool when proposing a new system to a customer or vendor, so if they don’t make sense, it can hinder proposal discussions and the final outcome of the system installation. Read: The Importance of Installation Drawings for Your Material Handling System

Is Your Machine Race Ready?

Written By: Cody Caissie
September 13, 2017
Machine maintenanceDowntime can be one of the most expensive costs to a business. Minutes and even seconds are critical in a high volume facility. Almost every machine in the industry will come with some type of preventive measures to ensure it runs smoothly. Take the time and COMPLETE your PM checks. Read: Is Your Machine Race Ready?

Mobile Robotics: Uma solução que combina Robôs e mobilidade

Written By: Alexandre Araujo
September 08, 2017
Mobile warehouse robotA precisão robótica significa menos preocupação com erros e limitações no processo de “picking”. Tenha ganhos de performance com a capacidade de operar 03 turnos sem a necessidade de recarregar a sua frota. A solução “Mobile Robotic” posiciona seu processo de expedição acima dos padrões de mercado. Read: Uma solução que combina Robôs e mobilidade

Business Intelligence in Modern Material Handling

Written By: TJ Burns
September 06, 2017
Business intelligence softwareAs consumer needs get more demanding, material handling companies must keep pace and stay competitive.  There is a plethora of unique technologies for developing a warehousing solution, and with all of these, the ability to monitor the system and make meaningful decisions is crucial. Enter business intelligence... Read: Business Intelligence in Modern Material Handling

18 Essential Pallet Racking Guidelines

Written By: Blain Cook
August 30, 2017
Industrial racking The material handling industry is abundant with new technologies and innovations. In the background of all this fancy new technology is a variety of less exciting, but equally important equipment, including pallet racking. Read: 18 Essential Pallet Racking Guidelines

Beyond Conveyor: The Evolution of Material Handling Technology

Written By: Mike Czernik
August 24, 2017
Material handlingWhenever asked about my job, most questions revolve around conveyor and racking, but I can’t help but wonder why the scope of the industry ends there, or at least the perception of it. Today's material handling technology is impressive and more advanced than ever before. Read: The Evolution of Material Handling Technology

Information Security and Its Beneficial Role in Warehousing

Written By: Kyle Creekmore
August 21, 2017
If you think information security only applies to encrypting sensitive data and protecting against data breaches, what would you think if I told you that you were only scratching the surface of information security? Read: Information Security and Its Beneficial Role in Warehousing

Up, Up, & Away: Spiral Conveyor vs. Incline Conveyor

Written By: Bastian Solutions
August 16, 2017
ZiPline incline conveyorIn a perfect world, every conveyor system would be flat. However, this is hardly ever the case. People, equipment, walls, and daily operations always seem to get in the way. Therefore we must go over, under, or around. Read: Spiral Conveyor vs. Incline Conveyor

Which Sortation Technology is Correct for Your Application?

Written By: Codi Wilson
August 09, 2017
Conveyor sortationThere are many different technologies to choose from when selecting a sortation conveyor, and each solution should be compared to ensure that the correct sorter is used to meet your system needs. Let's explore the options. Read: Exploring Your Sortation Technology Options

On-Demand Packaging Saves Time, Space and Money

Written By: Ron Smith
August 03, 2017
right sizing boxesHave you heard anyone talk about “on demand packaging”, “right sizing boxes”, or “custom box making”? These terms refer to using box making equipment to deliver the sizes of boxes you really need, when you need them. Here's why it's beneficial. Read: The Benefits of On-Demand Packaging

A Beginner's Guide to Order Picking Technologies

Written By: Nick VanWallaghen
August 01, 2017
Time to impress upper management with four picking technologies you should know when beginning a career in the supply chain. Read: A Beginner's Guide to Picking Technologies

4 Tips for New Engineers Starting Their First Job

Written By: Shelby Shay
July 27, 2017
Engineering graduatesSo you just graduated from an engineering school, and you had a couple interviews with a company that went pretty well. With a sigh of relief, you’ve managed to convince them that you know stuff about things. You may have even convinced yourself of the same. For a time. Read: 4 Tips for New Engineers Starting Their First Job

Configuring Your AutoStore System: 5 Design Parameters

Written By: Matt Greene
July 25, 2017
autostoreAutoStore is an automated, high density warehouse storage system designed and manufactured by Norway’s Hatteland Group (although now owned by Sweden’s EQT Partners). The system is modular and uses standard components, which makes its configurability nearly endless. Read: Configuring Your AutoStore System

AC/DC: Selecting AC Powered Conveyor vs. DC Powered Conveyor

Written By: Matt Greene
July 20, 2017
AC vs. DC powerConveyors can be complicated to understand until you break them down into their individual components and understand what they do for your system. A good place to start when understanding your conveyor system is AC (alternating current) powered conveyor versus DC (direct current) powered conveyor. Read: Selecting AC vs. DC Powered Conveyor

Is it Time to Automate Your Machine Tending?

Written By: Michael Cunningham
July 18, 2017
Machine Tending RobotsWith the continued advancement of the automotive industry and the high demand placed on manufacturers, is it time to automate your machine tending operation? Read: It is Time to Automate your Machine Tending?

Automação e Software Supply Chain

Written By: Mauricio Ferreira
July 14, 2017
warehouse management systemsO software WMS (warehouse management system) é o mais velho conhecido sistema de suporte de operações em armazéns, faz o controle de inventário, processa o recebimento, ordens de armazenagem, ordens de separação e envio. Read: Automação e Software Supply Chain

Manufacturing Automation, Material Handling, and the 21st Century

Written By: Brandon Trammell
July 11, 2017
Manufacturing automation cellModern manufacturing facilities are relying on new technologies and innovations to produce higher quality products at faster speeds with lower costs. Implementing more intelligent software and hardware is the only way to compete; however, those technologies have levels. Read: Manufacturing Automation, Material Handling, and the 21st Century

The Truth about Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)

Written By: Eric Cameron
July 06, 2017
When selling software, market transparency is a key. Ideally you want the best solution when it comes to functionality, flexibility, and return on investment without over spending. Avoid any company that tries to oversell on modules that do not directly affect your bottom line. Read: The Truth About Warehouse Management Systems

The Death of Brick and Mortar Retail…Not So Fast!

Written By: Greg Conner
June 29, 2017
retail evolutionNever in our lifetimes have we seen such as change in the retail supply chain. The traditional process of regional distribution centers shipping to brick and mortar stores has been significantly altered by online fulfillment from the likes of Amazon.com and an ever-growing list of online retailers. Read: The Death of Brick and Mortar Retail

Preventing Common Warehouse Safety Hazards

Written By: Sarah Fronczak
June 27, 2017
Warehouse safety hazardsAlthough safety is a year-round concern, June is National Safety Month, so it's the perfect time to look at the most common warehouse safety hazards and how to prevent them. Read: Preventing Common Warehouse Safety Hazards

Is Your Warehouse Traffic Resembling a Busy Interstate?

Written By: Jake Ethridge
June 22, 2017
TrafficSelf-driving cars are the future of our roads, but manufacturing and distribution centers have been using autonomous vehicles for years. Are AGVs right for you? Read: AGVs Assist with Warehouse Traffic

A Review of the Distribution Automation Landscape in Mexico

Written By: Carlos Minjares
June 16, 2017
Robot palletizingWe all know and believe that automation is the future (and in some cases, the present), but what’s different for Mexico and LATAM (Latin America) in general? Why is it so difficult to take that first step to automate material handling processes in those countries? Read: A Review of the Distribution Automation Landscape in Mexico

Back to School: Choosing the Right Employee Lockers

Written By: Tim Hoffman
June 13, 2017
Now that we are all grown up (in body more so than in mind), lockers can be even more important than back in school. They store the items we need for work, a change of clothes, give us space for personal items, and allow us to feel at home with a personal space of our own. Read: Choosing the Right Employee Lockers

A Supply Chain Software Comparison: WMS vs. WCS vs. WES

Written By: Damir Kantardzic
June 07, 2017
WES graphicThe evolution of supply chain management has introduced a new breed of supply chain software, but what are the differences between the "big three"? Let's examine the functionality of WMS, WCS, and WES. Read: A Supply Chain Software Comparison: WMS vs. WCS vs. WES

A Conveyor Poem

Written By: Will Smith
June 02, 2017
Conveyor doesn't have to be all business. Have some fun with this short poem all about the life of a hardworking warehouse conveyor. Read: A Conveyor Poem

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS): A Beginner's Guide

Written By: Mike Clemens
May 31, 2017
mini-load-craneAutomated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS) are not new technologies. They actually became commercially available in the 50’s and 60’s. Since then, there have been vast improvements. Is an ASRS right for your warehouse? Let’s dive into this technology to find out. Read: Should You Consider an Automated Storage and Retrieval System

Your Guide to Critical Spare Parts

Written By: Greg Ward
May 26, 2017
Spare parts inventoryHave you ever driven down the highway and noticed someone standing along the roadside next to their automobile, waiting for road service? You glance down and see they have a flat tire and NO SPARE! What has this down time cost them? Read: Your Guide to Critical Spare Parts

Now is the Time to Replace RF with Voice Picking Technology

Written By: Will Tritle
May 23, 2017
warehouse picking Warehouse picking technologies have developed immensely over the past 15 years. Offerings range from paper pick lists and light directed picking, all the way to goods-to-man technologies. Depending on throughput, budgets, and space requirements, each of these have their place in the warehouse logistics world. Read: Now is the Time to Replace RF with Voice Picking Technology

How to Select the Right Industrial Casters

Written By: Sarah Fronczak
May 18, 2017
Industrial caster wheelsCasters, like most day-to-day items, are often overlooked—until they don’t work. From carts to portable gravity conveyor and work stations, there are a lot of components within a warehouse, distribution center, or manufacturing plant that often utilize them. So if you haven’t replaced a caster in a while, the time is likely coming. Read: How to Select the Right Industrial Casters

4 Questions to Ask Before Selecting Goods-to-Person Solutions

Written By: Bastian Solutions
May 16, 2017
iBOT Over the past few years, the phrase “goods to person” has become mainstream. As distribution facilities look to service customers more quickly, optimize warehouse space, and improve accuracy of order fulfillment, goods-to-person technologies have become a realistic option to accomplish these goals. Read: 4 Questions to Ask Before Selecting Goods-to-Person Solutions

Navigating the World of Automated Warehouse Vehicles

Written By: Adam Cole
May 12, 2017
Grenzebach AGVThe world of automated warehouse vehicles can be confusing. Just consider the various types of available guidance systems: wire-guidance, magnetic tape and magnetic paint, laser-guidance, inertial navigation, and camera based imaging (i.e. vision-guidance). When you factor in the type of vehicle, e.g. tugger, unit load, custom, etc., the task of selecting a specific platform can be overwhelming. Read: Navigating the World of Automated Warehouse Vehicles

How to Increase Meeting Effectiveness

Written By: Nancy Hauer
May 09, 2017
Communication is key in any business! We're often managing meetings with people in various locations and time zones, both internal and external resources. Each employee's communication manner directly impacts the image of both the employee and the company. Read: Increase Meeting Effectiveness

When It’s Right to Use Wide Span Bulk Shelving, “It’s Right”

Written By: Dave Knight
May 05, 2017
Bulk shelvingStorage is a key component of every warehouse. Oftentimes it involves pallet rack, but in many instances smaller, bulk storage is needed. This is the perfect application for wide span bulk shelving. Here is run down on the basics of bulk shelving for your warehouse, manufacturing plant, or distribution center. Read: The Basics of Wide Span Bulk Shelving

The 5 W’s Behind an AutoStore Goods-To-Person System

Written By: Greg Conner
May 02, 2017
AutoStore GridGoods-to-person systems are taking the material handling automation industry by storm. One of these technologies is AutoStore, and it’s worth taking a more detailed look. Below are the who, what, when, where and why of AutoStore systems. Read: The 5 W’s Behind an AutoStore Goods-To-Person System

An Engineering Consultant’s View of ProMat

Written By: Jason Tenorio
April 27, 2017
Bastian Solutions ProMat boothProMat and Automate offered the perfect platform to see an amazing array of technologies and speak with developers first hand. For any company looking to automate, there were plenty of solutions to review and discuss. Read: A Consultant's View of ProMat

Get a Grip on Your Pallet Handling

Written By: Geoff Schreiber
April 25, 2017
Pallet HandlingWhen looking for a pallet handling solution, knowing the key questions to be answered and the crucial information regarding your product and process is critical. Read: Get a Grip on Your Pallet Handling

Supply Chain Software Making a Big Impact for Small Business & Startups

Written By: Ryan Reed
April 20, 2017
Exacta Software screenLarge companies have teams of statisticians, data scientists and engineers to solve complex logistical problems. Companies like Amazon invest millions of dollars for small improvements to their already lean and efficient operations. But what about companies just starting off in warehouse distribution? How can these companies plan for growth while maintaining small, budget friendly operations? Read: Supply Chain Software Making a Big Impact for Small Business & Startups

Carton Flow Rack: Which Type is Right for you?

Written By: Zach Taylor
April 13, 2017
Carton flow rackCarton flow rack is one of the many places in the material handling world where gravity is used to assist in the transportation of products. Carton flow utilizes a slightly declined array of rollers or skate wheels to provide an efficient, steady supply of product to an employee picking product for various applications. Read: Carton Flow Rack Types

Bastian Solutions Unveils Its ZiPline Conveyor Shoe Sorter

Written By: Rick Meyer
March 28, 2017
Shoe SorterBastian Solutions is proud to introduce a shoe sorter as the newest addition to its ZiPline Conveyor product line. Over the years, our team has integrated and installed many shoe sorter designs. Using that experience, we are proud to manufacture our own shoe sorter, featuring some unique design improvements. Read: ZiPline Conveyor Shoe Sorter Unveiled

Augmented Reality (AR): The Future of Supply Chains?

Written By: Mark Curtis
March 24, 2017
Augmented reality for the supply chainAugmented reality and virtual reality are new technologies being applied to the ever evolving supply chain. Integrating these devices with warehouse software, picking processes, and robotics could be the future of distribution and manufacturing operations. Read: Augmented Reality (AR): The Future of Supply Chains?

Click and Collect: Stores Become Retail Distribution Centers

Written By: Greg Conner
March 17, 2017
Grocery appToday’s retail stores are evolving, but what does the future hold? Could AGVs or augmented reality speed order picking and take fulfillment to the next level? In the future, will we ever have to go into a store again? Read: Stores Becoming Retail Distribution Centers

Industry 4.0 - Are you Prepared for the Winds of Change?

Written By: Maxx Wright
March 15, 2017
Industry 4.0Industry 4.0 poses massive implications for OEMs and equipment suppliers who don't keep their feet under them. Industry 4.0 is already paving a viable future for manufacturing and distribution advancement. The first gusts are here, and it begs a proper storm warning. Read: Industry 4.0 - Are you Prepared?

4 Benefits of Material Handling System Simulation

Written By: Tim Duket
March 08, 2017
Simulation modelingModern material handling systems employ increasingly complex hardware and software to optimize material flow and order fulfillment. As such, committing to a new design, or to modifications of an existing system, can become a daunting task. Learn how simulations can help. Read: 4 Benefits of Material Handling System Simulation

7 Tips for Selecting the Right Conveyor Type

Written By: Codi Wilson
March 02, 2017
ZiPline conveyor systemThere are many items to consider when selecting a conveyor type for a project. Each item has it’s own importance and will impact conveyor selection. Use the following criteria to make the best choice for your operation. Read: 7 Tips for Selecting the Right Conveyor Type

How Wire Shelving Increases Facility Safety and Versatility

Written By: Austin Galaska
February 22, 2017
Wire shelving on pallet rackThere are two key underlying fundamentals that all successful warehousing, distribution, and manufacturing facilities have – safety and versatility. Implementing wire shelving has many advantages that meet both of these fundamentals. Read: How Wire Shelving Increases Facility Safety and Versatility

If Julia Child Upped Her Throughput: Food Grade Conveyor 101

Written By: Matt Greene
February 16, 2017
Food grade conveyorAs standards of food manufacturing and distribution change with new mandates, food manufacturers and processors sometimes struggle to keep up. The regulations may require facilities to modify their existing material handling equipment for new, updated equipment that meets current standards. This article sheds light on which conveyor is best for conveying various food products. Read: Food Grade Conveyor 101

Can 3D Printing be Additive to the Supply Chain?

Written By: Kevin Capodice
February 14, 2017
3D printingFrom prosthesis, to robotics, food, and even guns, 3D printing has been making headlines in recent years. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has been around longer than most think. Read: Can 3D Printing be Additive to the Supply Chain?

Project Management: A Tool for a Successful Automation Implementation

Written By: Alejandro Gracia
February 09, 2017
Project managementProject management is a critical piece to any successful automation system implementation. From the development stage to go live, the project manager must ensure all is going as planned and as the customer needs it. Here is an overview of what a good project manager should cover. Read: Project Management for Successful Automation Implementation

Top 10 Things to Know About Robotic Palletizing

Written By: Greg Martin
February 07, 2017
Robotic Palletizing SystemsThere are many factors to consider when implementing a robotic palletizer. What goes into creating an efficient and robust palletizer, and what can determine the overall success of your solution? Here are ten important aspects of robotic palletizing systems you should know. Read: Top 10 Things to Know About Robotic Palletizing

Carton Flow Rack: Roller vs. Wheel

Written By: Nathan Busch
February 02, 2017
Carton flow rackBy definition, carton flow rack is easy to understand; a form of shelving that uses a rear load design, as an item is removed from the front the item directly behind it takes its place. The idea gets to be distinctly harder to comprehend when choosing between rollers and wheels for your carton flow. Read: Carton Flow Rack: Roller vs. Wheel

Key Considerations When Designing Goods-to-Person Systems

Written By: Nathan Busch
January 26, 2017
Autostore for retail fulfillmentThe ever-increasing need to satisfy customers in the world of order fulfillment is causing the warehouse and distribution industries to consider more efficient and cost-effective solutions to satisfy the need. This has lead many companies to implement, or consider, higher-automation solutions that include goods-to-person technologies. Read: Key Considerations When Designing Goods-to-Person Systems

E-Commerce, the Economy, and Our On Demand World

Written By: Christopher Dyjak
January 24, 2017
A movie, pizza, pair of shoes, microwave…your new material handling system. All these things and anything else you can think of are now available with a few keystrokes and a click of a mouse. All this buying is not only driving the retail market, but also growing other businesses. Read: E-Commerce, the Economy, and Our On Demand World

Paper Handling Success Story: Using Standard Conveyor in a New Way

Written By: Tom Hazelrigg
January 18, 2017
Transfer paper stacksWhen we come across items that are difficult to handle, this often leads us to designing and manufacturing custom equipment to get the job done. However, for a recent customer, we were able to modify one of our standard conveyor models, the T-Rex transfer, to solve the issue. Read: Paper Handling Success Story

Y tú ya has comprado por internet? Como estar preparado para el Boom del e-commerce en México

Written By: Roberto Zarur
January 16, 2017
Cada día vemos como están llegando nuevos servicios de comercio electrónico a los retailers que ya conocemos, así como nuevos jugadores. Esto porque todos quieren ser parte de los USD 3.2 B que representa e-retail, con un crecimiento del 15% sostenido. Leer: Preparación para el boom del e-commerce en México

What to Look for When Sizing Up High Capacity Industrial Trailers

Written By: Jon Tilmon
January 11, 2017
Warehouse trailersThere are many applications for high capacity industrial trailers in industry today. A couple examples may include handling aluminum slabs, coils, and die handling. Capacities can quickly exceed a hundred thousand pounds or more, and it is essential to match the right trailer components with your warehouse or manufacturing application. Read: 10 Considerations for Industrial Trailers

Tesla VS Edison la guerra de la corriente, Conveyors un nuevo campo de Batalla

Written By: Javier Diaz
January 06, 2017
la guerra de la corrientePrecisamente en el momento en donde el nombre de Tesla comienza a ganar su lugar en la historia, donde cada día se conoce mucho más de su genio incomprendido y nos hacemos partícipes de todas las mejoras que ayudaron a moldear mejor el mundo actual vengo a reavivar la llama de la famosa guerra entre la corriente directa y la corriente continua que se libró hace más de un siglo. Leer: Tesla VS Edison la guerra de la corriente

The Top 4 Benefits of a Robotic Document Inserter

Written By: Jason Nowak
January 04, 2017
Robotic Document InserterA Robotic Document Inserter can accurately place the proper paperwork into your case or carton every time and can ease the demand on your operational team. Read: The Top Benefits of a Robotic Document Inserter

The Whole 9 Yards on E-Commerce

Written By: Bastian Solutions
December 21, 2016
DeliveryWith an unprecedented ability to compare prices and shop around without ever leaving the house, more and more people are utilizing E-commerce. So how are successful E-commerce companies setting themselves apart? Read on to find out. Read: The Whole 9 Yards on E-Commerce

The Do’s and Don’ts of Conveyor Roller Replacement

Written By: Steve Durcholz
December 15, 2016
conveyor rollersUnderstanding what information to have on hand when ordering replacement conveyor rollers can remove a lot of guess work, reducing the risk of ordering incorrect rollers and not having the correct parts available when equipment breaks down. Read: Do's and Don'ts of Replacing Conveyor Rollers

20 STEM educational gifts perfect for aspiring engineers this holiday season

Written By: Reed Langton
December 13, 2016
STEM toys Our list of STEM gifts for the 2016 holiday season will not disappoint the budding engineer in your life. From one year of age and up, these toys make the perfect gift for growing, young minds! Continue Reading: 20 STEM educational gifts for aspiring engineers
Posted in Education

5 Passos para uma Implementação de Automação Logística bem Sucedida

Written By: Alexandre Araujo
December 09, 2016
implementacao-de-automacaoO sucesso de uma solução de manuseio de materiais bem implementada depende de alguns passos importantes a seguir. Um bom manuseamento de materiais integrador siga estes passos para garantir que o projeto for bem sucedido, e que o cliente está satisfeito. Rear o artigo completo

Taking Ownership of Your New Automation System

Written By: Sheila Dooley
December 07, 2016
excerpt-imageA customer who is ready and willing to take ownership of their new automation system is more likely to be successful Continue Reading: Taking Ownership of Your New Automation System

20 Awesome Gifts to Get an Engineer for 2016

Written By: Chelsi
November 29, 2016
tesla III gift Take a look at our annual holiday list, carefully crafted by our engineers for engineers to enjoy this holiday season. Whether the engineer on your list wants something simple or is crossing his or her fingers for a Tesla, we have the right list to make your holiday season magical. Continue Reading: 20 Awesome Gifts To Get An Engineer

I am Thankful for….Same Day Shipping!

Written By: Sarah Fronczak
November 22, 2016
Online shoppingAs Thanksgiving approaches, I would like to admit that I am very thankful for same day shipping. Yes, of course this comes behind my family, friends, home, etc. However as part of a two-working-parent household with two young boys, this convenience is a lifesaver. Continue Reading: I am Thankful for….Same Day Shipping!

5 Pieces to the Installation Puzzle

Written By: Tim Shrebtienko
November 15, 2016
installation-time-laps-smallIf not properly planned, the installation of a material handling system can quickly become delayed and over budget, resulting in a poor installation that costs both the customer and the installation team valuable time and money. To avoid this situation, below are five pieces of advice to ensure a successful material handling system installation. Read: 5 Pieces to the Installation Puzzle

Meet Ron Smith, Sr. Field Application Engineer for Bastian Solutions Kentucky

Written By: Stefanie Hardy
November 10, 2016
Ron Smith 2015 FAE of the Year Beginning an ongoing series, meet Ron Smith, a senior field application engineer of 21 years at Bastian Solutions based out of the Lexington, Kentucky, office. Read: Meet Ron Smith, Sr. Field Application Engineer for Lexington, Kentucky

Your First ZiPline Conveyor and the Basics of Owning It

Written By: Nate Richter
November 08, 2016
ziplineYou are now the proud owner of a ZiPline conveyor, and maybe you are starting to wonder what exactly the next step is. Possibly this is the first conveyor you have ever purchased to which I will be the first to say congratulations on taking the efficiency of your operations seriously and making a bold step to transition to an automated facility. This is likely a little scary, a little exciting, and a little costly compared to previous modes of operation, but don’t worry, you’re in good hands. Read: Your First ZiPline Conveyor and the Basics of Owning It

Is the World ready for the New Frontier of Robotic End of Arm Tooling?

Written By: Maxx Wright
November 01, 2016
Flexible end of arm toolWith recent innovations in technology, Robotic End of Arm Tooling concepts are rapidly becoming a reality in today's manufacturing environment. These innovations are helping manufacturers increase productivity and efficiency in their operations. Read: The New Frontier of Robotic End of Arm Tooling

Bringing an Independent Systems Integrator to the European Market

October 25, 2016
Independent Systems Integrator in Europe With a large population that possesses a more-than-comfortable purchasing power, Europe creates a space where goods must move a lot, which makes automated solutions in both production and distribution a necessity. Read: Bringing an Independent Systems Integrator to the European Market

3 Considerations to Prep Your Order Fulfillment for Black Friday

Written By: Will Tritle
October 17, 2016
will_225x150 In order to be best prepared for seasonal peaks such as Black Friday and its potential 10:1 volume spike, distribution leadership must begin looking at how their warehouses are set up. Read: Prepping Your DC for Black Friday

Taking Your Warehouse to Another Level (Literally!) with Elevated Platforms

Written By: Alphonso Le
October 13, 2016
MezzanineIf you've maximized the floor space of your current facility, you might be thinking of making an expensive move. But another option to consider is using the full volume of your facility and investing in your vertical space with elevated platforms. Read: Taking Your Warehouse to Another Level

What if Selecting your Material Handling Integrator was like Electing your Next President

Written By: Reed Langton
October 11, 2016
electiongraphic225x150Like a presidential election, selecting an automation partner is based on understanding what the candidate is trying to accomplish, their experience, and their trustworthiness. Thankfully, material handling integrators do not have to be elected, but just for fun, we explored what it would be like if they were. Read: Electing a Material Handling Integrator

Tecnologia Avançada de Separação de Pedidos traz Melhorias para Operadores de E-Commerce

Written By: Mauricio Ferreira
October 07, 2016
Autostore Bastian SolutionsAcompanhando o grande sucesso do e-commerce é fácil imaginar como é crítico e eficiente o processo de separação de pedidos de empresas de e-commerce. Seus clientes esperam receber seus pedidos cada vez mais rápido e por outro lado o único caminho de atender as expectativas é usando sistemas automáticos ao invés de operação manual. Ler: Tecnologia Avançada traz Melhorias para Operadores de E-Commerce

WMS Implementation Strategies: Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Sunshine

Written By: Damir Kantardzic
October 05, 2016
Exacta cloudCloud-based Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) have been around for 4 to 5 years. Up to now, customers of these systems have been primarily smaller companies or startup companies that do not have the infrastructure or financial strength to implement a full-fledged, on premise, WMS. Read more about the state of cloud-based WMS

Fluid Loading and Unloading: It’s Really Cut and Dry

Written By: Will Smith
September 28, 2016
Telescopic conveyorLoading and unloading a moving truck by hand is a task that we despise in our personal lives and yet a very similar task is performed everyday across the world by thousands of businesses and tens of thousands of people. Here are three conveyor options to improve your fluid loading process. Read: Fluid Loading and Unloading: It’s Really Cut and Dry

Importância do Integrador na solução de automação para manuseio e movimentação de material

Written By: Alexandre Araujo
September 22, 2016
Solucao AutomacaoO Brasil segue se desenvolvendo na área de logística tanto em tecnologia como também em processos. Um novo e importante papel que começa a fazer diferença, é o Integrador. Ler: Importância do Integrador na solução de automação

How to Select and Optimize Cost Effective Material Handling Systems

Written By: Adam Cole
September 20, 2016
Cost effective material handling systemsIn any distribution or manufacturing operation, material must be moved from point A to point B. This movement is not free; so whether it is people, conveyors, or automated guided vehicles (AGVs) being used to transport goods, the cost to move material has a significant impact on a company’s bottom line. Read: Selecting Cost Effective Material Handling Systems

Bastian Solutions na Movimat 2016, de 20 à 22 Setembro (Expo Center Norte – SP)

Written By: Carlos Galbiati
September 14, 2016
movimat-2016-logoA Bastian Solutions irá participar da Movimat 2016, que ocorrerá no período de 20 a 22 de Setembro no Expo Center Norte em São Paulo - SP. Ler: Bastian Solutions na Movimat 2016

Top 10 Things to Know About Industrial Robots

Written By: Greg Martin
September 08, 2016
Industrial robot systemsThe need to reduce labor cost, improve ergonomics, maximize system efficiency and speed, and improve product quality has never been more vital than right now. Here are ten important aspects of industrial robotic systems you should know. Read: Top 10 Things to Know About Industrial Robots

Sorting Through Sorters: Your Guide to Sortation Conveyor

Written By: Kyle Eubanks
September 01, 2016
Sortation conveyorThe heart of most distribution centers today is sortation. If it is applied correctly, products are efficiently routed to appropriate areas of the facility. Applied incorrectly, and the consequences can be catastrophic, often times costing companies millions of dollars in wasted labor and non-value added processes. Read: Your Guide to Sortation Conveyors

Pallet Dispenser Essentials

Written By: Rob Stepanek
August 24, 2016
Pallet dispenser systemOne of the most vital parts of any palletizing system is a pallet dispenser. Pallet dispensers automate the infeed of an empty pallet at regular intervals into the system. This automatic infeed increases the overall efficiency of the system by leaving operators available to tend to different parts of the same line, or even a different line altogether. Read: Pallet Dispenser Essentials

Be the Box:  Using Visualization to Create a Better Material Handling System Design

Written By: Ron Smith
August 19, 2016
Material handling systemWhen creating your material handling system design, visualizing your product's path and any potential bottlenecks ensures an efficient design that will be successful now and in the future. Read: Visualization for Better Material Handling System Design

Leaning on Smart Manufacturing

Written By: Maxx Wright
August 16, 2016
Robotic pickingIn the modern world of industrial robots and manufacturing, there are many new and innovative ideals being proposed as guidelines to streamline the mechanisms cranking out the incredible magnitude of products populating our world today. For instance, the Lean Manufacturing movement. Read: Leaning on Smart Manufacturing

Dress Up Your Pallet Rack With Accessories

Written By: Dave Knight
August 12, 2016
Pallet rack accessoriesTo take full advantage of your pallet rack investment, you should also consider some common accessories to ensure the safety and longevity of its use. These accessories can include wire decking, row spacers, and column protectors to name a few. Read: Dress Up Your Pallet Rack With Accessories

What Does a Material Handling Systems Integrator Do and How Can It Benefit My Business?

Written By: Sky Hernandez
August 10, 2016
Bastian Solutions as systems integratorIf you're wondering why you've been directed to a material handling systems integrator by an OEM or if you stumbled across a website in an attempt to learn more, then here's some information on the benefits of a systems integrator and what you should expect. Read: Benefits of a Material Handling Systems Integrator

5 Tips on Project Requirements Definition

Written By: Nancy Hauer
August 04, 2016
Project requirementsIt would be nice if you could download the ideas for your next project to someone else, but today you have to define project requirements. That term is used often and everyone has a different idea of what constitutes a “requirement”. Read: 5 Tips on Project Requirements Definition

A Guide to Dock Boards and Dock Plates

Written By: Greg Ward
July 26, 2016
dock board heightsAny facility you go into that requires material handling equipment, will most likely have one, if not more, dock doors. Dock doors are the life line to get your customers product in and out of the facility. So, how do you handle the transition from the carrier (via truck) to getting the product into the building and back out? Read: Guide to Dock Boards and Plates

Flushing Out Plastic Chain Conveyor

Written By: Bastian Solutions
July 22, 2016
Plastic conveyor system renderingAs I am watching a product demonstration on plastic chain conveyor, the gentleman next to me turns towards me and states, “I need this conveyor in my house to deliver toilet paper for when I run out. Now that I look back upon it, he was on to something. Read: Flushing Out Plastic Chain Conveyor

Spare Parts and Why You Need Them

Written By: Joe Campbell
July 20, 2016
Spare parts for conveyorWhether you require conveyor system spare parts, robotic spare parts, or other spare parts inventory, having those critical items on hand is key to keeping your material handling system at maximum uptime. Read: Spare Parts and Why You Need Them

Pallet Rack Systems: Structural vs. Roll Form Pallet Racking

Written By: Jeremy Mink
July 13, 2016
Pallet rackingChoosing the correct type and style of pallet rack system is critical in ensuring your warehouse space is efficiently utilized on the first day of use and for years to come. Whether selective, drive-in, pallet flow or some other type of rack is best suited for your application, determining whether to use roll form or structural components is a decision that should not be overlooked. Read: Structural vs. Roll Form Pallet Racking

How to Choose and Work with a Robotics Integrator

Written By: Greg Martin
July 07, 2016
Industrial robot systemChoosing the proper integrator to partner with to accomplish an organization’s strategic goals for robotic automation is not a trivial task. Companies have several avenues that they explore when it comes to gathering information, soliciting bids, evaluating, and selecting an integration partner. Read: How to Choose a Robotics Integrator

Making Sense of "All the Things"

Written By: Lauren Noyes
July 05, 2016
Exacta IoERF scanning devices, conveyor photo eyes, and warehouse management software are a few of the elements that contribute to the warehouse Internet of Things. Take the concept a step further by mining data from the operation to feed business intelligence software and you have the Internet of Everything. Read: Making Sense of "All the Things"

5 Reasons to Utilize Conveyors Over Carts for Material Transport

Written By: Tim Brown
June 24, 2016
Conveyor for product transportThe challenge of how to best move materials efficiently though the facility is something that keeps many operation managers scratching their heads. Generally, as product volume dictates, carts are brought into the equation and then non-powered trucks or conveyor. But when is it right to invest in conveyor for your material transport? Read: 5 Reasons to Utilize Conveyors Over Carts for Material Transport

Organize Your Warehouse with the Right Industrial Containers

Written By: Sarah Fronczak
June 22, 2016
Hanging containersFor all of us in the northern hemisphere, it’s officially summer time, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late for a little spring cleaning. If your facility could benefit from improved storage and organization, there is a wide variety of industrial containers from which you can choose based on your storage needs. Read: Organize Your Warehouse with the Right Industrial Containers

Accumulation Conveyor 101: Understanding Minimum and Zero Pressure

Written By: Joe Campbell
June 16, 2016
ZiPline accumulation conveyorWhen designing your conveyor system, you will most likely find yourself in need of some sort of accumulation conveyor. Whether that accumulation is belted or roller, minimum or zero pressure, or fixed zone or dynamic, Bastian Solutions is here to help. Read: Accumulation Conveyor 101

5 Easy Steps to Choosing a Conveyor

Written By: Bastian Solutions
June 10, 2016
Conveyor infographicSelecting the right conveyor for your operation can be difficult. There are many brands and types to consider based on your application, goals, and environment. Although our team is always available to help you in the conveyor selection process, here are 5 steps to get you started. Read: 5 Easy Steps to Choosing a Conveyor

It is Not Bad to Be Wrong: Learning is a Journey

Written By: Colin Shipley
June 08, 2016
Learning from mistakesEven though I have been in the industry for nearly six years, I still see myself as a fresh out of college engineer. During those six years, I have had many memorable learning experiences where I have translated classroom knowledge into real-world applications. Without a doubt, my biggest and most important learning experiences have come when I or my team made a mistake. Read: It is Not Bad to Be Wrong: Learning is a Journey

How to Specify Your Conveyor Safety Netting

Written By: Austin Trusty
June 01, 2016
Safety netting for conveyorOverhead conveyor is a common and useful component of many material handling system designs. It saves valuable floor space and can provide a safer working environment for employees as long the proper safety features are included. One key safety component of overhead conveyor is safety netting. Read: How to Specify Conveyor Safety Netting

Put Walls: The Low Investment Solution for E-Commerce Order Fulfillment

Written By: Brian Reinhart
May 24, 2016
Put wall by Bastian SolutionsE-Commerce Sales around the globe have eclipsed previous records continuously for the past ten years, and it’s easy to see why. Consumers can purchase everything from household commodities to a lock of Justin Beiber's hair and all from the comfort of their home. Read: Put Walls for E-Commerce Fulfillment

9 Things to Consider Before Buying a Carton Flow Rack System

Written By: Evan Daily
May 20, 2016
Carton flow rack pickingCarton flow rack can be a valuable tool that allows users to save space and increase efficiency in order fulfillment operations. The key is selecting the right type of carton flow rack for your facility. There are several options to choose from, and there are several factors that must be considered. Read: Things to Consider Before Purchase Carton Flow Rack

Improve Warehouse Safety During National Safety Month

Written By: Chelsi
May 16, 2016
National Safety Month logoEmployee safety is important in any field of work, but for manufacturing, distribution, and warehouse workers, it's something that must be considered every day. From poor ergonomics to high-tech machinery, there are a lot of situations our workers encounter each day that could potentially lead to injury. Read: Improve Your Warehouse Workers' Safety During National Safety Month

The Reality of “One-Size-Fits-All” Supply Chain Software

May 11, 2016
Exacta software flexibilityMany supply chain software companies want to sell an entire suite of products to their customers, but oftentimes, only a few of the products fit a customer’s needs. When a “one-size-fits-all” solution doesn’t work, that’s when software modules come into play. Read: The Reality of “One-Size-Fits-All” Supply Chain Software

Why ResinDek® is a Great Cost Saving Alternative to Concrete Mezzanine Floors

Written By: Greg Conner
May 06, 2016
MezzanineConventional wisdom has always suggested that concrete floors are superior construction when it comes to mezzanine floors. A popular choice for new construction by many general contractors, concrete is a proven flooring material offering both durability and longevity. Concrete construction, however, comes at a cost, a very high cost. Read: ResinDek vs. Concrete Floors

Voice Guided Technology: A Proven Solution for your DC and WMS

Written By: Spencer Hill
May 03, 2016
Voice pickingVoice technology is evolving all around us, and its use in the warehouse is no different. Even with the onslaught of advanced automation, voice-guided picking is an effective and popular order fulfillment solution. Read: Voice Guided Technology: A Proven Solution

Anatomy of a Pneumatic Lift

Written By: Robert Humphry
April 28, 2016
Pneumatic lift render blow outWithin a complex material handling system, product may need to be transferred between elevations. The most commonly used piece of equipment for this elevation transfer is an elevator lift. For light duty applications such as totes and boxes, a pneumatic lift elevator is a very economical solution. Read: Anatomy of a Pneumatic Lift

Difficult to Convey: Documents and Stacks of Paper

Written By: Nate Richter
April 26, 2016
Conveying loose paperThe material handling industry is wrought with products that are simply a bear to move. For some products there are plenty of “okay” options, but an optimal one is seemingly nonexistent. So do you just call it quits, close the doors, and never sell another of your difficult to convey products? Of course not. Read: Difficult to Convey: Handling Documents and Stacks of Paper

Where Should My New Distribution Center Be Located?

Written By: Jose Bejarano
April 22, 2016
Supply chain networksWhether you are looking to build your first Distribution Center (D.C.) or your fifth, the location of the D.C. is critical for the success of your operations. There are many factors that can affect the decision of where the facility should be, including: real estate cost, transportation cost, labor cost, access to quality labor, taxes, transportation routes, service level guarantees and many others. Read: Selecting Your Distribution Center Location

Buying Versus Leasing Industrial Equipment

Written By: Jason Nowak
April 20, 2016
industrial equipment - Bastian SolutionsWhen it comes to procuring industrial equipment, we have to look at what option is best for our companies. Many businesses often seek to save as much money as possible when it comes to acquiring this type of equipment. Some businesses have available capital to invest in purchasing new equipment, while others prefer leasing. Read: Buying vs. Leasing Industrial Equipment

Next Generation Goods-to-Person System Extends Beyond the Storage Buffer

Written By: Matt Kuper
March 28, 2016
Servus ARCGoods to person automation is an ever growing field that represents a revolution in the material handling industry – eliminating the costly and time-intensive process of having operators travel throughout the warehouse to pick. There are many options out there, but all of these technologies are representing only half of the goods-to-person concept. Read: Next Generation Goods-to-Person System

New ZiPline Product: Two-Lane Flighted Conveyor Merge

Written By: Nate Richter
March 23, 2016
Flighted merge conveyorOur ZiPline brand flighted conveyor merge may sound like some sort of fancy, new piece of technology that uses cutting-edge controls to parse products at lightning speed through the air. Well, it’s actually much simpler than that. In fact, it kind of removes the need for controls. And fancy technology. It’s really quite simple. Read: Two-Lane Flighted Conveyor Merge

The Southeast U.S. Provides Big Opportunity for Business

Written By: Stefanie Hardy
March 18, 2016
Atlanta SkylineWith MODEX 2016 right around the corner, I took some time to speak with our Atlanta regional manager, Brian Ulanch, on the growing opportunities and benefits of doing business in Atlanta and the importance of hosting one of our industry's biggest shows. Read: The Southeast U.S. Provides Big Opportunity for Business

Which Goods-to-Person Technology is Right for Your Operation?

Written By: Tim Duket
March 08, 2016
Servus SystemWith increasingly high customer expectations in the world of order fulfillment, many distribution and warehouse managers are searching for ways to improve throughput, accuracy, and efficiency. To help, we need look no further than the best-in-class Goods-to-Person (GTP) technologies that are changing the face of order fulfillment. Read: Which Goods-to-Person Technology is Right for Your Operation?

5 Ergonomic Products Employees Will Love

Written By: Sarah Fronczak
February 24, 2016
Pallet jack for ergonomic liftingAs we wrap up the month of love and get even farther into 2016, maybe you’re asking yourself, “What can I do for my employees to make 2016 even better for them?” One place to start is ergonomics. Read: 5 Ergonomic Products Employees Will Love

Your Path to an Automated Warehouse: 3 Things to Know

Written By: Mohammad Shaban
February 23, 2016
Warehouse AutomationPeace of mind, organization, simplicity. These are things we all strive for in life, and of course within the four walls of a warehouse or distribution center. To achieve these goals in your operation, here are 3 steps for implementing proven intelligent technology into your current process. Read: 3 Steps to an Automated Warehouse

New Singulator Handles 60-Pound Tires

Written By: Robert Humphry
February 18, 2016
Tire singulatorThere are various types of singulators, and they can handle everything from boxes to specialty products, or in this case, circular/cylindrical items. One of our newest projects coming off the production floor is a singulator designed to efficiently handle heavy tires during the manufacturing process. Read: New Singulator Handles 60-Pound Tires
Posted in Manufacturing

Machine Tending Robots: The Importance of Part Positioning

Written By: Steven Hogg
February 10, 2016
Part delivery puckOne of the key aspects of a robotic machine tending system is part positioning. It is critical during the design process to understand the interface between the part, machine center, and robot. Read: Machine-Tending Robots: The Importance of Part Positioning

Keg Handling 101: 3 Options for Easy Moving

Written By: Greg Conner
February 05, 2016
Kegs in warehouseOne of the most challenging and often times dangerous items to handle and store are beer and wine kegs. Not only are they awkward and heavy, but their round, oblong shape leads to very inefficient storage. Here are 3 helpful solutions for your keg handling needs. Read: Keg Handling 101: 3 Options for Easy Moving

Competitive DC Growth Nationally Drives Need for Space Efficiency

Written By: Thomas Cutler
January 26, 2016
warehouse dockThe Journal of Commerce reported that big-box distribution facilities of 500,000 to more than 1 million square feet are leading construction activity. These large-scale, modern warehouses give top retailers and distributors the economies of scale of operating under one roof, whether serving as national distribution centers or regional distribution facilities. Read: DC Growth Drives Need for Space Efficiency

Examining the State of Logistics Report

Written By: Bastian Solutions
January 14, 2016
Logistics trendsEvery year the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals produces a “State of Logistics Report”. The 26th annual report, released last June, analyzed U.S. logistics in 2014 and gave a prediction for what 2015 would have in store. Here's a look at some of the key stats and tips on how logistics companies can respond. Read: Examining the State of Logistics Report

What’s the Impact of Cyber Monday Beating Black Friday?

Written By: Thomas Cutler
January 05, 2016
2015 Cyber Monday BoomsFor the very first time in American consumer shopping history, Cyber Monday generated more revenue than Black Friday. In total, US e-commerce exceeded $400B in 2015, up 25% YOY (year over year). Soon the US Commerce Department will announce that fourth quarter sales accounted for nearly 40% of online sales for the year. Read: The Impact of Cyber Monday Beating Black Friday
Posted in Industry News

15 Popular Posts from 2015: Tech and Cost-Savings Top the List

Written By: Stefanie Hardy
December 30, 2015
Popular postsIn 2015, manufacturers and distributors were faced with growing consumer demands—faster delivery, at a lower cost, with more order customization—a tough achievement for companies while still maintaining strong revenues. With these challenges, it’s no surprise that out most popular blog posts often featured discussions on new material handling technology trends and operational cost savings through labor, ergonomics, and space utilization. Read: Our Top 15 Posts of 2015

How High Can I Build My Pallet Flow Rack?

Written By: Bastian Solutions
December 28, 2015
Pallet flow rack heightWhile there is no one-size-fits-all answer for how high pallet flow rack can go, let’s look at the major variables that are taken into consideration when designing a racking system for pallet flow. Read: How High Can I Build My Pallet Flow Rack?

Making My Christmas Lights Show Bigger and Brighter

Written By: Tim Maynard
December 18, 2015
Watch Tim's light showEach year I enjoy creating a large light show during the Christmas season, and every year, I also do what I can to make it bigger and better. The past couple of seasons, I’ve made some critical upgrades with help from friends. Read: Making My Christmas Lights Show Bigger and Brighter

#RelationshipGoals in the Material Handling Industry

Written By: Irving Suero
December 16, 2015
Goals for customer relationshipsTime is important, and your time is valuable to you and me, so I’ll try and be quick. After reading, you should be able to determine your type of integration partner more efficiently, and have smoother starts to your projects, large or small. Read: Relationship Goals in Material Handling

Request for Quote

Written By: Chelsi
December 14, 2015
Tags: N/A
Posted in General Blogs

Adapting Drones for Modern Material Handling

Written By: Kevin Capodice
December 04, 2015
Drones handling goodsThe consumer U.A.V. industry is one of today’s fastest growing markets. Modern technology is enabling one of the greatest tech adaptions to society. With every new technology, there is a certain level of acceptance. As that acceptance grows, oftentimes the new tech presents unanticipated applications, and to me, that is the most exciting part. Read: Adapting Drones for Modern Material Handling

5 Ways to Supercharge Your Barcode Scanning System with Camera Vision

Written By: Bastian Solutions
November 30, 2015
Label scannersDoes your current single line barcode scanner underperform, resulting in excessive no-reads or read conflicts? Today’s barcode reading systems need to reach read rates of 99.9% to 100%. If your system is not reaching this percentage, it’s time to re-evaluate your technology. Read: Supercharge Your Barcode Scanning with Camera Vision

Get the MOST from Your Workforce

Written By: Nathan Busch
November 19, 2015
MOST Time StudiesDo you or any of your clients have processes where employees’ expected rates are unknown, based on averages, or quite frankly conjectured from guessing? Rates may be unknown or need re-evaluation because of new or different layouts, or process changes. If any of these situations are affecting your employee production rates, then you should consider MOST, Maynard Operation Sequence Technique. Read: Get the MOST from Your Workforce

Ergonomic Benefits of Industrial Robotics

Written By: Greg Martin
November 05, 2015
battery palletizingHundreds of thousands of people have to deal with risky work environments, dodging workplace injuries, and making it home to their families every day. There are industry shifts, however, that are seeking to reduce the need for utilizing human labor in these inherently risky operations and shifting them to safer tasks in the facility. Read: Ergonomic Benefits of Robotics

Why and How to Calculate Short-Circuit Current Rating (SCCR)

Written By: Jacob Robertson
October 28, 2015
Electrical panel componentsSCCR may sound like an acronym for a competitive racing circuit or a certain rock band from the 60/70s. However, fortunately for you, SCCR is way more interesting. It stands for Short-Circuit Current Rating, which is defined in the 2011 NEC (National Electric Code), Article 100 as: “The prospective symmetrical fault current at a nominal voltage to which an apparatus or system is able to be connected without sustaining damage exceeding defined acceptance criteria.” Read: Calculating Short-Circuit Current Rating (SCCR)

Complicated vs. Complex Automation Systems

Written By: Ahmed Arif
October 22, 2015
Automation systemsAt first glance, complicated and complex systems might sound the same, but a closer look at your business model and SKU seasonality will reveal which system will work best for you. Read: Complicated vs. Complex Automation Systems

The E-Commerce Pick Module

Written By: Matt Kuper
October 15, 2015
e-Commerce pick moduleGoods-to-person picking, the new buzzword in material handling, is a great option for operations with a high number of SKU’s and a relatively low cubic velocity of SKU’s, but in an operation that has very fast moving or large items, it can be prohibitively expensive to use this technology throughout. Sometimes it is best to use, or supplement a goods-to-person operation, with a pick module. Read: The E-Commerce Pick Module

Robotic Cell Layout Considerations

Written By: Greg Martin
October 09, 2015
Robot cell layout designIn a robotic application, many times the goals are safety, labor-cost, throughput, or ergonomics. Once the system type is defined, technical requirements are stated, and the goals are established, one of the most crucial ingredients to a successful project is an efficient system layout. Read: Robotic Cell Layout Considerations

How to Choose the Best Support for Your Selective Pallet Racking

Written By: Jeremy Mink
October 07, 2015
Selective pallet racking supportsSelective pallet racking has been a popular and effective storage method in warehouses, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers for decades due in large part to its ease of design and implementation. As easy as it may be to install some frames and beams and call it a day, it’s also important to assess the need for pallet supports or wire decks and to decide which is best for your application. Read: How to Choose the Best Support for Your Selective Pallet Racking

3 Industrial Lift Table Uses Safety Officers Would Hate

Written By: Chelsi
September 25, 2015
Industrial lift table don'tsDiscussing the benefits of an industrial lift table can be a no-brainer for professionals who use them regularly. From the ergonomic benefits to the efficiency in moving products of any size, lift tables provide a great advantage for the difficulties of product distribution. But there are also a few ways you shouldn't use them... Read: Industrial Lift Table Uses Safety Officers Would Hate

Project Spotlight: New Robotic Bag Palletizing EoAT

Written By: Kayla Wohldmann
September 23, 2015
Robotic bag palletizing EoATBastian Robotics recently redesigned and upgraded our robotic bag palletizing End of Arm Tool (EoAT) to accommodate a wider range of products with the same base tool. Similar to past renditions, this tool still has a clamshell design and interfaces with our custom bag pick conveyor. Read: New Robotic Bag Palletizing EoAT

Industrial Robotics in the Automotive Industry

Written By: Jason Nowak
September 17, 2015
Robotics in the auto industryIndustrial robots have been associated with the automotive industry ever since their inception over 50 years ago. Back in 1962, Unimation’s UNIMATE was installed in General Motors’ New Jersey plant, making it the very first industrial robot to ever be used by a major manufacturer. However, it wasn’t until about 20 years later when industrial robots truly became synonymous with the auto industry. Read: Industrial Robotics in the Automotive Industry

7 Helpful Tips for Selecting Food Grade Conveyor

Written By: Austin Trusty
September 14, 2015
Food grade conveyorConveyor systems are most critical in the food processing and manufacturing industry to reach high efficiency and profitability. The answer to which style of food grade conveyor can be a difficult decision. Conveyor technology is changing rapidly, and it’s always beneficial to study what is available in today's market before making a decision to settle on yesterday's offerings. Read: Selecting Food Grade Conveyor

The Importance of Preventative Maintenance for Your Automation Systems

Written By: Bastian Solutions
September 03, 2015
Spare parts and preventative maintenanceWe’re hearing more and more from material handling and packaging automation facilities that having spare parts on hand is a luxury they can’t afford. But what is your facility sacrificing if your production line comes to a screeching halt when a component fails? Read: Importance of Preventative Maintenance

My Favorite Pop Culture Robots

Written By: Jason Nowak
August 31, 2015
Pop-culture robotsBefore I began my career at Bastian Robotics, my main exposure to the world of robotics wasn’t through the world of industrial automation. No, I pictured robots more like the ones I saw in movies or read about in books; evil robots trying to take over the world, or heroes in epic space adventures. There have been so many iconic robots in popular culture throughout history. Here are a few of my favorites. Read: My Favorite Pop Culture Robots

6 Helpful Tips for Installing Conveyors in Freezers

Written By: Greg Conner
August 25, 2015
Conveyors in freezersIn the conveyor world, there aren’t many more challenging applications than freezer installations. The deep cold introduces many obstacles for components. In general, the colder you go, the more things you must take into consideration. Here are 6 helpful tips for ensuring a successful freezer conveyor installation. Read: 6 Helpful Tips for Installing Conveyors in Freezers

3 Steps to a Great Turnkey Material Handling System

Written By: Jonathan Syrett
August 20, 2015
Turnkey robotic material handling systemA turn-key material handling solution is the complete design, build, and installation of material handling equipment. This type of solution allows you to work with one company to ensure your project exceeds expectations from start to finish. Here's what you should expect during the three phases of your turnkey project... Read: 3 Steps to a Great Turnkey Material Handling System

Project Spotlight: Utilizing the Auxiliary Axis Servo of a Robot

Written By: Kayla Wohldmann
August 11, 2015
Robotic battery palletizingIn this month’s project highlight, we’re diving into a recent project in which we used the auxiliary axis on a robot to control the sweeper bar on a row forming conveyor. This allowed us to add an additional axis of integrated motion to the robot, giving us 7-axes of motion. Read: Using the Auxiliary Axis Servo of a Robot

4 Simple Reasons to Try Our New Online Conveyor Pricing Tool

Written By: Greg Conner
August 04, 2015
Try our new storeAs e-commerce sales continue to rise, more and more of that growth is coming from industrial products and business services. In response, Bastian Solutions decided to re-design and improve our online equipment store. Our goal was simple – to create a platform that allows purchasing agents, industrial engineers and maintenance technicians the ability to move beyond the conventional, and often times very slow, sales process. Read: 4 Reasons to Try Our Conveyor Pricing Tool and Configurator

Your Complete Guide to Robotic Case Packing Systems

Written By: Steven Hogg
July 23, 2015
Robotic Case PackagingRobot-based automation is also an excellent alternative to manual operation. In addition to increased up-time and total throughput, fewer accidents and increasingly demanding workplace ergonomics are compelling reasons to make the shift to robotics. In the packaging industry, robots generally fall into two main areas: pick and place applications and feed placement... Read: Your Complete Guide to Robotic Case Packing Systems

Improve Your Automation System Safety with These 4 Components

Written By: Matt Kohler
July 16, 2015
automation-system-safetyIn the automation world, safety is of the utmost importance. Not only do industrial robotics and other automated material handling systems perform difficult tasks that keep personnel out of unsafe and ergonomically difficult conditions, but these same automation systems must be inherently safe for personnel to work around as well. Read: Improve Automation System Safety
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Understanding Lift Table “Drifting” and “Leak Down”

Written By: Greg Conner
July 09, 2015
Industrial lift tableA majority of industrial lift table owners are probably familiar with the phenomenon commonly referred to as “drifting” or “leak down”. However, they may not know what causes this, or how it can be controlled. Here are some tips for eliminating the issue. Read: Understanding Lift Table Drifting

How to Select the Right Container for Conveying Products

Written By: Joe Campbell
July 01, 2015
containers for conveyingAre you considering the purchase of a conveyor system to transport your product in the warehouse? If so, there can be many factors to consider when deciding how to convey your material, especially when it comes to the box or container holding the material. In this article, we’ll discuss a few things to keep in mind. Read: Selecting the Right Container

The Most Important Factors of a Robot in a Machine Tending Application

Written By: Jason Nowak
June 16, 2015
Machine tending with a robotWhen deciding what machine tending robot best fits your application, it is important to look at a number of criteria and weigh the pros and cons of each to figure out which robot is the best fit. Read: Factors for a Successful Machine Tending Robot Application

3 Low Cost Pieces of Equipment Your Employees Will Thank You For

Written By: Michael Thoma
June 11, 2015
PalletPal Walkie Improves Product Picking ErgonomicsWorking in an industrial setting which involves a lot of lifting, twisting and turning can be strenuous to your employees. You may see lost time in production, or worse, workman compensation claims. How can you reduce these burdens without it hitting hard on your wallet? Here are 3 low-cost entry pieces of equipment that are sure to help. Read: 3 Low Cost Pieces of Equipment Your Employees will Thank You For

What is Hydraulic Lift Table Coasting and How Can It Be Prevented?

Written By: Greg Conner
June 08, 2015
Issues with lift table coastingIt is often required that hydraulic lift tables stop at precise elevations. However, the phenomenon commonly referred to as lift table “coasting” can allow lift table platforms to continue past the intended stopping point. In this article, we'll discuss the causes of lift table coasting, and how it can be prevented. Read: Hydraulic Lift Table Coasting and How to Prevent It

Warehouse Execution Systems: A New Label for an Established Solution

Written By: Brian Reinhart
June 03, 2015
Warehouse execution softwareIn 2009, in an attempt to appeal to a younger audience, Pizza Hut began to market itself as “The Hut.” Now, Pizza Hut themselves would admit that nothing about the company, their pizza, their restaurants or policies had changed. This was simply a way to get into the conversation of the “texting generation.” This rebranding or renaming practice is performed in every type business, and it is currently taking place in the material handling industry. Read: WES: A New Label for an Established Solution

Robotics in the Food and Beverage Industry

Written By: Jason Nowak
May 28, 2015
Robotics for food and bevAs government regulations become more stringent, retailer demands continue to increase, and competition intensifies, the need for robots has never been more imperative for success in the food and beverage industry. Read: Robotics in the Food and Beverage Industry

How Does a Hydraulic Scissor Lift Table Work?

Written By: Greg Conner
May 21, 2015
how-scissor-lifts-workBy far the most common industrial lift is the hydraulic scissor lift table. This may seem like a complicated piece of equipment, but in actuality hydraulic lift tables are very simple in design. These lift tables are comprised of five major components: the platform, base, scissor legs, hydraulic cylinder, and power source. Read: How Hydraulic Scissor Lift Tables Work

10 Tips for Setting Up a Label Print and Apply System

Written By: Matt Adams
May 19, 2015
Print and apply labelersAutomatic print and apply units can be tremendously helpful in labor reduction and product throughput if done correctly. They can also cause a lot of downtime and operator headaches if done incorrectly. The intent of this article should be to spark focus and attention to design considerations before implementation. This can be used as a guide and hopefully generate interest in systems of this nature. Read: 10 Tips for Setting Up a Print and Apply System

30 Questions to Consider When Selecting a Lift Table

Written By: Greg Conner
May 11, 2015
Lift table renderingSelecting an industrial lift table ca be overwhelming. Between sizes and options there are literally thousands of configurations to choose from. When making your selection, it’s important to consider what is being lifted, how it needs to be lifted, how the lift table should operate, and whether any safety features are required. Ask yourself the following questions to ensure you select the best lift table for your operation. Read: How to Select a Lift Table

Warehouse Storage Myth Debunked - Equal Space Strategy versus Equal Time Strategy

Written By: Lauren Noyes
May 07, 2015
Warehouse StorageAsk any warehouse manager how to stock a forward pick area, and you may get one of these two methods--allocate the same amount of space to each SKU or store an equal time supply of each SKU in the area. Here's a look at why either solution might offer the same labor costs. Read: Warehouse Storage Myth Debunked

How to Get the Most Life Out of Your Industrial Robot

Written By: Colin Shipley
April 30, 2015
Robot life spanThere are several ways an industrial robot can wear out sooner than intended. On average, most companies plan to get more than eight years of service out of a robot. However, some companies have robots that are still running after nearly 20 years. What causes some companies to get more or less use out of their robots? Read: Increasing the Life Span of an Industrial Robot

Using a Lift Table for Pallet Offloading

Written By: Austin Trusty
April 29, 2015
Pallet offloadingWith limited fork lift resources, one manufacturer installed a pallet handling system that used a lift table, floor pit, and pallet conveyor to improve cycle times and reduce traffic in a busy assembly area. Read: Using a Lift Table for Pallet Offloading

You’ve Got a Friend in the PalletPal 360™

Written By: Greg Conner
April 23, 2015
PalletPal Spring ActuatedMost of us don’t consider our material handling equipment to be among our closest friends. After all, what has a conveyor, cart or pallet jack ever done for you? However, there is one piece of equipment that you might want to consider adding to your Christmas card list – the Southworth PalletPal 360™. Read: You’ve Got a Friend in the PalletPal 360

Project Spotlight: Integrating a Transfer Robot

Written By: Steven Hogg
April 22, 2015
Transfer robotIn this month’s product highlight, we are going to focus on a very important aspect of a recent case packing project--the transfer robot. Bastian Robotics developed a robotic case packing system that required the orientation of the product to be changed 90° from the production line prior to inserting it into the case... Read: Integrating a Transfer Robot

The $1.3 Trillion Benefit of Order and System Visibility

Written By: Sheila Dooley
April 16, 2015
Exacta Portal for system visibility$1.3 trillion…Globally in 2014, that’s how much money consumers spent shopping online. Although especially busy during the holidays, e-commerce retailers are growing increasingly busy throughout the year. Shipping deadlines are tighter, and customer expectations are at an all-time high. As pressure mounts, retailers are depending on automated facilities with material handling equipment for efficient processing of large volumes of orders. But aside from the equipment, software is taking center stage for ensuring order deadlines are met. Read: The $1.3 Trillion Benefit of Order and System Visibility

ROI Factors in a Material Handling Automation Project

Written By: Danny Watson
April 08, 2015
Material handling automation systemsIntroducing automation into a business can be a large and intimidating project. A good deal of time and money are generally invested up front in order make the project successful. However, there are several benefits automation can bring about that help justify these expenses. Read more: Material Handling Automation ROI Factors

Why AutoStore by Bastian Solutions Would Be Perfect for Storing My Kids' Toys

Written By: Greg Conner
March 16, 2015
Warehouse storage solutionsWith three kids, the scariest part of the weekend usually comes sometime between the hours of 1 and 3 PM each Sunday--cleaning up all the toys in the basement. The drill is simple: Identify the toy, figure out where it belongs and then travel across the basement to put it away. There has to be a better way to store all this stuff. So, I ask myself what I would recommend to one of my clients. It would absolutely be AutoStore by Bastian Solutions and here are 5 reason why… Read: Why AutoStore Would Be Perfect for Storing Toys

Wearable Technology in the Warehouse: Picking with Vuzix Smart Glasses

Written By: Damir Kantardzic
March 10, 2015
augmented reality picking vuzixTechnology has always been a driving factor in supply chain progress and efficiency gains. The perfect example of this is the introduction of “goods-to-person” technologies over the past couple years, but as the industry is still enjoying the benefits from this technology, wandering eyes are already looking toward the next solution. One of the more promising up-and-coming technologies is wearable technology, and more specifically, smart glasses. Read: Wearable Technology for the Warehouse

The 5 Inefficiencies STEALing from Your Distribution Center

Written By: Jason Nowak
March 05, 2015
Goods-to-person systems for ecommerceThere are 5 common inefficiencies and resource wasters STEALing from distribution operations everywhere, but today’s goods-to-person technologies can turn those losses into profit in as little as 2 years. Let’s look at these five wastes and how goods-to-person systems are overcoming them. Read: Goods-to-Person Systems Improve DC Inefficiencies

Conveyor System Best Practices in the Pharmaceutical Sector

Written By: Bastian Solutions
March 03, 2015
Pharma conveyor systemsAfter comparing its warehousing operations to industry best practices, Roche Diagnostics Operations (RDO) revealed opportunities to improve processes by standardizing across all warehouses and implementing a more automated material handling system. In doing so, Roche was able to increase pack rates, reduce operating costs, and gain better visibility of carton-level details. Read: Conveyor System Best Practices in the Pharma Industry

New Goods-to-Robot Systems Take E-Fulfillment to the Next Level

Written By: Greg Martin
February 23, 2015
Robotic bin pickingIn the past decade, order fulfillment lead times have become increasingly aggressive with eCommerce sites promising as quick as 1-hour delivery of certain items. To fulfill these demands, goods-to-person systems were introduced, but taking it one step further, goods-to-robot systems offer speed, accuracy, and flexibility like never before. Read: Goods-to-Robot Systems for E-Fulfillment

Growing E-Tailer Increases Throughput 200 Percent with Order Fulfillment Automation

Written By: Bastian Solutions
February 11, 2015
Monoprice material handling systemTo keep up with strong consumer demand, Monoprice, Inc. needed an order fulfillment automation system to help increase daily throughput from roughly 300 orders per hour up to 1,000 orders per hour. Read: E-Tailer Increases Throughput 200 Percent

Robotic End of Arm Tools: Get a Grip on Your Product (part II)

Written By: Rob Stepanek
February 03, 2015
Robotic EoATA colleague wrote earlier about the ways of getting a grip on a product. He emphasized the importance of the robotic end of arm tool (EoAT) to the system even though it may seem like a small component. He also delved into the many ways the robotic EoAT can be used. I wanted to use this article to expand on his ideas and describe how this gripping action is accomplished. Read: Get a Grip on Your Product (part II)

Engineering Meets Fashion Design

Written By: Stefanie Hardy
January 26, 2015
Fashion for women engineersEngineering Meets Fashion Design. It's not everyday you see the words engineering and fashion used together in the same sentence; they seem to be about as opposite as you can get. Yet, surprisingly, these two seemingly opposite careers have several similarities. Abigail Messmer, a Field Service Technician at Bastian Robotics, has a passion for both of these disciplines and has found a way to incorporate them into her life and career. Read: Engineering Meets Fashion Design

Making Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification a Standard

Written By: Sam Morris
January 09, 2015
PMP CertificationOne of the most important considerations when selecting an integrator to supply a material handling system should be the quality and engagement of the integrator’s project management. This is why in 2015, all robotics project managers will need to be PMP certified... Read: Making PMP Certification a Standard

Cross-Training: The Key to Manufacturing Success

Written By: Ben Viorel
January 07, 2015
Benefits of employee cross-trainingWhen it comes to manufacturing, schedules are constantly being shifted and moved around in order to accommodate projects in the most efficient way possible. In order to improve our productivity, we had to go against the traditional methods and adapt a dynamic cross-training method. Here are some tips to get your team started as well. Read: Cross-Training for Manufacturing Success

Robot Spider Shows Off Impressive Tech

Written By: Geoff Schreiber
December 23, 2014
Robot toyI came across this interesting little robot on YouTube through one of my favorite shows, Mythbusters. One of the stars, Adam Savage, who loves all sorts or crazy inventions and toys found this T8X Spider Bot from Robugtix, to be irresistible. Read: Robot Spider Shows Off Impressive Tech

Giving Thanks for Great Customers

Written By: Greg Martin
December 19, 2014
Thank youIt’s always good, especially around the holiday season, to give thanks for all our good fortunes and blessings. In a professional setting, I especially like to give thanks to those who have made my job more fulfilling, challenging, and successful. At the forefront of those whom I am always most grateful for are my customers. Read: Giving Thanks for Great Customers

Unforeseen Benefits of Adding Robot Labor to the Workplace

Written By: Geoff Schreiber
December 17, 2014
Robot laborRobotic automation is becoming more commonplace in the manufacturing realm, with general industry and automotive parts suppliers leading the way. Modernizing factories throughout the Americas, the expected benefits have contributed to an increased number of robot installations, but the unexpected benefits have rapidly accelerated the pace of those installs. Read: The Unforeseen Benefits of Robot Labor

Industrial Robots by the Numbers

Written By: Jason Nowak
December 08, 2014
Robot InfographicNumbers are an extremely powerful tool. They can help us calculate, quantify, and analyze just about anything. But what makes them so important? In the ever changing world of industrial robotics, what can we learn from them? As it turns out, we can learn quite a bit. Read: Industrial Robots by the Numbers

What’s Old is New Again: The Many Uses for Used Robots

Written By: Mark Colzani
November 24, 2014
Replacing Used RobotsThe modern-day industrial robot is one of the most robust technologies and will generally last for years, even decades. However, as with all good things, they eventually move toward the end of their useful life. When this occurs, a robot-owner is presented with a few options... Read: The Many Uses for Used Robots

Tips for Selecting the Right Tire Handling Equipment

Written By: Roger Wilke
November 19, 2014
Tire handling equipmentThe tire manufacturing industry continues to push for automation of tire handling, resulting in reduced labor costs and improved quality. The automation of this process includes a variety of conveyors and material handling situations. We will highlight several of these key processes and the equipment used to properly convey and store tires... Read: Tips for Selecting Tire Handling Equipment

4 Ways Industrial Robots Provide Flexible Packaging Automation

Written By: Matt Kohler
November 17, 2014
Packaging automation with robotsThe current manufacturing landscape is subject to rapid changes in demand, presenting the need for highly efficient, customized technologies. This is why flexible automation is critical for companies who seek to remain competitive and grow their business. With shorter production runs between SKU and packaging material changes, flexibility is a key feature in a manufacturing environment, especially when it comes to packaging automation. This is why industrial robotic systems are an excellent option. Read: 4 Ways Robots Help with Packaging Automation

Project Management: Who is to Blame?

Written By: Dave Hoyle
November 12, 2014
9 Principles of project managmentI came across an article about the GT Advanced Technologies bankruptcy and thought, who is actually at fault? GTAT’s position is that Apple put them out of business with burdensome demands whereas Apple’s position with GTAT remains unclear. Last year, Apple offered $578 million to assist them with setting up their facility. As a project manager, I suggest that both parties are to blame. Read: 9 Principles of Project Management

Breaking News: Rosie the Robot is Real

Written By: Clay Britton
November 06, 2014
Safer industrial robotsRemember when Rosie the Robot, the famous maid from The Jetsons, was a fantasy character every human wished they had available in their own home? Why should we have to do regular household chores when a robot could do them for us? Then we could focus our efforts on more important things, like watching a baseball game or going out of town on a family vacation. Well folks, I have news for you: Those robots are REAL! Read: Rosie the Robot is Real

The Top 3 Specifications for Designing Effective Sortation Systems

Written By: Joe Campbell
October 29, 2014
Sortation systemsWhether a project is a multi-million dollar distribution center or a small shipping system, one thing that can make or break it is how efficiently the system can sort the product. To avoid issues and ensure a successful sortation system, one of the most important factors is thoroughly discussing our customers’ specifications prior to the design. Read: 3 Specs for Designing Sortation Systems

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Benefits of 3D renderings and simulations

Written By: Michael Yochum
October 24, 2014
3D RenderingsA key component in our sales process is the creation of 3-D renderings and simulations. With advanced modeling and software tools, Bastian Robotics can bring 2-D drawings to life with highly accurate renderings and illustrations that can alleviate many system concerns... Read: 3D Rendering Benefits

What’s Your Exit Strategy? 5 Methods for Variable Height Access

Written By: Robert Humphry
October 22, 2014
Pivoting stairs for variable height accessSafely and efficiently accessing and exiting variable height platforms is important for operators who spend their days going between levels. Here are 5 of the most popular methods for variable height access and the pros and cons of each. Read: 5 methods for variable height access

Machine Tending: Is It Truly a Robot’s Paradise?

Written By: Jason Nowak
October 16, 2014
Robot machine tendingMachine tending can be some of the most grueling and hazardous work conditions for an industrial operator, so if you need to increase throughput, it often means a reduction in quality. With the help of industrial robots you can maximize both of these requirements while providing your operators with a safer working environment. Read: Machine Tending Robot Requirements

Introduction to Industrial Robots: What You Need to Know

Written By: Colin Shipley
October 10, 2014
industrial-robot-armIf you work with robots every day like I do, it feels almost second nature when selecting the right one for any given application. There are plenty of people, though, who when they hear robot think of Terminator or I-Robot. Industrial robots are a little different than the aforementioned Hollywood versions, so if you are interested in using robots to improve your business, it helps to understand your options. Read: Intro to Industrial Robots

Prep for the Holidays with These Material Handling Maintenance Tips

Written By: Stefanie Hardy
September 24, 2014
Maintenance TipsThe holiday season is fast approaching: Yesterday was the first day of fall, football is finally back, and Kmart has already released its first Christmas commercial (no matter how hard they deny it). With the holiday rush around the corner, it’s important to inspect each area of your material handling system to ensure it's running at peak performance. Read: Material Handling Maintenance Tips

The Top 3 PC-Based Software Features for Industrial Controls Programming

Written By: Kevin Alexander
September 18, 2014
ustrial Controls ProgrammingWhen programming controllers for an industrial automation project, I base my platform (PLC, PAC, or PC) on a variety of project details, one of which is the software that drives the platform. Here is a review of the 3 top features I look for on the software side of a platform decision... Read: Top 3 Software Features

You Need it When?! The Challenges of Same-Day Delivery

Written By: Blake Bearden
September 11, 2014
Omni-channel Same-day fulfillment and delivery is a growing trend and one that is being explored by big name retailers for an additional competitive edge. With continuing growth in e-commerce sales and mobile device usage, comapnies will need to master the art of fulfillment in minutes to meet same-day delivery requests. Read: Challenges of Same-Day Delivery

Industrial Robot Proof of Concept: Verify Functionality and Avoid Risk

Written By: Kayla Wohldmann
September 04, 2014
Industrial robot proof of conceptDue to the complexity of certain industrial robot projects, a Proof of Concept (PoC) is sometimes required to verify functionality and key components of a design prior to commencing a full project. Here are the benefits and specifics of arranging a Proof of Concept... Read: Benefits of Robotic Proof of Concepts

What is an Engineer’s Favorite Food?

Written By: Mark Colzani
August 29, 2014
Engineers like barbecueWith Labor Day weekend upon us, I asked our robotics team about their favorite food. From the results, it seems they are very carnivorous! See the full survey and enjoy a great grilling recipe from one of our engineers. Read: Engineers' Favorite Foods

4 Signs a Small- to Mid-Sized Company Needs Order Fulfillment Automation

Written By: Stefanie Hardy
August 25, 2014
Perfect Pick system at BHFOYou don’t need a giant distribution center rivaling Amazon or Wal-Mart to benefit from automation. These days, small and medium retailers are competing with the big boys by investing in scalable technologies. Here are 4 signs you're ready for automation. Read: 4 Signs You're Ready for Automation

How to Create a Better Warehouse Layout

Written By: Marvin Logan
August 20, 2014
Better warehouse layoutsIt is important that a warehouse has enough space to operate efficiently. However, it may be even more important that the space is laid out in a way that optimizes the warehouse’s abilities. Here is a 4-step process used by our consulting team to create the best facility layout. Read: Creating a Better Warehouse Layout

6 Popular Applications for the Hytrol EZLogic System

Written By: Jim Sutherin
August 14, 2014
Hytrol EZLogic ConveyorHytrol’s EZLogic® conveyor is a versatile product, capable of filling many applications. However, are you aware of everything you can program EZLogic® eyes and modules to do? If not, take a look at 6 common applications and features of Hytrol’s EZLogic® conveyor, as well as explanations for each setting. Read: 6 Hytrol EZLogic Applications

5 Communication Tips for Better Project Implementation

Written By: Damir Kantardzic
August 12, 2014
Communication tipsDuring a project implementation, it's important to speak the same "language" as your customer. Certain terms might having different meanings as you switch from an old system or software to a new one, so it's critical to ensure everyone is on the same page. Here are 5 tips to ensure good communication and a successful project implementation. Read: Communication tips for project implementation

Ready, Set, Action! Industrial Robots Go Mainstream

Written By: Jim Sutherin
August 04, 2014
Robots in EntertainmentMany people recognize that industrial robots are a big part of manufacturing and production plants, but these robots are now earning a new customer: the entertainment industry. Robots are grabbing the attention of the average customer through music, movies, and more. Read: Industrial Robots Go Mainstream

The Final Step in the DMADV Decision Making Process: Validation

Written By: Marvin Logan
July 30, 2014
Step 5: ValidationFor several weeks, we have discussed the DMADV process for decision making. The first four (4) phases (Definition, Measurement, Analysis and Design) have been completed, so now we need to consider the effectiveness of the design(s) through a validation process, our 5th and final phase. Read: Validation in the DMADV Process

How to Select the Best Wire Deck for Your Storage Rack

Written By: Michael Thoma
July 23, 2014
Wire DeckingThere are several considerations when determining the best wire deck for your next storage rack or shelving project. You have to think about your product weight and dimensions, your rack type, waterfall, etc. Here is the full list of items to consider when purchasing wire deck... Read: How to Select Wire Deck

Design: Step 4 in the DMADV Process for Supply Chain Improvement

Written By: Mike Clemens
July 16, 2014
Step 4: Facility designIn this article, we continue our review of the DMADV 5-step process for improving your supply chain. Design is step four in the process and involves leveraging the criteria, characteristics and flows developed in the “Analysis” step to look at alternative designs and technologies to create the best facility layout. Read: Design in the DMADV Process

Another Broken Pallet! Tips for Better Pallet Handling

Written By: Geoff Schreiber
July 10, 2014
Pallet handling tipsAlthough handling pallets might seem simple, there are many considerations when selecting the right equipment such as pallet type, pallet condition, and pallet load stability. Here are a few items that you should consider before selecting your pallet handling equipment... Read: Tips for Better Pallet Handling

A Review of 3 Popular Lift Tables: Pneumatic, Hydraulic and Ball Screw

Written By: Joe Campbell
July 02, 2014
Popular lift tablesThe lifting, bending and twisting that often comes with manual labor in our field, can quickly cause neck, back, and other upper body injuries. One easy solution to help with ergonomics is industrial lift tables. Here is a quick review of the 3 most popular types of lift tables... Read: 3 Popular Lift Table Options

Analyze: Step 3 in the DMADV Process to Improve Your Supply Chain

Written By: Jose Bejarano
June 30, 2014
Step 3 - AnalyzeIn previous editions of this article series the Define and Measure stages of the Five Step Decision Making Process (DMADV) to drive supply chain improvements were discussed paving the way for step 3 - Analyze. During this step, the overall performance of the system is evaluated using statistical models to analyze transactional and inventory data. Read: Analyze - Step 3 in the DMADV process

Top 5 Reasons Modular Offices Make Sense

Written By: Austin Trusty
June 25, 2014
Modular officesWhen business demands require different space solutions, modular office systems offer a cost effective and quick answer. Whether you need a portable shelter, clean room, guard shack or other office concept, here are 5 reasons modular offices make sense... Read: 5 Reasons Modular Offices Make Sense

The Future of Consumer 3-D Printing is Now

Written By: Colin Shipley
June 12, 2014
MOD-t 3-D printerLow-cost, 3-D printing is now more readily available than ever before with basic, single material printers available for starting prices in the hundreds of dollars. 3-D printing has been a great way to test new part designs in the industrial world, but with lower price points for the machines and easier access to a wide range of materials, the at-home use is expanding every day. Read: Consumer 3-D Printing

Measure: Step 2 in the DMADV Process to Improve Your Supply Chain

Written By: Marvin Logan
June 05, 2014
Step 2 - MeasureDMADV stands for: Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Validate. It is a problem-solving approach used by our consultants to help customers make the best decisions for their warehouse and ultimately their supply chain. We've reviewed step 1, but here's more information on step 2: Measure. Read: DMADV Step 2 - Measure

Sortation – 5 Reasons to Consider the Hytrol SC Pivoting Wheel Sorter

Written By: Blain Cook
May 28, 2014
Pivot wheelsMerely utter the words “pop-up wheel sorter” and instantly one is bombarded with a plethora of negative remarks. However, Hytrol Conveyor Company’s ProSort SC Pivoting Wheel Sorter challenges all of these past observations. Here are five reasons why you should consider the Hytrol ProSort SC Pivoting Wheel Sorter. Read: 5 Reasons to Consider Hytrol ProSort SC

Defining the Problem: Step 1 in the 5-Step Decision Making Process to Improve Your Supply Chain

Written By: Marvin Logan
May 22, 2014
Step 1In a previous article, we started the discussion on the 5-step decision making process, DMADV, and how it helps you make better decisions in your supply chain or any area of your business. In a series of articles, we’ll further explore and define each step so you can get the most out of this process. In today's article, step 1... Read: Step 1 - Defining the Problem

How to Prepare for a Weekend Cutover

Written By: Matt Kuper
May 15, 2014
System cutoverNow that your new material handling system is designed, it’s time to get it installed and working properly. The trick is to complete the switch from your old system to your new one with as little downtime as possible. Read: How to Prep for a Weekend Cutover

5 Methods for Reducing Product Loss in Your Warehouse

Written By: Blake Bearden
May 12, 2014
Reducing product lossThere are a few major concerns in distribution system design that need to be consistently addressed. One of the most critical cost concerns is financial waste through damaged product. In a post-recession era when companies are working to “stay lean”, managing product waste is a tangible area where capital investment can lead to great returns. Read: 5 Methods for Reducing Product Loss

How to Fix Conveyor Belt Tracking in 3 Easy Steps

Written By: Greg Conner
May 06, 2014
Conveyor belt trackingOne of the biggest pain points in the life of a maintenance technician or installer is conveyor belt tracking. In a nutshell, this is the process of aligning and then controlling a belt so that it maintains a desired path. But properly tracking a conveyor belt doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are a few helpful tips to lookout for and an easy, 3-step process to get your belt running right down the middle. Read: How to Fix Conveyor Belt Tracking

Developing Problem Solving Skills Over Lunch

Written By: Dan Williams
April 24, 2014
problem solving skillsMost of the time, lunch is an easy decision, but it provides an excellent example of how simple problems can quickly become complex. Good problem solving skills include knowing when it's OK to trust your gut. Read: Developing Problem Solving Skills Over Lunch

A Poem About "The Robot Industry" in Honor of National Robotics Week

Written By: Steven Hogg
April 11, 2014
National Robotics WeekAs a Robotics Application Engineer, I work to develop systems that are innovative and push the boundaries of my own creativity. If you are not continually pushing yourself to improve and innovate, then your skills will become static. This is the same thinking behind National Robotics Week. It is important to celebrate how far the robotics industry has come, but we also want to encourage continued education and growth in the field. Read: A Poem About "The Robot Industry"

Solutions to 5 Common Microsoft Project Frustrations

Written By: Jason Petrie
April 09, 2014
MS Project frustrationsIf you’re like most project managers, you’ve had some frustrations getting your project schedule to look the way you want in Microsoft Project Professional, but don't give up. MS Project has so many amazing features that take the guess work out of creating a project schedule. Here are solutions to 5 of the most common frustrations I hear about in MS Project Professional. Read: 5 Common MS Project Frustrations

When Meat and Material Handling Equipment Meet

Written By: Aaron Jones
April 03, 2014
Meat processing conveyorWhen in review of some of the most demanding and extreme conditions that material handling equipment (MHE) can be subjected to, the applications can be quite daunting. But despite all the smoke, fumes, dirt, grease, and grime, perhaps the most extreme applications for MHE can be found in one of the cleanest industries of all: meat and poultry processing plants. Read: When Meat and Material Handling Meet

Standing in Line for 2.5 Hours: Tips for Process Improvement

Written By: Bill Bastian II
March 27, 2014
Process Improvement Prevents Long LinesAfter standing in line for more than 2 hours at the Post Office, I realized how important studying processes and improving them can be for any organization. Here are a few tips for redesigning processes in your company. Read: Tips for Process Improvement

3 Options for Starting and Stopping an AC Motor

Written By: Ron Daggett
March 17, 2014
AC motor conveyorAC motors can be used for anything from running a conveyor to raising a gantry arm, but your best method for starting and stopping an AC motor depends on your end goal. This article will address the three means to control AC motors from lowest to highest capability and cost. Read: Starting and Stopping an AC Motor

4 Defining Qualities of a Great Project Manager

Written By: Bastian Solutions
March 11, 2014
Project manager skill: adaptabilityThe role of the project manager is of critical importance when running a large project. Their performance impacts the success of a project more than any other team member involved. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the individual appointed to the role possesses the necessary skills and abilities to run a project successfully. A talented project manager will possess the following defining qualities. Read: Qualities of a Great Project Manager

The 5-Step Decision Making Process to Improve Your Supply Chain

Written By: Marvin Logan
March 03, 2014
Warehouse Facility DesignSometimes it can be hard to make a decision. Especially when that decision will cause major changes to the status quo or cost a lot of money. So how do you know you’re making the right choice? One way is to use the proven Bastian Consulting 5-step methodology, DMADV, as your decision making process. Read: The 5-Step Decision Making Process

Why Did You Become an Engineer?

Written By: Stefanie Hardy
February 20, 2014
becoming an engineerIn honor of Engineers Week, we asked some of our team members why they choose an engineering career. The responses we received were both fun and interesting! Read them all in today's blog article. Read: Why Did You Become an Engineer?

Material Handling in a Conveyor World

Written By: Austin Trusty
February 13, 2014
Powered Roller Conveyor in a DCEven as new material handling technologies enter the market, conveyors seem to remain a critical part of almost every automation system. Here's a brief overview of conveyors and their uses as well as some considerations for choosing the right one to ensure your system performs at peak performance. Read: Material Handling in a Conveyor World

5 Reasons Designing a Distribution Center is like Shopping for a New Home

Written By: Bastian Media
February 06, 2014
DC design and planningDesigning your distribution center is just like shopping for your perfect home. When you shop for a house or are looking to build a new one, you take into account many things including planning, work, space, flow, and amenities (automation)... Read: Designing a DC is Like Buying a Home

How Supply Chain Software Keeps iHerb’s New DC Running Smoothly

Written By: Ryan Bliss
January 28, 2014
Supply Chain Software at iHerbWith a distribution center full of automation plus 35,000 SKUs to manage, iHerb’s Hebron facility relies on Exacta 6.0, a warehouse control system (WCS) and suite of supply chain software to ensure the entire system runs seamlessly and orders get to customers in the most efficient manner possible. Read: Supply Chain Software Keeps iHerb Running

How a Project Go-Live Compares to Having a New Baby

Written By: Eric Cameron
January 23, 2014
New Baby is Like a System Go-LiveMy wife and I were recently blessed with a newborn baby, and the during labor and week after, I couldn’t help but think how the process and activities of being a parent are very comparative to being a project manager... Read: Project Go-Live is Like Having a Baby

How to Design the Controls for a Holiday Lights Display and Lessons Learned

Written By: Tim Maynard
January 10, 2014
2013 Christmas Lights DisplayAnother holiday lights season has come and gone, and although it was a success, it wasn’t without a few issues. After last season, my daughter made a simple request: put lights on the roof. This, like any controls project, seemed simple, but upon further review, was anything but... Read: Controls for a Lights Display

What’s right for you? PLC or Safety PLC?

Written By: Vijay Kapila
January 08, 2014
Equipment controlsDo you need a PLC (programmable logic controller) or a safety PLC? The answer depends on the safety requirement of the system or equipment in question. There are PLCs and there are safety PLCs which have safety built into them. So what's the difference, and what should you be using for your automated system when there is a stringent safety requirement? Read: Safety PLC versus a Regular PLC

How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Written By: Doug Elliott
December 30, 2013
Tips for Getting FitWith the New Year right around the corner, many people are likely thinking about a resolution or two: maybe staying organized, a better work-life balance or one of the most popular, getting healthy! Focusing on a healthier lifestyle can be challenging anytime, especially in the super-size-it world we live in. However, staying healthy is even more challenging when you travel a lot. Read: Stay Healthy While Traveling
Posted in Education

All I Want for Christmas is an Empty Box?

Written By: Gregg Durham
December 19, 2013
Empty boxes on conveyorI was recently talking with a client who wants to improve productivity by increasing the efficiency of his facility’s picking operation. As we talked, I learned he was thinking about going to a pick to pack methodology, so I asked him how he was going to get the boxes to his operators... Read: The Problems with Conveying Empty Boxes

A Conveyor is Only as Good as the Belt That’s on It

Written By: David Mann
December 12, 2013
General Purpose Conveyor BeltChoosing the right conveyor belt for your product is one of the most important, and often over-looked, details in the selection of a conveyor. The type of material the belt is made of is vital to the success of the application, and having the wrong belt can significantly affect throughput, downtime and safety. Read: Choosing the Right Conveyor Belt

4 Advanced Picking Technologies Improving E-Fulfillment

Written By: Marvin Logan
December 04, 2013
AutoStore Goods-to-Person SystemFollowing a hugely successful Cyber Monday, it’s easy to see why an efficient and accurate order fulfillment process is critical to today’s retailers. Customers are expecting orders to arrive faster, and one way of doing that is injecting a little automation into an often manual operation. Read: Advanced picking technologies for e-fulfillment

The Supply Chain as a Hot Career Choice

Written By: Sheila Dooley
November 27, 2013
now hiringWith all the buzz about supply chains recently, it’s no surprise that career opportunities in the supply chain world are also on the rise. In fact, logistician / supply chain manager was identified as one of the top growth jobs for 2013, but more than 250,000 supply-chain jobs will go unfilled each year through 2018 for lack of qualified talent... Read: The Supply Chain as a Hot Career Choice

Better Customer Service Means Being a Partner, Not a Source

Written By: Greg Ward
November 14, 2013
handshakeBastian has positioned itself in the past 60 years in a very unique way by aligning itself with good quality manufacturers: ones that work well with us and with whom we can have a good partnership. In this same manner, we do our best to provide good customer service by being a partner with each of our customers and not just a source for material handling equipment... Read: Being a partner and not a source

5 Critical Items to Share with an Integrator When Requesting a Proposal

Written By: Rodger Katter
November 07, 2013
Request for proposal tipsWhen a client comes to us for assistance in solving facility issues, they walk the fine line between sharing too many views or not providing enough information. Both situations can be detrimental to the proposal process, so for best results here are the 5 key pieces of information to provide an integrator... Read: Critical information for proposals

Preventing Workplace Injuries and the Cost of Ignoring Ergonomics

Written By: DJ Howard
October 31, 2013
Ergonomic Work ChairThere are more than 1,000,000 non-fatal workplace injuries a year, a third of which are related to musculoskeletal disorders, injuries related to a person's work or working environment. To help prevent injuries and avoid the costs associated with those injuries, here are 4 tips for creating a more ergonomic work environment... Read: Preventing Workplace Injuries

Measure Twice, Cut Once: Getting the Most Out of Your System Data

Written By: Marvin Logan
October 23, 2013
Getting the Most out of System DataIn junior high I’d taken a "Shop" class. Here I honed my love for building, creating and also learned a valuable life lesson: measure twice and cut once. I still find this adage helpful to this day, especially when helping new clients analyze their operations and prep for the future. Read more: Measure Twice, Cut Once >>

How to Build Better Supply Chain Software: Use Automated Unit Testing

October 16, 2013
Unit TestingThere are many practices that go into creating great software, but for me, one of the most efficient and effective ways to do that is through automated unit testing. It might sound difficult, but once I explain, you will understand how this common, but often overlooked, programming feature is worth the extra time. Read: Building Better Supply Chain Software

How Do We Recruit the Next Generation of Skilled Workers?

Written By: Mark Colzani
October 02, 2013
Recruiting Skilled WorkersI regularly hear from manufacturing business leaders about how hard it is to attract and retain top skilled workers for manufacturing. I know firsthand how hard it is to bring on the next generation of craftsmen in our plant. There are many reasons for this shortage, but I think a lot of it stems back to lack of a successful career path for our young people coming out of high school... Read: Recruiting skilled workers >>

Material Handling has Been Very, Very Good to Me

Written By: Rob Stepanek
September 26, 2013
Material Handling has Been Very Good to MeIn long ago SNL skits, a memorable character named Chico Escuela (played by Garrett Morris) used the phrase, “Baseball has been very, very good to me.” I would like to use that phrase with a twist and say material handling has been very, very good to me... Read More >>

Logistics Gets a Taste of the Spotlight

Written By: Sheila Dooley
September 19, 2013
Logistics industry in the spotlightLogistics professionals are the unsung hero of the retail industry, ensuring consumers get the products they need when they need them. With all this hard work, it's nice to see the industry experience an increase in news coverage in recent months. Here are some of the top stories... Read More >>

Automated Case Picking Systems: Finding the Right Fit for Your Company

Written By: Derek Cribley
September 11, 2013
Automated Storage and Retrieval ASRS RenderingAs an increasing number of companies move toward the use of automated case picking systems, it is important that they first determine the best one for their business. Read more >>

Supply Chain and Logistics Trends 2013

Written By: Mohammad Shaban
September 04, 2013
Global Logistics MapThe world of logistics and supply chain operations has grown increasingly complex over the decades, from an industry once dominated by intense manual processes to one using more and more automation. As it continues to change, here are the top trends in global logistics for 2013. Read More >>

The Importance of 3D Models in Automation

Written By: Jason Nowak
August 29, 2013
3d model of a robotHave you ever spoken to a client about a proposal that you’ve spent days, weeks, or even months on, and they don’t understand the basics of how the system is supposed to operate? In these instances, 3D models can be one of the best presentation tools. Read more >>

7 Reasons to Choose DC Power for Your Next Accumulation Conveyor

Written By: Nate Richter
August 22, 2013
DC ConveyorThe majority of case conveyor systems include at least some amount of accumulation conveyor, and while there are many types of accumulation conveyor, DC powered accumulation conveyor is becoming more and more popular for several reasons... Continue Reading >>

Why Your Company’s Data is Important and Tips to Ensure Its Integrity

Written By: Craig Hendrix
August 16, 2013
Importance of data integrityEveryday, everyone, everywhere is bombarded by data. Nowhere is this more evident than in business because data is a vital piece of the business success equation. For this reason, it's important to ensure you have accurate and reliable data, a.k.a data integrity. Here are some tips to effectively manage your company's data integrity... Read More >>

6 Tips for Better Conveyor System Maintenance

Written By: Greg Conner
August 14, 2013
maintenance logoIn the midst of a challenging economy and shrinking capital budgets, many companies are faced with the daunting challenge of keeping aging conveyor systems up and running well past when they'd ordinarily be heading to the scrap yard. If this describes your predicament, here are a few maintenance tips to keep that conveyor system going... Continue Reading >>

Project Planning: How Much Does Conveyor Cost?

Written By: Bill Bastian II
August 08, 2013
Conveyor in Distribution CenterIf your are looking to increase efficiency in your warehouse or distribution center, you’ve probably considered installing conveyor or updating your current conveyor system. If so, the pricing you receive will vary based on your needs and the scope of the project; however, here are some general conveyor pricing guidelines to help you determine a project budget. Continue Reading >>

7 Reasons for Project Failure and How to Avoid Them

Written By: Ryan Bliss
August 06, 2013
Project management tipsProject management is filled with daily challenges, from the planned to unplanned, and often it is the failures of a project that teach us the most. Any project manager worth their salt will acknowledge that the failures and misses during their careers taught them valuable lessons while making them better at their job. Read More >>

Major Sporting Events Require Better Logistics

July 31, 2013
improve-your-logistics-operationsMajor sporting events such as the World Cup and Olympics are a critical time for players and teams, but what about the corporations supplying apparel, equipment, food and beer, televisions, and the list goes on and on. For those companies, prepping and improving logistics operations is key to beating the competition during those big events. Read More >>

Holes in the Floor: Importance of Repairing Damaged Concrete

Written By: Blake Bearden
July 24, 2013
Repaired concrete floorCracks and holes in your facility's floors can be a costly issue if not maintained on a regular basis. Thankfully, there are new industrial coatings and polymers that can easily and cost-effectively fix these problems without leading to operational downtime. Read More >>

How to Increase Productivity Within Your Warehouse Fulfillment Center

Written By: Bill Bastian II
July 22, 2013
Conveyor system planningAutomation is an effective way to increase productivity in the workplace, but it still requires a careful approach to meet your needs and fit your budget. Depending on the size and demands on your warehouse and employees, different levels of automation may provide the most reliable returns and better productivity... Continue Reading >>

Factory Acceptance Testing for Custom Automation

Written By: Nate Richter
July 12, 2013
Custom Designs Require Custom Acceptance TestingHow do you test and prove functionality of a piece of equipment that has never been designed or built before? The answer is an obvious one: custom automation requires custom acceptance testing... Continue Reading >>

The Top 5 Reasons to Hire a System Integration Team

Written By: Aaron Jones
July 11, 2013
integrated material handling systemA growing trend in the material handling automation industry is the use of system integration companies as opposed to traditional equipment-focused manufacturers for materials handling needs. Here are 5 reasons system integrators are a great option for your next material handling project... Continue Reading >>

The New Differentiator in Warehouse Software Isn't New

Written By: Damir Kantardzic
July 02, 2013
Warehouse Software IntegrationIn the past, warehouse and distribution products fell into two camps--material handling equipment and warehouse software. However, companies soon found it advantageous to offer both, allowing them to implement end-to-end warehouse systems for their customers. Read More >>

MAYDAY MAYDAY! The Art of a Well-Balanced HMI Alarm System

Written By: Jason Beisel
June 27, 2013
HMI Alarm System AlertAfter purchasing a material handling system, the most beneficial tool in your arsenal for monitoring that system is the human machine interface (HMI). But within that HMI, the alarm system window is the most important component. With effective alarms, you'll be able to more quickly solve you material handling system disruptions. Read More >>

The Importance of Qualified Maintenance Personnel and a Spare Parts Inventory

Written By: Rick Meyer
June 26, 2013
planned maintenanceA facility’s conveyor system is often the lifeblood of a business but often it is not treated as such. Unplanned downtime disrupts production and directly affects the bottom line, but downtime can often be avoided or greatly minimized with qualified and effectively trained maintenance personnel as well as an adequate on-site spare parts inventory. Continue Reading >>

4 Emerging Technologies That Will Change How We Do Business

Written By: Aaron Jones
June 17, 2013
Emerging Technologies: Augmented RealityIt is easy to look back and say how different technology was fifteen years ago. It’s also not a stretch to say that technological innovations like laptops, broadband Internet, and USB drives have made the workplace more efficient. But what comes next? Below are 4 emerging technologies that should, in the next 15 years, make as much of an impact as the laptop computer had on the last. Read More >>

Innovative Robotic End of Arm Tooling

Written By: Geoff Schreiber
June 12, 2013
Innovative Robotic End EffectorAs a design engineer in the robotic material handling field, I am always looking for new and innovative ways to handle different types of products. About a year ago, I was briefly introduced to a new robotic end effector technology that I thought would be worth spending the time to research and share. Continue Reading >>

How Industrial Robotics Improve the Economy

Written By: Mark Colzani
June 05, 2013
manufacturing-robotsThere have been many discussions regarding Americans losing jobs to overseas manufacturers and to increased use of robotic automation, and with fair wage employment on the rise in many other countries, there has also been an increase in the use of robots there. Amid these discussions and trends, recent studies show that, in fact, industrial robotics actually positively impact jobs and the economy. Read More >>

Top 10 Forklift Safety Tips in the Material Handling Industry

Written By: Tom Reddon
June 03, 2013
Material Handling SafetyEach year, roughly 25 percent of forklift-related deaths are caused by an overturned forklift, and other forklift truck accidents lead to significant injuries and damage--most completely avoidable. To reduce the risk of accidents, here are the top ten tips for increasing forklift safety... Continue Reading >>

What You Should Expect From a Warehouse Control System

Written By: Eric Cameron
May 21, 2013
Conveyor system renderingMaking the move to automate warehouse processes and operations is no small decision. Not to mention that choosing the type of automation, and how much of it you plan to install, can significantly affect the success of the project. There are many factors to consider and... Continue Reading >>

Bastian Solutions’ Complete Guide to Conveyor Systems

Written By: Bastian Solutions
May 16, 2013
Conveyor system renderingWe are often asked for more information about the different types of conveyors available, the benefits a conveyor system provides, and how it affects productivity in the workplace. To answer all these questions and more, we are happy to provide our complete guide to conveyor systems... Continue Reading >>

Brick and Mortar in E-Commerce 2.0

Written By: Blake Bearden
May 15, 2013
Brick and Mortar Store FrontsWith the recent release of the Samsung Galaxy S4, I finally reached the tipping point and tossed my antiquated Blackberry to the wayside, but when I was researching which smartphone to select, I looked online only to be overwhelmed by the number of options. This led me to visit a small kiosk in the mall before finally making my purchase online. In this instance, and in many others as the trend continues to grow, the storefront served to augment my online buying decision... Read More >>

Automation Products and the Traits of a Rock Star Distributor

Written By: Ben Viorel
May 10, 2013
Rock Star DistributorsAs an independent systems integrator, Bastian Robotics is able to source virtually any technology. Some technologies are strategically sourced, and some we manufacture. For the ones not manufactured on our own shop floor, we rely on an array of excellent distributors... Read More >>

Enclosed Track Overhead Conveyor: True, Tried and Tested

Written By: Bill Galbraith
May 09, 2013
overhead conveyorEnclosed track overhead conveyors have been around for many years, some dating back to 1919 when they were used in automotive assembly plants. Many people have also seen them used in a dry cleaning shop retrieving their clean clothing. However, this type of conveyor is not just for moving automotive parts or clean clothes. It provides a host of other benefits as well... Continue Reading >>

6 Helpful Tips when Working with CAD

Written By: Jim Sutherin
May 02, 2013
Person working in a CAD programComputer-aided design programs have become a staple in many engineering practices, but sometimes it can feel like an uphill battle trying to get them to cooperate. They have a tendency to be buggy, crash, or unable to execute certain commands. But not to worry, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of things going wrong and to produce better drawings... Helpful CAD Tips >>

Manufacturing in Australia is Dying. Or is It?

Written By: Bastian Solutions
May 01, 2013
modern manufacturing in AustraliaThe Australian market is changing as are the challenges and opportunities, and some say the outlook for manufacturing in Australia is dim. However, for Australian manufacturers to compete in a globalised world, they need to use the latest technologies and manufacturing methods... Read More >>

PC-Based Controls vs. PLC-Based Controls for Machine Automation

Written By: Ron Daggett
April 24, 2013
Machine Automation: PC vs PLCPC-based controls were all the rage a decade or so ago. I saw many systems delivered with PC-based controls touting advantages ranging from less cost to more functionality. From my perspective, it seems as though the tide has turned in recent years back to PLCs, so let's take a minute to review the pros and cons of each... Read More >>

How to Increase System Availability without Redundancy

Written By: Taha Rajabali
April 19, 2013
back-up-powerRedundancy in system design means duplicating or triplicating equipment so if primary equipment fails, system operation continues uninterrupted. On a recent project which implemented redundancy to achieve high system availability, or up time, I began to research whether there were alternate ways of reaching high availability without the use of redundancy. Here are some solutions I discovered... Read More >>

From the Vine to My Table...

Written By: Eric Brunkow
April 17, 2013
Wine DistributionIn college, I was given the opportunity to attend a wine tasting session to learn the basics and proper food pairings. Since then, I was fortunate enough to marry an individual whose hobby is cooking and who over the years has enjoyed seeking out the right (reasonably priced) wine to go with whatever dish she might have prepared. However, it is after the wine is made and bottled that my private interests have intersected with my professional endeavors; somehow this bottle has to get from the winery to my table... Continue Reading >>

2 Ears, 1 Mouth

Written By: Greg Conner
April 11, 2013
Importance of ListeningMy father has a theory that the lord provided each of us with two ears and one mouth to remind us we should use them in proportion. It’s a simple and straightforward suggestion, but one that many of us struggle to apply. In my experience, many fail at project management and sales because we do too much talking and not enough listening. Continue Reading >>

Fundamentals of a Successful Material Handling Weekend Cutover

Written By: Michael Thoma
April 09, 2013
CAD DrawingWeekend cutovers are becoming more popular as demand for system reliability, increasing throughput, and ever-changing products drive facility managers to find new system solutions, while avoiding the headaches of taking down their current system during business hours. I have helped in a few material-handling cutovers, so I would like to share my thoughts on how to complete one successfully. Here are a few of the fundamentals... Continue Reading >>

Order Fulfillment Technologies Compared

Written By: Nancy Hauer
April 03, 2013
pick-to-light-deviceYou know what your operation needs: a better, faster, and more accurate order fulfillment solution. As with most things, however, the order fulfillment process is much more complex and involves people, resources, record keeping, and transportation—all of which require time and management. The good news is that automation technology can ease the burden of picking processes, and we've compared the four popular order fulfillment solutions employed in many automated warehouses... Compare Picking Technologies >>

Can Going Green With Conveyors Save You Money?

Written By: Bill Bastian II
April 01, 2013
Eco-Friendly Conveyor OptionsFor the last several years, a green movement has swept the globe. Consumers, organizations, and large corporations have all moved toward green initiatives. However, in an industry filled with automation and machinery, the thought of going green might seem like a faraway dream. Luckily, new innovations in conveyor technologies have led to the possibility of greener business practices in the fields of materials handling and automation... Continue Reading >>

When Does Automating Case Storage Make Economic Sense?

Written By: Mike Clemens
March 21, 2013
Automated Storage and RetrievalOver the last few years, I have seen more client interest in automated case storage systems. While the cost justification for some of these installations was based upon very high labor costs; I think the technology costs have dropped to the point where it can have a wider application. Continue Reading >>

Why Career Fairs are Still Relevant in Our Digital World

Written By: Jason Coffey
March 20, 2013
now hiring mechanical assemblersI recently attended a career fair with our HR Manager to look for quality production candidates to join our custom automation group in Greenfield, Ind. As an employer, we typically list most of our job openings online, but I have found attending career fairs can be very valuable for qualifying great candidates... Read More >>

From New Hire to Part of the Team

Written By: Brandy Kinser
March 14, 2013
new-employeesHave you ever started a new job and felt like a small fish swimming alone in a big new pond? It can be scary and frustrating. Everyone knows that first impressions mean a lot, and my first weeks with Bastian Solutions were the best of any new job in my history. Here are some recommendations for successfully transitioning your new hire into a card-carrying member of the team. Continue Reading >>

Put Some “Zoom Zoom” in your Warehouse

Written By: Aaron Jones
March 12, 2013
Perfect Pick from OPEX CorpThere are three new goods-to-person technologies bringing Mazda's "Zoom Zoom" campaign to life in the material handling world. OPEX Corporation's Perfect Pick™, SencorpWhite's EffiMat®, and Symbotic's MatrixSelect™ provide unprecedented order fulfillment improvements to any warehouse... Read the full article >>

Girl Scout Cookie Sales vs. Material Handling Sales

Written By: Steve Durcholz
March 08, 2013
girl-scout-cookiesWhat do Girl Scout Cookies have to do with material handling? Everything! Cookies are made with various conveyors in the baking and coating process. Boxed cookies are put into cases; cases are glued with automated equipment, stacked on pallets, stored in racks, and logistics services route the orders to the local service centers. What also relates to the industry are the 5 business skills the girls learn in the cookie sale... Continue Reading >>

Size Does Matter...When It Comes to SKUs

Written By: Derek Cribley
February 28, 2013
Boxes of Different SizesI just had a discussion with a colleague in our consulting group about a client who wanted him to design a picking area. The problem was the client didn’t have any product size information. To this client, the size of a case was “case size,” and an individual item was smaller than “case size.” Regrettably, many distribution operations have little information about the size of the product they are distributing, but know size information has many advantages... Continue Reading >>

5 Basics of Good Customer Service

Written By: Nancy Hauer
February 21, 2013
5 Basics of Customer ServiceAny organization providing products and services should have a solid, if not excellent, customer service and support system in place. Although providing top-notch customer service involves a variety of tactics and procedures, by turning these five actions into habits, you will be well on your way to keeping customers engaged and satisfied... Continue Reading >>

3 Essential Traits of Good Project Managers

Written By: Jason Nowak
February 20, 2013
Project ManagementAll project managers are NOT created equal. Some are more schedule-focused, while others are more budget-driven. Some spend more time on procurement management, and yet others concentrate on ensuring scope creep doesn’t occur. Regardless of what a project manager emphasizes, I’ve found all good project managers have these 3 essential traits. Continue Reading >>

10 Simple Tips for Basic Conveyor Troubleshooting

Written By: Dan Williams
February 19, 2013
Boxes on ConveyorI have seen people push boxes along powered conveyors too many times. Just fix it already! If you want to get that conveyor moving again, here are 10 tips I've learned to help you troubleshoot the problem and hopefully get it running... Read More >>

5 DOs and DON'Ts of Communication

Written By: Reed Langton
February 15, 2013
Bad CommunicationEvery successful project requires a great deal of communication. It is the cornerstone of every interaction in today’s business world. To help you keep your communication skills in tip-top shape, I've outlined a quick list of “Dos and Don’ts”. Follow these pointers, and you’re sure to get your message heard loud and clear. Continue Reading >>

Hacking Away Your Day at Work: Legally

Written By: Blake Bearden
February 12, 2013
Life-Hacking SkillsManaging multiple projects, a barrage of emails, a phone in each hand, and looming design work is the normal description of an engineer today. Regardless of how many hours, there is always more to be done and prioritize each day. This is where the philosophy of life hacking comes into play, and here are a few tips to get you started... Read More >>

The Beauty of Zero Pressure Accumulation Conveyor

Written By: Bill Bastian II
February 11, 2013
ZiPline Zero Pressure Accumulation ConveyorIt may not seem like a big deal to keep products from touching each other as they are conveyed until you are standing under a conveyor and glass bottle cases begin crashing into each other. There definitely is an art and science to conveying very fragile, light products in between large, heavy products. That's where zero pressure accumulation conveyor comes in... Read More >>

Quality Through Innovation Builds Lasting Relationships

Written By: Jason Coffey
February 07, 2013
Quality Can Meet ValueHave you ever heard the saying “You get what you pay for”? This is usually synonymous with the thought that you need to spend more money to get higher quality products. However, this is typically not aligned with the majority of consumers who want more for less. The higher quality products are expected... Continue Reading >>

The Importance of Understanding Your Pallet for Proper Conveyance

Written By: Mike Kedvesh
February 05, 2013
Understanding Your PalletI spend much of my time in manufacturing facilities dealing with material handling issues related to moving and positioning pallets, plastic bulk box containers, steel racks, and multi-footed thermoformed pallets. Often times, we are given very little information on these objects, let alone the details of the bottom surface. This prompted me to write about the importance of this often skipped over, yet extremely important topic. Continue Reading >>

When Atlanta Meets Chicago: 9 Lessons Learned at ProMat 2013

Written By: Will Smith
February 01, 2013
ProMat 2013I am from Georgia; a genuine Delta Airlines, Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola kind of guy. I have been in the material handling industry for just over a year now, and that Delta plane has flown me all over the country. I thought I had seen some things, I really did, but nothing prepared me for the information overload that was ProMat... Read More >>

Introducing Tweet-a-Veyor: An MDR Conveyor Driven by Twitter

Written By: Bill Bastian II
January 29, 2013
Conveyor Driven by TwitterYou could say one goal of our marketing department is to use social media to push conveyors. For this blog post, as a nerdy engineer may be inclined, I took that a little too literally. Allow me to introduce the Tweet-a-Veyor – an MDR (Motorized Drive Roller) conveyor driven by tweets... Continue Reading >>

Independent Integrator – What Does This Mean?

Written By: Brent Davis
January 24, 2013
Many Equipment OptionsWhen describing ourselves to potential customers as an independent material handling integrator, we are often asked to explain what that means. Being an independent integrator allows us to do four key things: recommend the best solution based on your needs, provide many equipment options for your consideration, base our decision on our supplier experience, and offer fast, on-site assistance whenever needed. Read More >>

The Intangible Benefits of Used Equipment

Written By: Mark Colzani
January 17, 2013
robotic end of arm toolUsed automation equipment is seen by some as too risky an investment, and by others, as an easy way to save a project's budget while still getting all of the hardware they desire. Like all projects, there are pros and cons to used or refurbished equipment, but when the opportunity for used automation presents itself, it is worth the time to closely examine it as an option... Read More >>

Transitioning from a FIRST Student to a FIRST Mentor

Written By: Tom Hazelrigg
January 16, 2013
competition-robotA stadium is packed, adults and kids filling the stands and watching in anticipation. Fans loudly cheer on their team, proudly wearing their teams' colors, while fans back home watch the game on ESPN. Both teams are vying for a guaranteed playoff spot within their division and have had a long season getting to this point. Think this is your typical sporting event? Think again. Welcome to Einstein Field during the championship event of a FIRST Robotics Competition. Read More >>

Simulation or Animation – What’s the Difference?

Written By: Marvin Logan
January 10, 2013
simulation vs animationSimulation, animation, they’re basically the same thing, right? With the graphic capabilities of some simulation software packages, such as Demo 3D, it’s easy to see why people think these are synonyms. In reality, an animation is a moving picture used for demonstration, while simulations can be used for so much more... Continue Reading >>

Senior Design Projects are a Great Way to Test Ideas and Give Back to Schools

Written By: Colin Shipley
January 08, 2013
Senior Design GroupWhile brainstorming robot on a rail (ROAR) solutions, my co-workers and I wondered how we could create a similar technology, while maintaining focus on our current projects. That's when the idea of working with a senior design group came to mind, so I contacted my alma mater to get started... Read More >>

8 Steps for Improving Employee Engagement

Written By: Shelby Shay
December 21, 2012
8-steps-to-engagementIf you ask human resource specialists for the most desired trait in an employee, they are likely to tell you employee engagement because engaged employees work hard, do the right thing, and enjoy coming to work each day. Because of this, it is important for companies to improve employee engagement when possible, so here are 8 tips to help you do so... Read More >>

10,000 Light Bulbs and 1 PLC Equals a Controls Engineer's Christmas

Written By: Tim Maynard
December 20, 2012
A Controls Engineer's ChristmasAs a controls engineer, what better way to celebrate Christmas than programming a lights display? I've been doing this for a few years, but my 2012 display is my best yet with 10,000 light bulbs, 1 programmable logic controller (PLC), 80 programmed outputs, and 8 programmed inputs all synchronized to music... Read More >>

It’s Just a “Typical” Pallet

Written By: Tom Gregovich
December 18, 2012
Pallet of BoxesAt the beginning stages of a material handling opportunity, whether a multimillion dollar system or an inexpensive gravity roller conveyor, an application specialist will commonly ask the question, “What can you tell me about the product we are going to be carrying on this equipment?” For obvious reasons, this initial information makes all the difference in the world and will help the application engineer design the proper material handling solution. However, never is this question more important than during a pallet conveyor project... Continue Reading >>

Patience and Persistence: A Road Map for Doing Business in the Middle East

Written By: Bill Bastian II
December 13, 2012
doha, qatarCan I see a show of hands for people who would like to do business in the Middle East? Hey, where did everyone go? If you’re still reading, then I would tell you engaging in business opportunities in this part of the world can seem similar to climbing a mountain, but for those willing to stick with it, the rewards can also be great... Continue Reading >>

The History of Robotics [Infographic]

Written By: Bastian Solutions
December 12, 2012
History of RoboticsIndustrial robots are incredibly advanced thanks to new technologies in controls, vision systems, and end of arm tooling. All of this has allowed them to perform increasingly difficult tasks faster and more precisely, but how do these machines compare to some of the first robots ever created? Take a look at this graphic to find out... Continue >>

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Automation Proposal

Written By: Mark Colzani
December 05, 2012
choosing-an-automation-partnerYou spent years trying to get this new automation project in the budget, and you just found out it's been approved!  So after months of planning, you've developed a detailed bid specification for what this project requires, and you've released a detailed RFQ. You might think all the hard work is behind you, but you're actually just getting started. Here are 5 tips to help you choose the right automation proposal... Read the Full Article

10 (More) Awesome Gifts to Get an Engineer

Written By: Stefanie Hardy
November 29, 2012
10 Gifts to Get an EngineerI know everyone says this, but it really is hard to believe it's that time of year again--holiday shopping season! And love it or hate it, most of us will be heading out to malls or doing some late night Amazon shopping. For me, I'll be doing a little of both, and one person on my list just happens to be an engineer. So for 2012, here are 10 gifts I've found for the hard-to-buy-for engineer in your life. Continue Reading >>

Seismic Conditions vs. Material Handling System: What You Should Know

Written By: Greg Conner
November 21, 2012
seismographHave you ever heard someone say, “It’s just rack," or how about, “It's only ceiling hung conveyor.”? Anyone who has been in the material handling industry could tell you that it ain’t just rack and you better think before hanging anything on the ceiling. Planning for your racking and ceiling hung conveyor projects is a critical first step no matter what, but never more important than when installing them in areas where seismic events can occur... Continue Reading >>

Pallet Racking 101: Which Type Do You Need?

Written By: Aaron Jones
November 15, 2012
Pallet Storage in a DCTo help you determine the type of pallet racking that best fits your needs, we will look at nine qualifying questions and then review the five main types of pallet racking. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, but once you know what you're looking for, the decision should be fairly easy. Continue Reading >>

The Value of Training

Written By: Mark Colzani
November 07, 2012
importance of employee trainingAs a recent college graduate, I have been exposed to many new and exciting aspects of the robotics and material handling industries. I will argue that in the past month alone I have gained more valuable work experience than in the last four years of college. Why do I say this? The main reason is due to strong and impactful training. Continue Reading >>

Grinding Gears: The Journey of a Master’s Degree

Written By: Bastian Solutions
November 02, 2012
Pros and cons of getting a master'sAs a grad student (MSME - Fall '12), I've had a few challenges while balancing a full-time job and a earning my master's degree. So has it been worth it? It depends on the day you ask, but here are my thoughts on what grad school is, what it is perceived to be, and how you can survive... Continue Reading >>

How Gardner Improved Operations with an Exacta WMS

Written By: Bastian Media
October 24, 2012
picking into totesGardner, the leading distributor of outdoor power equipment, needed to reduce operational costs and improve customer service. After installing an Exacta warehouse management system (WMS), the company was able to achieve those goals, while reducing inventory dock-to-stock time by 50 percent. Read More >>

Is a High-Speed Robotic Palletizer in Your Future?

Written By: Matt Kohler
October 17, 2012
High-Speed Robotic PalletizerHigh-level conventional palletizers have dominated the high-speed palletizing industry, and for good reason, as they are a robust and proven technology. However, with recent technological advances, robotics are now becoming a much more viable alternative to conventional machines with respect to equipment speed and price... Continue Reading >>

ERP Resourcefulness Starts With You

Written By: Damir Kantardzic
October 11, 2012
AX resourcesAX 2012 is Microsoft’s most recent release of its global Enterprise Resource Planning solution. The product contains several new features and enhancements, but with all these updates, it can be challenging to find resources to answer your questions. Here are a few options I've used to expand my knowledge resources... Read More >>

What's New in Goods-to-Man Mobile Robots for Full and Split Case Picking

Written By: Bill Bastian II
October 10, 2012
iBot from OPEX Corp.With Kiva serving as a catalyst, in the last 18 months there have been several new entrants into the goods-to-man mobile robot category for full case and split case picking, and for good reason. There are many advantages to implementing this technology in your distribution center... Continue Reading >>

Help! I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up!

Written By: Greg Conner
September 26, 2012
swing-arm-system-gorbelLast night I had a nightmare. It was the one we’ve all had where we’re falling and wake up just before we hit the ground. I don’t know about you, but I hate that one! Too bad I didn’t have fall protection equipment. I could have enjoyed a good night’s sleep. Well now there is a solution. One that is finally configurable enough that I can install one in my bedroom, as if that would really do me any good, right? But the Gorbel Tether Track™ fall arrest system can be a lifesaver (literally) in a variety of industries... Continue Reading >>

Global Supply Chains Going Local

Written By: SPS Chauhan
September 21, 2012
Insourcing vs. Outsourcing GraphicMost of us are familiar with the phrase: “think globally, act locally.” Though it might be popularly thought of in terms of food sourcing, the manufacturing industry is also adopting a local mindset. A recent survey by EEF, the manufacturers' organization, found that 40% of U.K. companies are bringing production back in-house, while 25% have increased their use of local suppliers... Continue Reading >>

Can You Handle It?

Written By: Steven Hogg
September 13, 2012
Robotic End of Arm ToolEvery robotic system revolves around the product it handles, so having a thorough understanding of the product allows you to utilize different technologies and methods for processing it through the robotic system. The following are the 10 main areas I consider during product evaluation. These areas are analyzed during the initial design phase and considered throughout the lifecycle of the project. Continue Reading >>

The Foundation of Conveyor System Design

Written By: Gregg Durham
September 07, 2012
conveyor system designAs a material handling system integrator, one of the most popular requests we receive from our clients is to design a conveyor system for their operations. When this happens, one of the first things we do is ask about the product this new system will convey. Surprisingly, many customers don't understand why we need this information, but the product specifications are the foundation to building a great conveyor system, and here's why... Read More >>

'Cause That's the Way it's Always Been Done

Written By: Eric Brunkow
August 29, 2012
Effectively Selling a New Idea to Your BossHow often does an employee go to work day in and day out, doing the tasks he or she is assigned only to grumble to colleagues, family, and friends about how things should be done differently. I am guessing it’s more times than not. But the true question is—who is really to blame for this mentality? Is it management, the CEO, the career path that was chosen? Some would argue it’s all of the above. I, on the other hand, believe the blame falls on the employee... Continue Reading >>

Material Handling Automation in Brazil: New Rules for a Changing Market

August 27, 2012
Brazil Continues to GrowBrazil, and South America in general, is a very good market as it is expanding, resourceful, demographically buoyant, and with increasing rates of population entering the middle and upper classes, boosting consumption; however, many business models are about to change as this occurs, mainly due to labor cost’s rapid increase... Read More >>

3 Technologies Driving Efficiency Gains in the Medical Service Industry (and Shortening Hospital Visits)

Written By: Jason Nowak
August 22, 2012
Swisslog Automated Guided Vehicle for HospitalI am extremely proud to say I have two very active and adventurous sons. On occasion, however, that means I get to visit our local hospital to get them fixed up. On one such visit, I entertained myself by thinking about the logistics behind the day-to-day operations of the medical facility (probably a sign of a bad father or bored engineer). While waiting for all the materials to come together from various locations to assemble the cast for my son's leg, I began analyzing the logistics management required to ensure the proper materials are available when needed throughout the hospital.. Continue Reading >>

Why Cycle Counting Beats Physical Inventories

Written By: Chris Bratten
August 15, 2012
inventory managementAccurately tracking inventory can be a costly affair for many distribution centers since it interrupts your daily operations and consumes man hours better spent on revenue-generating activities. If your DC has struggled with completing a physical inventory, cycle counting could be the solution you need... Read More >>

The Beauty of a Team-Based Sales Presentation

Written By: Bill Bastian II
August 09, 2012
More Team Members Equals Better SolutionsIn the strategic selling cycle, we are often faced with the decision to sell to a customer individually or as a team. Having been through both scenarios for several years, I would highly recommend the team-based selling approach, and there are many reasons for this recommendation... Continue Reading >>

Manufacturing Renaissance in the U.S.?

Written By: Mark Colzani
July 26, 2012
Automotive Manufacturing: Made in the USAIt wasn’t all that long ago U.S. manufacturing prowess was the envy of the world, but then numerous U.S.-based companies decided to move their manufacturing operations abroad due to world competition and cost constraints. In recent years, however, a fascinating and somewhat silent trend has developed; U.S.-based manufacturing is making an exciting and notable comeback. Continue Reading >>

Catching Equipment Problems in the Blink of an Eye

Written By: Colin Shipley
July 19, 2012
high-speed-videoEveryone has seen at least one high-speed video before. Most of them involve a bullet going through something, causing the object to explode in slow-motion. I assure you there is more to high-speed video than things blowing up. In industries with high-speed equipment, it can mean the difference between an impossible to spot problem and one that is clear as day. Continue Reading >>

The Summer Olympics Meets Logistics

Written By: Chris Bratten
July 18, 2012
logistxgames-indy-winners-2011In about two weeks, thousands of spectators will watch athletes from around the world compete in the 2012 summer Olympics in London. At the same time, a different type of summer games will take place right in our own backyard: the 2012 LogistXGames. Beginning in Louisville this Thusrday, teams of warehouse employees will put their unique skills to the test in hopes of moving on to the Global LogistXGames at the end of September... Continue Reading >>
Posted in Industry News

Automatic Print and Apply: Blessing or Pain?

Written By: Bastian Solutions
July 11, 2012
print-and-applyAre there machines out there that can automatically print a shipping label for a container and apply it without anyone touching it? Why yes, there are. As much as that might seem like a miracle machine, they can come with their fair share of headaches, but let’s start with the positives... Read More >>

Freight “Solutions” Management

Written By: Derek Cribley
June 29, 2012
managing-freight-optionsAs a material handling solutions provider, we take pride in integrating the best mix of technology and people to maximize our customer’s bottom line. We believe that there is a “best” solution out there for every customer. This philosophy is typically applied throughout our business processes; how can we do things cheaper, faster, better, and provide more value to our customers. One of the areas we recently focused on in this regard is freight management. Here are 6 key areas on which we have focused our attention and have seen real benefits... Continue Reading >>

Do You Know the Difference Between SaaS and Cloud Computing?

Written By: Chris Bratten
June 27, 2012
cloud-computing-host-environmentWhen talking about software as a service (SaaS) and cloud computing, people tend to use the two terms interchangeably. Although the two technologies are related, they are not the same. So what is the distinction? Simply put, SaaS is a type of cloud computing. Let’s roll up our sleeves and dig into the specifics so you can better select services and products that will benefit your organization... Continue Reading >>

Automation: Not Always About the Dollars, But Always About the Sense!

Written By: Aaron Jones
June 21, 2012
rendering-of-distribution-systemWhen considering why some manufacturing and distribution companies have implemented automated material handling systems, you often hear of financial statements including a solid Return of Investment (ROI), prompt Payback Period, or Strong Internal Rate of Return (IRR). While it cannot be debated that the financial justification for an automation project is very important, financial evaluation alone should not be the only criteria when considering whether to automate. Here are 10 additional benefits to justify automation... Read More >>

Encouragement…One Step at a Time

Written By: Bill Bastian II
June 18, 2012
one-step-at-a-timeThis weekend I had the pleasure of swimming with my four-year-old granddaughter, Liv. She had taken a few swimming lessons earlier in the week and was excited to show me all that she had learned. Most of her lessons had focused on putting her face in the water to blow bubbles and swim rather than the usual heads-up dog paddle. She showed me what she had learned and really did a nice job (taking in minimal water). I praised her and told her how proud I was of her, and you could just see the big smile of accomplishment. Continue Reading >>

A Few Points to Remember When Palletizing Bags

Written By: Mark Zeilinger
June 13, 2012
conventional-palletizing-systemPutting a bag on a pallet and conveying it is a simple enough concept; however, the variations in product must always be kept in mind if you want to prevent product damage and misaligned pallets. Here are five points to remember when using bag palletizing systems... Read More >>

How to Reduce Total Cost of Ownership

Written By: Jaco Hooijer
June 07, 2012
nedpack conveyorThe creators of Nedpack vertical conveyor went through six steps to reduce the total cost of ownership on their machines to make them more affordable and easier to maintain. Here are the steps they took and how they can help you create products with reduced cost of ownership or help you find the best technology for your facility. Read More >>
Posted in Guest Posts

Please...Not Another Slimy Sales Guy

Written By: Greg Conner
June 01, 2012
How to not be a slimy salesmanChances are we've all had a sales experience that has left us feeling used and abused. You know…that stereotypical pushy used car salesman that "gets you the deal of a lifetime" but is absolutely no help when you return a few days later needing service on the lemon he just sold you. There are countless other examples, but the common theme is most of us want a solutions provider, not just a salesperson. But what separates the good sales people (the solution providers) from the bottom dwellers? Here are 10 things to look for in a good salesperson... Continue Reading >>

It's a Long Race: How the Indy 500 Mimics Our Economy

Written By: Jason Coffey
May 22, 2012
Indy-500-mimics-recessionMotorsports, and especially IndyCar and Sprint Cup racing, have always been of great interest to me. At the age of eight, I was fortunate enough to be invited by my father and grandfather to the Indianapolis 500--The Greatest Spectacle in Racing. At the time, all I knew was the cars went fast and the crowd at the track was absolutely eye opening. As our country and economy climb out of “The Great Recession,” I have noted some similarities between the economic conditions of small businesses and the greatest spectacle in racing. Let me explain if I may. Continue Reading >>

Handyman Electrician or Disaster Waiting to Happen: 7 Steps to a Successful Electrical Project

Written By: Ron Daggett
May 16, 2012
Tools for changing an electrical outletAre you contemplating doing a little electrical work at home? Maybe you’re looking at your old, discolored light switches from the ‘70s and are thinking you could change them out, or you would love to have another electrical outlet near the PC in your home office. How big of a deal could it be anyway? Just unscrew a few things, put in a new outlet, and away you go.... Hold on! Before you do any of your own electrical work, there are some really important things to consider... Continue Reading >>

A Story about a Tree and Inevitable Change

Written By: Rick Sills
May 10, 2012
Tall Tree in SunlightAs one of our wonderful blog readers, you were going to be in for a real treat this issue, as I was working on sharing all I knew about conveying aluminum-cast automotive wheels. (Look at your car, at the round things in the middle of your tires.) But you will have to wait until next time because I was inspired to share a story about something else: a tree. Continue Reading >>

Synergy of Information and Material Handling Automation is Key in Supply Chain Management

Written By: SPS Chauhan
May 08, 2012
information-automation-in-scmThe benefits of timely and accurate information in the supply chain are the driving force behind automation, but to achieve meaningful automation, the automation of material handling and the automation of information should go hand in hand. Business is ever changing and competition is always increasing, but the companies that can properly harness the power of automation in their supply chains will thrive into the future... Continue Reading >>

Using LEGOs to Help Build Creativity & Problem Solving Skills for Your Children

Written By: Bastian Solutions
May 03, 2012
LEGO Mindstorm FokliftMany of us played with LEGOs when we were younger, and they are still pretty common today. However, if you haven’t kept up with what all LEGO offers in the recent years, you might be quite surprised. There are a few product lines that many people may not be familiar with that offer a tremendous amount of engagement and critical thinking for children and young adults. Continue Reading >>

Saving a Troubled Project (and Re-gaining the Customer's Confidence)

Written By: Geoff Schreiber
April 26, 2012
Saving a Troubled Robotics ProjectWe've all been there...working on that project, which never seems to go right. The project has passed hands multiple times. There is miscommunication between the customer, salesman, and the engineers. Every new idea you attempt doesn't seem to work as expected, and when you finally find a solution that works, it decides to stop working when the customer is watching. While no one enjoys being in these positions, at one time or another every company will experience one. And the question is how do you save face? Continue Reading >>

How to Harness the Power of Gen Y Employees in your DC

Written By: Marvin Logan
April 24, 2012
young-worker-in-distribution-centerGeneration Y currently makes up the second-largest workforce in U.S. history at 70 million people, so it is likely that current and future hires into your distribution center will include many in this generation. Although it is difficult to talk in all-encompassing generalities about a group of employees, understanding Gen Y's needs and their generational/cultural attitudes toward a work/life balance and engagement can make for an overall better workplace. Read More >>

Buy Low, Sell High: 16 Tips for Evaluating Your Investments

Written By: Bill Bastian II
April 19, 2012
evaluating-investmentsThroughout our lives, we are faced with several investment decisions. It might start off with a car in high school or college, and then go on to a house. It might be retirement investments, a business, a boat, vacation home, etc. In any case, I have found it is helpful to have a framework to evaluate these investments, so their value goes up and you and your family can enjoy life from a more financially secure position. Here are my 16 tips for evaluating your investments... Read More >>

Getting Air: New Vertical Conveyors Raise the Bar

Written By: Derek Cribley
April 11, 2012
ZiPline Spiral ConveyorWho doesn’t have fond childhood memories of jumping over objects, whether it was on a bicycle, sled, skis, or dirt bike? Well, “getting air” is not just a kid’s dream; our customers want it, too. It seems like almost every project has some requirement to elevate product from one level to another. It makes sense considering customers want to make the most of their available floor space, and there typically is more than enough available space overhead. Sometimes the need to go vertical is simply to gain clearance for personnel or vehicles that need to travel on the ground level. Other times, it is the more complex requirement to move product between multiple levels of a pick module or mezzanine... Read More >>

9 Tips for Tackling an International Project

Written By: Rich Halvorsen
April 06, 2012
International Material Handling Projects - Building in IndiaA few years ago, I had the pleasure of working with an international team on a major material handling project in India. Being born and raised in Michigan, this project provided a great opportunity to expand my experience with international programs. Our project involved a broad spectrum of specialists from around the world. We worked with major suppliers in Sweden, Germany, Belgium, the United States, and India as we designed and implemented the project. The team discovered many challenges along the way, so I wanted to share a few tips to get you off to a great start on your next international project... Read More >>

Have You Thought About a 401K?

Written By: John Smith
March 29, 2012
importance-of-401k Our life cycle can easily be broken into three distinct seasons: childhood, the working years, and retirement. Although many people survive the first two seasons with few financial crises, the final season is often a difficult and stressful time financially due to a lack of planning. What can we do to avoid this difficult time in our retirement years? The answer is having a well-developed savings plan and implementing it at the outset of the working era... Read more >>

The Invisible Men of Material Handling

Written By: Bastian Solutions
March 27, 2012
material-handling-system-partnersUpon the approach of my tenth anniversary with Bastian Solutions, I began asking myself what makes this company successful. After all, there must be some reason or reasons why I have found such satisfaction here that I have contributed a decade's worth of skill, talent, and effort toward the company's success. In answering this question, recent project experiences led me to an answer that lies partially outside of the company... Read More >>

24-Volt DC Conveyors: External Drives vs. MDR

Written By: Gregg Goodner
March 22, 2012
24-volt-external-drive-conveyorJust a few years ago, the material handling industry thought 24-volt conveyors had to be driven via a small, high RPM motor with gearing assembly, all fitted within the tube of a drive roller; thus, the term motor driven roller (MDR). In recent years, however, a new technology has come along offering a much different solution. This new technology utilizes a 24-volt motor mounted external to the roller rather than inside, and it offers several advantages... Continue Reading >>

5 Steps to Eliminate the “Madness” of Your Next Project

Written By: Nancy Hauer
March 12, 2012
Take 5 simple steps to increase project successMarch Madness is finally here, and there's a reason it's called "madness." The unexpected often happens - which is very exciting in sports, but not so much with a mission critical project. To reduce the "madness" that can often overwhelm and impede project success, follow this simple outline. As a result, you will save time, effort and money over the lifespan of the project. Continue Reading >>

2012 World Ag Expo, Material Handling Automation, and Helping our Veterans

Written By: Blake Bearden
March 09, 2012
Conveyor for EggsRecently, I attended the World Ag Expo at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, California. It is the largest trade show of farm and agricultural equipment and associated products in the world, and because it is held outdoors, very large equipment can be brought in for attendees to view--from tractors nearly two stories tall, to the smallest of nozzles used in irrigation... Continue Reading >>

Is Leasing an Option for Automating Your Distribution Center?

Written By: Mark Colzani
March 01, 2012
Leasing as an option for automatingRecently, I had a discussion with a friend who works with one of our integration partners, and during our discussion we came up on the topic of leasing as an option for capital equipment. For anyone who doesn't know, capital equipment is typically a larger, higher priced item with a lifespan of more than one year. It is an asset and an investment for the company purchasing, or in this case, leasing it. After doing a little research, I found out that leasing capital equipment is actually a very common practice for all sorts of companies, large and small. This makes sense because there are many benefits to doing so... Continue Reading >>

Don't Let the Customer Go Down with the Ship

Written By: Karen Patterson
February 23, 2012
Customer Service Crucial No Matter WhatLast fall, I purchased some jeans through HSN (Home Shopping Network). About three months later, I thought...umm...I was billed but never received them. The gal at HSN told me they had shipped to Peoria, Arizona. My reaction was "WHAT! I LIVE IN MICHIGAN!" Apparently, HSN's shipments are based on phone numbers, and my phone number was in their database under another established customer in Arizona. I said, "How can that be? I've had this same phone number for over twenty-five years." Well, that is another mystery in itself. At that point I didn’t care. I just wanted my money back. Continue Reading >>

New Design Tools for the Creative Engineer

Written By: Bill Bastian II
February 16, 2012
3D-handheld-scannerWith the pace of business continually accelerating, it is nice to see the selection of new engineering design tools rising to the occasion. Although there is no substitute for sound engineering fundamentals, these tools can help engage an engineer's creativity by speeding up the iterative design process. Continue Reading >>

Would you Choose a Systems Integrator or an Original Equipment Manufacturer for Your Logistics System?

Written By: Bastian Solutions
February 16, 2012
comparing-system-integrator-and-equipment-manufacturerThere are three key elements that differentiate a systems integrator from an original equipment manufacturer: product life cycle, successful integration of products, and choice of system products. Taking a look at these can help you make an educated decision when researching both options. Continue Reading >>

Manufacturing and Logistics Facts about Valentine's Day [Infographic]

Written By: Eric Brunkow
February 14, 2012
valentines-day-logisticsBehind all those flower bouquets, candy hearts, and jewelry boxes, there's a manufacturer and distributor who got them to you! So this year, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the numbers and logistics behind Valentine's Day because without all the behind-the-scenes work, well, the day just wouldn't be the same... View Infographic >>

Poetry, Process Improvement, and Stepping Out of the Rut

Written By: Aaron Jones
February 10, 2012
Recently, I attended a meeting where a consultant was presenting his recommendations for a project that involved adding automation to an existing process. One of the key points that jumped out at me was that his justification for this project was focused entirely on the elimination of people. While the consultant suggested that the project would probably go forward because it was a strategic initiative on the part of the customer, I could only think about a more than 100-year-old poem entitled, The Calf-Path... Continue Reading >>

A Walk Through the Office: Employees Explain What We Do

Written By: Eric Brunkow
February 09, 2012
What Bastian does as a material handling system integratorWhat does Bastian Solutions do? Well, we do a lot of things; everything from selling single casters to fully-automated material handling systems. Yet, when asked by strangers what Bastian does, I always struggle to come up with an all-encompassing, concise answer. So, I thought I'd see how my coworkers describe us to get some ideas... Continue Reading >>

The Art of Project Management

Written By: Blake Bearden
January 31, 2012
juggling-project-management-responsibilitiesProject management is more or less the art of making things happen, or moving a project forward to completion. Sounds simple enough, right? We all wish that were the case anyway! Even simple projects can quickly turn complex with delays in supplier shipments, installing a system during a customer's operating hours, sourcing miscellaneous hardware in an unfamiliar area, handling issues with working dynamics between multiple sub-contractors, etc. I have been involved in multiple projects, which I felt would go smoothly, only to quickly find out that the proverbial "Murphy" decided to step in, mix things up, and make things more interesting. It's during times like these that one's project management skills are put to the test. Continue Reading >>

Automation in the Retail Space: Is It Closer Than We Think?

Written By: Derek Cribley
January 24, 2012
retail-automationI often joke with my wife about what it would look like if I took my two passions in life--designing and building warehouse automation systems and cooking--and combined them into one enterprise, an automation café. All the food would be delivered automatically, and the wait staff would be in the form of some fun type of HMI (Human Machine Interface) screen. Over the years, I have had fun dreaming of how something like this might look and function. Would the conveyors used to deliver the food be placed over top of the tables or come up from under the floor? I like to envision the waiter on the HMI screen being a Max Headroom-like character, but perhaps the entire restaurant would be run by robots delivering food like Rosie in the Jetsons. Read More >>

Help Me, Help You -- A Project Engineer's Take on RFPs

Written By: Ahmed Arif
January 19, 2012
help-me-help-you-with-request-for-proposalsEnd users... can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. We love our customers. They keep us in business. More importantly, they make the world go round. BUT, we do need to talk. In this day and age, it's absolutely crucial to develop a sound request for proposal, or RFP. There are several key advantages to taking the time and effort to do so, but this isn't a how-to on on RFPs. Instead, it is key information that you should think about as it relates to your projects. Read More >>

Feed Your Web Face

Written By: Eric Brunkow
January 11, 2012
content-gives-websites-strengthYour website is your company's face. It is most likely the first place a new customer will learn about you. It represents who you are, what you do, where you are located, when you were founded and why you are better than everyone else. You need to feed it with content. Read More >>

Vectura ASRS Stacker Crane Offers System Flexibility

Written By: Johan Källvik
January 04, 2012
vectura-unit-load-ASRS-craneImagine a warehouse in which rows of full pallets could be stacked up to 165 feet in the air, one on top of another, on top of another. Then, with the ease and grace of a high quality machine, one of those pallets--weighing as much as 6,600 lbs--is gently lifted from its storage space and quickly brought to a worker at ground level. This is the amazing world of automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS). These automated systems have been perfected through the use of Swisslog stacker cranes. These cranes swiftly transfer pallets, containers, and even cars from storage slots within the ASRS to a pickup station outside the system... Read More >>

Does Santa Claus need a Material Handling System?

Written By: Robin Kochis
December 28, 2011
Does Santa Need a Material Handling SystemWhen I first read through the sales coordinator job description at Bastian Solutions, a material handling system integrator, I didn't fully understand what this company did. Someone on the outside might ask what exactly a material handling system (MHS) is. While the CAD drawings (computer aided design drawings) look like they were drawn by a rocket scientist, an MHS very simply moves (handles) something (material) from point A to point B; an item is going from here to there. As I learned more about material handling systems, I thought--a silly thought I admit--that even Santa Claus would be more efficient with a conveyor system... Read More >>

How a Controls Engineer Does Christmas Lights

Written By: Tim Maynard
December 21, 2011
How a Controls Engineer Does Christmas LightsSo there I was three Christmases ago opening a present from my mother-in-law, and to my surprise, she bought me a Mr. Christmas's, "The Lights and Sounds of Christmas." I've always put up a lot of lights for Christmas, so the gift made sense, but basically, it's a box that syncs music to Christmas lights. That first year I synced some of my Christmas lights to music but found the Mr. Christmas box to be a bit limited since there were only six outputs. So, as a typical controls engineer, I knew I could do this better! Why not treat it as a machine... Read More >>

20 Awesome Gifts to Get an Engineer This Holiday Season

Written By: Stefanie Hardy
December 20, 2011
math-formulas-neck-tieIf you're anything like me, you've probably procrastinated on this year's holiday shopping. And if you're really like me, you have an engineer on your shopping list, and you're struggling to find him or her the perfect gift. Well, you're in luck because I've spent the last week digging around the Internet to find some ideal gifts, ranging from humorous to down right practical... Read More >>

Why You Should Care About the Price of Non-Compliance

Written By: Blake Bearden
December 16, 2011
Quality Assurance Improves Price of Non-ComplianceMost engineers and operators in the manufacturing and production world understand the need for quality in their processes. The inherent value of "zero-defect" delivery of goods and services to a customer or end user reduces many of the headaches associated with repairs, returns, and reworks. All of these issues point to added time and expense for a supplier, as well as reduced customer satisfaction. But those having a deeper understanding of the reasons behind these issues and metrics understand that the cost of quality is a factor that cannot be avoided... Read More >>

The Power of Hopes and Dreams

Written By: Bill Bastian II
December 09, 2011
walt-disney-quoteAs a child, I was very fortunate to have a great family that encouraged me to work hard, do my best, and go after my dreams. I was also blessed throughout school with great friends, coaches, and teachers that helped build my character, knowledge, and imagination. Unfortunately, many young people have not been given this same level of encouragement, but as adults, it is our responsibility to encourage our youth and teach them to go after their dreams... Read More >>

Comparing Modular Construction vs. Stick-Built Construction

Written By: Margie Schramke
December 02, 2011
in-plant-officeWhen expanding your facility, one key decision is the choice between modular construction and traditional stick-built or “hard” construction. Some of the typical considerations when making this choice are cost, lead time, and code requirements. While this is a good starting point, there are other things to consider. Let’s look at the following as a guide to help you compare the two building methods and their benefits... Read More >>
Posted in Guest Posts

The Sensitive Engineer: Using Monte Carlo Simulation to Understand the Sensitivity of a Complex System

Written By: Bastian Solutions
November 23, 2011
understanding-complex-systemsDuring the design process of any system, it is desirable to know how the possible range of input values will affect the system output. One back-of-the-envelope method is to assume the amount of resources the system will use, err on the high side, and protect yourself against failure. However, what if you are designing a race car component? Would it be necessary to always be conservative? If you are, your competitor will be faster, more nimble, and will speed right by your driver. Understanding your risks--or the range of inputs that will play a role in your system design--is the first step in creating a mitigation strategy. Read More >>

Identifying the "Old Bob" in Your Material Handling System

Written By: Max Felger
November 17, 2011
unproductive-materials-handling-systemsTechnology in today's material handling world is changing at a record pace and will only continue that same trend. As I see this pattern, it reminds me of how history really has so many lessons for us today. My dad was a farmer. When I think about all the changes that he saw over the years, I can't help but admire his ability to keep pace with technology and to raise a large family on even a small operation. He was born on the farm and never had a job off that farm a day in his life. The farm was his life. And yet, there was Old Bob... Read More >>

What I Hope to See from Google+ Pages for Business

Written By: Bastian Solutions
November 14, 2011
A week ago today, Google released Google+ Pages for businesses, and I was anxious to see if it had lived up to all of the things I had thought up. You see, I have been thinking about this since Google+ came out and they said it was coming out with pages for businesses. We are a pretty small company compared to a lot of the big players, yet it is already a headache to manage our company’s presence on Google let alone the other networks. The topic of this article is what I am hoping to see pan out in terms of Google+ Pages for businesses and how it could really impact the manageability of marketing efforts. I believe there is a huge opportunity for Google to provide a streamlined approach for managing a business’s online portal. Read More >>

How to Be a Great Material Handling Equipment Partner

Written By: Tim Brown
November 08, 2011
Perfect Material Handling Equipment PartnerI have had the good fortune to have succeeded in the material handling equipment (MHE) industry for more than 27 years now, and during my time in the industry, I have worked with a wide range of customers. Most of them have been excellent partners in the purchasing process; however, some have made the process a bit difficult, resulting in numerous re-quotes and many wasted engineering hours. This not only resulted in frustration for me, but more importantly, frustration and wasted time for them. To avoid those issues and facilitate the process for both parties, here are some basic tips on how to be an excellent material handling equipment partner: Read More >>

4 Ways to Generate New Business in 2012

Written By: Bastian Solutions
November 03, 2011
generating-new-businessA couple weeks ago, I read a great article in Fabricating & Metalworking Magazine titled, "Staying One Up: New Ways of Doing Business." The author, Mike Riley, discussed several ways in which companies could get a step up on their competition. Although his article was aimed at marketing initiatives in the metalworking industry, many of his points were relevant to new business development (NBD) in material handling and other industrial sectors. Looking at a few of Riley's key points, I was able to build some helpful insights for improving business development in the coming year. Read More >>

5 Ways to Support Your Conveyor System, While Conserving Floor Space

Written By: Bill Galbraith
October 27, 2011
Choosing the Right Conveyor SupportsIn years gone by, facility roofs were designed in such a manner that you could just about hang the Queen Mary from them with little regard given to worrying about the roof collapsing or caving in. Nowadays, this is not always the case. With rising costs in steel and labor, roof structures are for the most part designed with the minimum loading allowed by law. This can cause concern when trying to layout a material handling system within a distribution center. Clear floor space is very important to customers, so here are five ways conveyor can be supported without hanging it from your roof or facility structure. Read More >>

Halloween Tips and Tricks for Improving Your Supply Chain

Written By: Bill Bastian II
October 26, 2011
Halloween Tips and Tricks for Improving Your Supply ChainGhosts and goblins aren't just for Halloween anymore! Improve your supply chain by following these 10 tips and tricks from some of your favorite Halloween characters! Read More >>

Safety First: A Review of OSHA Violations and Penalties

Written By: Bastian Solutions
October 21, 2011
OSHA compliance will help you avoid costly penaltiesIn my last blog article, What's the True Cost of Your Corporate Safety Program, I discussed the importance of corporate safety training and some of the most popular OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) citations in 2010. Now I'd like to review some of the costs that occur when workplace safety standards are not followed, which often results in violations with costly penalties that can reach upwards of $500,000, and in some cases, even jail time. Read More >>

The Pros and Cons of Implementing a Robotic Mixed Pallet Building System

Written By: Jason Nowak
October 14, 2011
Robotic Mixed Pallet Building Solutions from BastianThe topic of robotic, or automatic, mixed pallet building has come up quite a bit recently, so I thought I'd share some of the benefits and challenges that go along with it. To give you some background, a few years ago companies started building rainbow packs, which are basically a box or bag of products that contain smaller quantities of different flavors or product lines. This allows consumers to sample a variety of items without buying large quantities of each. So what does all of that have to do with robotic mixed pallet building? Well, the concept of rainbow packs actually stemmed from the advent of mixed pallet building first used by the material handling and logistics industries. Read More >>

Hurry Up... So We Can Save Some Money

Written By: Blain Cook
September 30, 2011
Material Handling Project Bid ProcessIt's always puzzled me as to why so many companies spend months and years planning and designing a project and only give the material handling integrators two weeks to bid. It's also been suggested that tight timelines provide the end user with the best price possible. In my opinion and past experience, this statement couldn't be further from the truth. Read More >>

Gleaners Food Bank Set to Feed More Indiana Children with Automated Assembly Line

Written By: Bastian Solutions
September 30, 2011
Gleaners BackSack ProgramGleaners Food Bank of Indiana supports a wonderful initiative called the BackSacks program, which provides six weekend meals to children from low-income families. In an effort to expand that program to 21 Indiana counties--an additional 7,000 BackSacks every weekend--Gleaners turned to Bastian to design and fabricate a custom assembly line to automate its previously slow, manual process. Read More >>

It's a Great Day to Be an Engineer

Written By: Shelby Shay
September 26, 2011
Engineering Careers at BastianDespite the economic downturn, engineering has been one of the least affected professions. In fact, hiring in the engineering services sector has increased 104% since December of 2009. So what does this mean for you? If you're heading to college, you might consider earning a degree in one of the many engineering fields--there is at least 19--and if you already have an engineering degree, then you're in luck because you and your skill sets are in high demand right now... Read More >>

How Gen Y Can Affect Corporate Culture

Written By: Lisa Rohe
September 15, 2011
A strong corporate or organizational culture is importantMany organizations have begun to see a shift in culture due to the hiring and integration of a new generation of younger employees into their work force. These employees represent Generation X (1962-1979) and Y (1980-2000) and together they bring many different values and beliefs into organizations that have been staffed with Baby Boomers (1946-1961) for many years. Read More >>

Evaluating the Economics Behind Your Project Investment

Written By: Marvin Logan
September 14, 2011
Evaluating the Economics Behind Your Material Handling System InvestmentAs consultants and material handling system integrators, we are often asked to evaluate the economics of capital projects. There are several metrics that can be used to evaluate a project, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. However, we are almost always pressed to say what the "payback period" is of a given project. Every time it happens, my stomach hurts just a little. Read More >>

Material Handling Trends and Technologies Improving the Supply Chain

Written By: Stuart Schneider
September 08, 2011
Voice Recognition Picking TechnologyToday's economic climate has put enormous pressure on companies to obtain quicker returns on their investments, so as manufacturers research and develop new material handling equipment, this issue is becoming increasingly important. Customers want solutions that offer not only a strong return on investment but do so faster than ever before. The material handling industry is responding with new equipment, technology, and systems that enable complete supply chain visibility, thus allowing customers to see how their investments are impacting their overall operation. The following are just a few of the trends and technologies helping to make this possible. Read More >>

No Longer a "Simple" Machine: The Advancement of the Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV)

Written By: Bastian Solutions
September 01, 2011
Pick-n-Go Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV)When you think about an Automated Guided Vehicle -- what typically comes to mind? For many, it is the simple machine used to do little more than move a part or material from one defined location to the next. While AGVs are most well-known for their use in distribution and manufacturing environments, application of the Automated Guided Vehicle has broadened during recent years to include advanced robotics technology that is no longer restricted to the industrial environment. Read More >>

3 Steps to Choosing Material Handling Technologies that Last

Written By: Marvin Logan
August 25, 2011
Choosing Material Handling Technologies that Last3G, 3GLTE®, 4G...ugh!!! Nowadays, it seems as though anytime you turn on the television a newer version of a product you've JUST purchased has come out. Keeping up with the latest and greatest technologies is nothing if not frustrating. To keep up with the rapid pace in which gadgets, software, and computer technologies advance, you'd have to scrap your equipment every 18 months! So the question becomes, how do you provide your company with equipment that is scalable but won't be out grown in the next few years? Whether it's a new tablet PC, smart phone, or state-of-the-art conveyor system, there are several factors that one should consider when looking into a new technology. Read More >>

How the Material Handling Industry Sparked a Marketing Craze

Written By: Stefanie Hardy
August 18, 2011
QR Codes in the Material Handling IndustryAs surprising as it might seem, the material handling industry was the founder of today's current marketing craze--the quick response (QR) code. That little black and white square now seen everywhere from your Starbucks cup to movie posters was originally used by vehicle manufacturers to track parts. In recent years, however, the QR code has transitioned into a handy little marketing tool, great for increasing customer engagement and providing additional information. Read More >>

4 Keys to Great Human-Machine Interfaces

Written By: Bastian Solutions
August 12, 2011
Human Machine Interface screenshotA Human-Machine Interface (HMI) is a user interface through which humans and machines interact; the interface provides an operator with a graphic representation of the machine or operating system and then allows the operator to monitor and control that piece of equipment or system. There are numerous design principles and guidelines involved with designing an HMI, so I've narrowed the list to what I think are the most important aspects to great industrial user interfaces... Read More >>

22 Factors that Can Affect Employee Motivation & Engagement

Written By: Bill Bastian II
August 02, 2011
Employee EngagementThe magic ingredient to a winning team is their commitment, motivation, and engagement to each other and the goals of the team. Creating an environment that motivates employees is one of the toughest challenges our managers and leaders face today. It takes tremendous energy and time to build a motivated team, but the incremental benefits are critical to the long-term success of the organization. Read More >>

If Your Business Isn't Using Online Video, It Should Be...

Written By: Eric Brunkow
July 26, 2011
importance of online videoWhether you're selling material handling systems or the latest fashions, using online video can be a great way to showcase your business and products.  Not convinced? Check out my video to find out the benefits of online video and how to use it properly.

The #1 Way to Increase the ROI of Your Automation System

Written By: Jason Nowak
July 20, 2011
Employee Training Increases ROISo you're planning to invest, or have already invested, thousands or millions of dollars in your industrial automation system to ensure the long-term growth and success of your company. That's great!  Now it's time to make a relatively small investment that will help you maximize the return on investment (ROI) from your new system, and here's how... Read More >>

The Lipstick and Rouge behind the Material Handling Industry

Written By: Eric Brunkow
July 13, 2011
Material Handling System RenderingI have the privilege of being surrounded by very bright, brilliant, and talented individuals on a daily basis. They take complicated problems associated with the material handling industry, and come up with amazing engineered solutions to those problems. Those engineered solutions are then most commonly expressed in some sort of technical document along with an engineering drawing. Within that drawing, exists brilliance and beauty; however, not everyone has the ability to see that, which is where the lipstick and rouge come in. Read More >>

Who You Gonna Call? A Sales Engineer!

Written By: Roger Wilke
July 07, 2011
If your business is in manufacturing or distribution, you are likely faced with a common dilemma in today's business environment -- lack of resources. Nowadays, businesses stay very lean in terms of personnel, and this often leads to some troubling questions for management. One answer might lie in the availability of a good field sales engineer. A field sales engineer (FSE) is an individual with both the sales and engineering experience needed to address technical solutions for your business. Read More >>

4 Project Management Lessons I Learned From Kids

Written By: Bastian Solutions
July 01, 2011
Project Management: Mentoring a FIRST Lego League TeamI spent the last year helping some middle school students start a robotics club. We had a ton of fun, some challenges, very little money and in the end ... a very big success. There were quite a few lessons I learned as a professional project manager that, as it turns out, it takes a child to teach (or at least reinforce)... Read More >>

Warehouse Safety Profile: Southern Wine and Spirits

Written By: Bastian Solutions
June 28, 2011
Stop Sign Small - Warehouse SafetyRecently our team visited the Southern Wine and Spirits distribution center near Indianapolis, Ind, to see how they handle safety in their facility. As you can imagine, with the fragile nature of their products, accidents generally lead to product destruction. Combine that with the fact that many of their products cost much more per gallon then the $4.50 gasoline you're currently putting in your car, and you can easily see why safety is critical here. Every bottle broken or box dropped directly eats away at their bottom line. The following is list of just some of the safety solutions Southern Wine and Spirits uses to protect their workers and products... Read More >>

Change Management: 8 Tips to Successfully Implement a New Technology

Written By: Aaron Jones
June 21, 2011
Change ManagementThe world is full of companies that have excelled in their market for decades with antiquated operational methods. In fact, I continually encounter companies that have prospered for 40+ years with unchanged processes, and it's hard to argue their past success. More often than not, the leadership within these companies knows there is a more effective way to operationally function through interaction with their peer groups and other educational resources. However, there is also a culture within these companies that often chooses to leave the boat "un-rocked." Read More >>

Choosing Between a Robotics Integrator or Manufacturer

Written By: Jason Nowak
June 13, 2011
Robotic Automation: Integrator vs. ManufacturerI've been in the industrial robotics industry for nearly a decade and during my career, I've had the opportunity to work for both integrators and for a manufacturer of industrial robotic arms. One of the questions that I've had many clients ask me over the years is whether they should buy a robotic solution directly from the manufacturer or from an integrator. Read More >>

Finding the Perfect Automated Storage and Retrieval System

Written By: Derek Cribley
June 09, 2011
Automated Storage and Retrieval ASRS RenderingLast month a colleague of mine, Derek Cribley, wrote a blog article about the evolution of Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS) since he first started working with them 15 years ago. To give you an appreciation for the breadth of solutions available, I thought I could share my experience from a recent project I worked on involving an ASRS system for pallet storage. Read More >>

Emerging Technologies: Mobile Robotics in Distribution Center Automation

Written By: Bill Bastian II
June 08, 2011
Advancements in RoboticsWhen you think about warehouse or distribution center automation, what equipment comes to mind--conveyor systems, conventional palletizers, or maybe sortation systems? Although each is extremely useful in today's warehouse and DC automation, the introduction of advanced mobile robotics will change the landscape of tomorrow's industrial facilities. Read More >>

3 Easy Ways to Incorporate Green Best Practices into the Material Handling Industry

Written By: Bill Bastian II
June 02, 2011
Sustainability in Material HandlingWith the economic recovery moving at a snail's pace and the cost of raw materials and fuel continuing to rise, manufacturers are continually challenged to find ways to incorporate green sustainability solutions into their material handling processes. If I were to ask you to write down three ways in which your company has risen to the challenge of environmental sustainability, what would your responses be? Read More >>

Engineering Consulting Studies: A Road Map to Success

Written By: Bastian Solutions
May 25, 2011
Engineering Consulting Studies: A Road Map to SuccessAthletes train tirelessly to master their chosen skill. Countless hours are dedicated to perfect each movement, lower reaction time, and increase strength. The same can be said for professionals and laborers alike. Each group either does or can benefit from dedicated, focused instruction. Whether it is a coach, a professor, or a mentor, these individuals provide guidance to ensure correct implementation of vital tasks. Read More >>

3 Ways to Reduce Supply Chain Costs

Written By: Aaron Jones
May 18, 2011
Semi-Trailer at Loading DockWhether you believe the peak oil theory or not, the cost of crude oil continues to rise causing a major affect on a variety of supply chain costs. Last year, I listened to an economist talk about the influence of rising oil prices, and how it will change the logistics industry as we've known it in recent years. At the time I was skeptical of his predictions. Today with gasoline prices at $4.15 per gallon and rising, I'm starting to believe what he had to say. Here's why....... Read More >>

To Move or Not to Move...Your Existing Material Handling Equipment

Written By: Gregg Durham
May 13, 2011
Shipping Material Handling EquipmentWhen companies are moving to a new facility, I'm frequently asked whether it's better to move existing equipment to the new location or to purchase new, and my usual answer is that it depends on many factors. Now I know this really isn't an answer at all, but the decision can't be made without first asking several important questions. Read More >>

Creating Effective Safety Training for Your Employees

Written By: Derek Cribley
May 03, 2011
Workers in Safety GearIn 2009, 4,340 fatal work injuries were reported in the U.S. Although that number is lower than in previous years, the importance of providing a safe work environment is still a very big issue for many employers. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) mandates that business owners must provide safety training to all employees. However, owners are given the option of deciding what kind of training will be done and what topics will be covered as it relates to their business. Read More >>

Thinking Outside the Box is Key to Innovative Solutions

Written By: Matt Kohler
April 28, 2011
Big Idea Light Bulb: Thinking Outside the BoxIn today's business world, many employees--including myself from time to time--wear multiple hats on a day-to-day basis. These additional responsibilities, combined with a decreasing amount of time in which to do them, create an atmosphere in which out-of-the-box thinking is often lost. Read More >>

Is Social Media Just a Fad for B2B Companies?

Written By: Bastian Solutions
April 21, 2011
Groovy Social Media Graphic SmallRegardless of popular belief, social media isn't a new concept. It's been around in the form of word-of-mouth since the beginning of time. It's in our nature to want to share information and our experiences, whether good or bad. In fact, and I'm sure this is true with many companies, word-of mouth is Bastian's number one form of new business, and with the onset of social media, customers now have even more ways to connect with and talk about their favorite brands and companies. Read More >>

Tips for Purchasing Material Handling Equipment Online

Written By: Bastian Solutions
April 15, 2011
In an earlier post E-commerce: Buying MH Equipment Online"People Think Purchasing Material Handling Equipment Online is Scary..." I spent some time discussing the two most common reasons people find purchasing material handling equipment online scary. Today, I would like to explore how ancient proverbs can guide your way when making these purchases. These tips should make purchasing everything from casters and lift tables, to conveyors and conveyor parts

5 Easy Ways to Show People Respect and Gratitude

Written By: Bill Bastian II
April 06, 2011
Saying Thank You in Different LanguagesWhether between spouses, friends, coworkers, or business acquaintances, if there is a history of mutual respect and sincere gratitude, the people involved are generally happier and more successful. We live in a world where there are many differences between people, but with an open mind and an appreciation of each person's contributions to this world, we strengthen our relationships and our community.

Energy Efficiency is King at ProMat 2011

Written By: Blake Bearden
March 30, 2011
Energy Efficiency GraphMajor trade shows like ProMat are where we, as materials handling professionals, expect to find the latest and greatest in innovative solutions to bring back to our customers. While attending ProMat last week, I was definitely not disappointed. There were over 700 exhibitors and 80 educational seminars packed into just four days. Needless to say, there was much to see and do! This year's show really seemed to have a common theme--energy efficiency.

The New World of Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems

Written By: Derek Cribley
March 25, 2011
The New Frontier in ASRSAs I was recently working on an Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS)project, I had the opportunity to reflect on how much the technology has changed in just the past few years. One of the more valuable references I was using--from the Material Handling Institute of America--divided the ASRS technology into two main families: fixed aisle and carousel/vertical left module (VLM). However, some of the new advances in ASRS have a hard time fitting into either of these categories.

Benefits of Single Sourcing Your Manufacturing Automation Partner

Written By: Bastian Solutions
March 22, 2011
Censored Content StampWith the summer project season just around the corner many industrial manufacturing companies are shoring up plans for their big projects. I recently had the pleasure to walk a manufacturing plant from front to back and back to front again in search of automated material handling opportunities. It certainly was a shocking experience because in this case, the client went naked! While this client was the expert on their systems and operations, a trained eye in material handling-- especially robotic --was a welcome investment of their time.

Out With the Old, In With the Newly Retrofitted Conveyor

Written By: Dan Williams
March 17, 2011
Roller ConveyorOut with the old and in with the new is a common phrase and common practice for most people in today's world. For example if your toaster stops working, what are you going to do? Chances are you will probably just throw it away and buy a new toaster... out with the old, in with the new. However, if your car is having a problem, more than likely you aren't going to just throw it away and get a new one. It's too expensive for that. In most cases, you find out what the problem is and have it fixed. I would like to teach you how you can treat your conveyor system more like your car and less like your toaster.

Serapid: The Chain That Pushes the Engineering Envelope

Written By: Bastian Solutions
March 07, 2011
Engineering Innovation There are a few things all engineers hold sacred, including F=ma (force=mass x acceleration), the first law of thermodynamics, Tesla's genius, and you can't push a rope, but what if you could push a chain? That's the sort of paradigm shifting technology that Serapid produces. If you check out their website, you will see mind-bending applications of a chain that can push thousands of pounds at shocking speeds: 60-200 feet per minute. As a design engineer, it is difficult to package linear actuators in a confined space, but that's exactly what Serapid has done with its chain technology.

Easy Money: Evaluating the Tax Relief Act of 2010

Written By: Marvin Logan
March 03, 2011
Saving Money on Material Handling EquipmentThe Tax Relief Act of 2010 has an interesting implication to those contemplating the purchase of material handling equipment in 2011. Section 179 of the IRS tax code was changed to allow businesses to deduct the FULL PURCHASE PRICE of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during the tax year.

From Military Satellites to Material Handling, Engineering Processes are Key

February 25, 2011
Aerospace Industry versus Material Handling IndustryIn the past several months, I have been making the (more or less) smooth transition between my previous career as an engineering manager in the aerospace sector and my new role in the material handling industry with Bastian. While originally it was somewhat scary to move from one industry to another, I was pleased to discover the many connections between my previous career and my new one. Read More >>

Overview of WestPack 2011

Written By: Blake Bearden
February 17, 2011
WestPack Trade show LogoBastian Material Handling and our sister company, ASAP Automation, recently had the opportunity to exhibit at WestPack in Anaheim, CA, February 8 through 10. For those of you who don't know, WestPack is one of the premier trade shows in the U.S., and the only trade show on the West Coast that addresses the material handling industry. All-in-all, the event showcases packaging and processing machinery, materials, and associated technologies from companies throughout the U.S. Read More >>

The Material Handling Industry: More Exciting Than You Think

Written By: Bastian Solutions
February 11, 2011
Robotic End of Arm Tooling (EoAT)Before I accepted my position as a research and development engineer at Bastian Material Handling, I only knew of a peripheral definition for material handling. This was due to my focus as an undergrad in automotive engineering, with some topical interest in aerospace and biomechanics. I had the impression that between these three fields, the most important and exciting engineering work was being done. After beginning my career at Bastian, I was pleased to find out that material handling is chock full of challenging engineering problems and the possible solutions were as varied and unique as the products they handle. Read More >>

Top 10 Ways to Accomplish Your 2011 Strategic Goals

Written By: Bill Bastian II
February 08, 2011
Larry the Cable Guy - Git R DoneMost successful businesses devote considerable time and energy to establishing annual strategic goals. So now that the goals have been set, what's the secret to getting them accomplished? No doubt this is tough because the day-to-day, urgent tasks tend to push annual goals to the back burner. Read More >>

Let Your Material Handling System Define Your Building

Written By: Bastian Solutions
February 03, 2011
Building Plan DevelopersI want to challenge anyone involved in the leasing, acquisition, or development of industrial real estate to incorporate your company's material handling solution into your building design and/or specifications. Looking first at the processes inside a building and then establishing building parameters will lead to increased efficiencies and more cost-effective solutions. Read More >>

Robotic Palletizing vs. Conventional Automated Palletizing

Written By: Bastian Solutions
January 26, 2011
Robotic Palletizing from Bastian RoboticsWhen a business decides to automate its palletizing process, there are essentially two choices: robotic or conventional. What are the differences between these two technologies? What are the advantages? First, let's discuss robotic palletizers. The key component in a robotic palletizer is....drum roll please....you guessed it, a robot. A robot is usually defined as an electro-mechanical machine guided by computer or electronic programming, and thus, able to do tasks on its own. Read More >>

Lean Six Sigma Part II: Do You Know What Your Customers Want?

Written By: Bastian Solutions
January 20, 2011
Guy Contemplating Customer NeedsAs an officer in the U.S. Air Force, I was responsible for the phase inspection of our bomber aircraft. The team took the aircraft down for inspection, repairs, and preventative maintenance of safety-of-flight and mission-critical items. Our maintenance group commander, a colonel, constantly challenged our quality assurance (QA) pass rates on phase inspections. The goal was 96 percent, and on average, the unit hit that mark. "Not good enough," the colonel kept saying month after month. Read More >>

The Importance of Optimizing Your Packing Process

Written By: Bastian Solutions
January 13, 2011
Manual Packing Station in WarehouseFor most companies, warehouse efficiency has become a matter of survival versus the profitability goals of a few years ago. Thus, most companies are looking for even more ways to make their day-to-day processes more efficient. Depending on the SKU's mix, efficiencies in the picking process are as unique as the stars; but regardless of how efficiently items are picked, each individual order still needs to be packaged and marked for transit before shipment, making efficient packaging methods very important. Read More >>

UPS is Making Logistics a Household Word; For That We Say Thank You UPS

Written By: Bastian Solutions
January 07, 2011
We Love Logistics - Product ShipmentYou've probably seen the new UPS commercials on TV--the spots singing about logistics to the tune of "That's Amore." I would argue that most people don't spend too much time thinking about where their "stuff" comes from, but UPS is on a mission to change that. As a behind the scenes logistics specialist, Bastian Material Handling loves logistics, too, so we're excited that UPS is helping others love it as well. Read More >>
Posted in Industry News

7 Industrial Robotics Hazards and How to Avoid Them

Written By: Steven Hogg
January 05, 2011
BMH Industrial Robots - Robotic ArmMany companies wonder whether robots are safe to implement in their facility. Although an industrial robot will improve the ergonomic conditions in a production area, there is a perception that the robot will create an unsafe work environment. Although industrial robots do contain some potential hazards, they are all preventable as long as workers are well educated on the robotic system and the robotic integrator has fulfilled all job requirements, including proper installation, programming, and risk assessment. Read More >>

Top 3 Reasons to Consider Material Handling System Simulation

Written By: Marvin Logan
December 29, 2010
Material Handling and Industrial SimulationWhen most people hear the word "simulation," they often envision a flight simulator (circa 1986 Top Gun), a race car game, or possibly even this theory that suggests we actually live inside of a massive computer model--wow! Nonetheless, individuals don't often realize the benefits and applications of simulation in the material handling world. To showcase the usefulness and advantages of material handling simulations I've included the top 3 reasons one should consider simulating their current or future processes.

Controls Engineering Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Written By: Ron Daggett
December 23, 2010
Electrical Grounding and Bonding book by J. Philip SimmonsThose of you in the business of making electricity do what you want it to do have all been there, whether you are an electrician, electrical engineer, or controls engineer you have been in a position where you have unnecessarily beat your head against the wall trying to solve a problem. When it is all said and done you realize that the root cause of the problem could have easily been avoided had you taken a few simple steps up front. From the "School of Hard Knocks," here are a few learned lessons that might be helpful to you.

What's the True Cost of Your Corporate Safety Program

Written By: Bastian Solutions
December 21, 2010
safety in the workplace, safety equipmentFew of us have been able to escape the unwanted, but necessary, cost-cutting initiatives of our employers during the past three years of the recession. In the interest of self preservation, we have combed through each line item of the corporate budget looking for hidden treasures to help sustain us until consumer demand returns. In addition to reducing the true costs of our goods and services, we have also turned to cost avoidance initiatives to help shore up the bottom line by delaying a multitude of expenditures, such as upgrading machinery, hiring new employees, and training efforts. This short-sited approach is great in the near term, but in the rush to save one dollar today, we often times fail to fully consider the long-term implications.
Posted in Education

Keys to a Successful Mezzanine Design

Written By: Chris Longstreth
December 16, 2010
Wildeck Multiple-Level MezzanineMany material handling projects today include high tech "wizardry" such as robots, Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS), or Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV). These types of equipment all have their place and serve their function well; however, we can't lose sight of the basic, less heralded, building blocks of a great system. One of these building blocks is a mezzanine.

The Value of Engineering in our Society

Written By: Mark Colzani
December 14, 2010
Shipping and Distribution InnovationsI recently attended a career fair at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, a leading engineering institution in the U.S. Aside from finding great engineering talent, one of my favorite things to do at a career fair is observe the young engineering students as they interact with each other and the recruiters. It is a perfect opportunity for me to get in touch with what is in effect the future of engineering in our society. As I watched them, I wondered if they truly realized how much their talents and future contributions are needed for the betterment of our society.
Posted in Education

Lean Six Sigma Part I: What is Lean Six Sigma?

Written By: Bastian Solutions
December 09, 2010
Lean Six Sigma diagramOver the course of my career, I have had several employees, colleagues and corporate leaders ask me about Lean Six Sigma. Most simply ask, "What is it?" Literature on Lean Six Sigma includes thousands of books, while online materials have become even more prevalent. Explaining what encompasses Lean Six Sigma can be difficult, but in simplest terms, Lean Six Sigma serves as both a framework and vehicle for quality, innovation and customer satisfaction.

Mentoring a FIRST Robotics Team

Written By: Colin Shipley
December 08, 2010
Robots Compete at FIRST Robotics CompetitionWhat inspired you to be an engineer? For me, it was my involvement in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) Robotics Competition. I would not be where I am today if I was not inspired by FIRST, so I wanted to give back in any way I could. The best way I could do that was to become a mentor for a local FIRST Team. Now I have the privilege of working with future engineers and computer scientists, and I get to show them the methods while letting them work out the solutions.

Purchasing Material Handling Equipment Online Doesn’t Have to be Scary

Written By: Bastian Solutions
December 01, 2010
Online Shopping CartFrom the start, everyone's comfort level when purchasing material handling equipment online is low. Since material handling orders are typically large, pulling the trigger for an online order can be intimidating. However, one of the most reassuring parts of purchasing online is that good e-commerce sites have learned best practices over the last two decades and have applied these lessons to today's B2B transactions. A good online material handling equipment provider will offer you an easy and secure way to purchase your equipment regardless of whether you are ordering a $10 caster or $20,000 worth of conveyor.

Patents in the Material Handling Industry

Written By: Bill Bastian II
November 12, 2010
United States Patent and Trademark Office logoOver the last 10 years or so, I have learned about the trials and tribulations of filing patents in the material handling and industrial automation industries. The subject matter has been across the board from electronic picking devices to robotic AS/RS. Fortunately, we have had very talented patent attorneys assisting us throughout each process, but whether you have a patent attorney or are going it alone, the basic steps to obtaining a patent remain the same.
Posted in Education

Lessons Learned from Conveyor Design: A Modular Conveyor Development Success

Written By: Bastian Solutions
November 05, 2010
Small Items on ConveyorWhen Bastian partnered with Blue Arc Engineering to design ZiPline conveyor, a zero accumulation conveyor, we knew that there would be hundreds of different products that would have to be conveyed. Thus, we manufactured a conveyor that could handle very small products as well as large and heavy boxes on inclines, declines and horizontal conveying applications. We learned a lot from turning modular product development into “Modular Conveyor Development."

Can You Cut the Size of Your Warehouse in Half?

Written By: Bastian Solutions
October 15, 2010
Robotic Palletizing ArmWe’re working on a robotic work cell for a customer right now that has sparked interest from everyone who’s seen it, so I thought I would spread the word. Our client ships bags of products worldwide, so various languages and marking schemes are needed to satisfy regulations in destination countries. Currently, they must warehouse pallets of product with all these variations. Of course, orders are received for quantities greater or less than the quantity on hand causing upsets in production scheduling and delays in filling orders.

Distribution and Change Management

Written By: Bastian Solutions
October 12, 2010
Change Management and the Distribution and Manufacturing IndustriesI was involved in a project not too long ago in which it became apparent that the client’s change management process was severely under-addressed. Historically, it seems that change management in the distribution industry has generally been one of those processes which happens in an ad-hoc, contemporaneous fashion rather than being a proactive tool or set of principles to systematically smooth over what can be a step-wise function in the adoption of technology.