The Material Handling Blog

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Top 5 Benefits of Pick to Light Explained

January 05, 2022
Pick to light has become a staple of warehouse distribution and order picking. Here are the top 5 benefits. What if there was an easier, automated way to locate these items? Say, when you want to find an item a beacon of light illuminates to direct you to the appropriate aisle, and then another beacon of light illuminates to get you to the correct shelf, and eventually the exact location on the shelf.

6 Ways to Maximize Your Warehouse Software Support Plan

December 22, 2021
Who Needs Support? Everyone. Simply put, any warehouse software system with automation should require a support plan with immediate access to technicians to troubleshoot critical issues. Downtime for fulfillment operations quickly adds up to lost revenue and the ability to restore operations is critical, especially for systems that rely on heavy automation. Without dedicated support, operations will be at the mercy of their software partners existing backlog. Priority is given to the customers with current support contracts. This can lead to long response times, and an inability for partners to commit to resolution dates for those without contracts in place. If critical issues do pop up that can be expedited, they typically come at a very high hourly rate for the effort. Don’t get caught in a tough situation. Here are six details worth knowing about warehouse software support plans.

A Few Points to Remember When Palletizing Bags

December 16, 2021
Putting 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 >>

Designing an Optimal Pallet Monorail System

December 01, 2021
When it comes to pallet transport, pallet monorail systems offer a solution that can be significantly less expensive than an equivalent roller conveyor system. Accommodating various applications and adjustable for performance levels, once you’ve determined that a pallet monorail system is the right transportation solution for your application, the next step is putting together an initial concept design.

When is it Time to Introduce Automated Vehicles to Your Distribution Center?

November 01, 2021
Bastian Solutions and Toyota Assist with Automation in Warehouses It’s no secret that ecommerce has changed the way people shop as well as how quickly customers expect to receive their orders. This expectation of fast delivery puts pressure on distribution centers to operate faster and more efficiently than ever before. So, how do you make sure your business can compete in today’s ever-changing, high-demand environment? The solution is automated guided vehicles (AGVs). While traditional forklifts such as order pickers, reach trucks and stackers are extremely useful for managing inventory and transporting heavy products, it is beneficial to have automated systems in place to take some of the complex work out of fulfillment. How do you determine when it’s time to integrate an automated vehicle solution in your DC (distribution centers)? Discover how these automated systems can help you navigate your warehouse confidently and take your operation to new heights.

Employee Safety: 5 Key PPE to Prevent Common Warehouse Injuries

October 28, 2021
Safety first. That can’t be stressed enough. Over the last five years, fatal workplace injuries are on the rise and non-fatal injuries has slowly decreased. The most recent November 2020 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed that throughout 2019 there were 5,333 fatal work injuries, a 2 percent increase from year prior. Non-fatal injuries, however, remain mostly unchanged but are in a downward trend compared to the last few years. They stand at 2.8 non-fatal injuries per 100 full-time workers. Employee safety and protection has been a primary concern with the COVID-19 pandemic but the leading causes for non-fatal and fatal injuries are still crucial to keep in mind – falls, slips, trips, contact with objects and equipment, exposure to harmful substances, fires and explosions, and transportation accidents.

Manufacturing Automation: 3 Key Technologies for Improved Safety and ROI

October 06, 2021
Manufacturing is without doubt one of the largest economic sectors, contributing 11% of total GDP in the U.S. Like several markets, manufacturers felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and are trying to reach pre-pandemic levels. Manufacturing processes are being forced to be reviewed for more efficient and leaner operations, to accommodate employment challenges and improve labor safety, all while keeping operating costs low and return on investment high. Compact and scalable automation options are trending across consumer-facing markets like grocery and retail but when it comes to manufacturing, leading advanced technologies are also proving to be foundational for future growth.

Is a Pallet Monorail System the Right Transport Solution?

September 08, 2021
Goods to person and goods to robot solutions are trending topics when it comes to distribution fulfillment but what about heavier and larger pallet transport? Pallet monorail systems are one of the fastest and most efficient ways to transport pallet loads throughout a facility. This technology goes by many different names including “Electrified Floor Track System (EFTS)”, “Electrified Monorail System (EMS)”, or sometimes just “Monorail.” In the most general sense, a monorail system is comprised of two key elements: - Track - provides guidance and power - Trolleys - physically move the pallets along the track system; self-propelled The scalability makes them a great investment, less than a roller conveyor system, and an option worth considering. Below we take a look at standard ways this solution can optimize your operations.

Designing a Sortation Solution: 3 Keys to Consider

September 01, 2021
The Director of Fulfillment assigns you a project to specify a new sorter and conveyor system that’s capable of ‘doubling’ current capacities. Where do you start? First, start by understanding and challenging the true sortation and system requirements. Conveyor and sortation systems are engineered solutions. Like most engineering problems, the solution is typically only as good as its inputs. Accurate data upfront ensures the solution is tailored to your individual business requirements and product specifications.

Cold Food Storage: Leveraging 5 Key Automation Technologies

August 25, 2021
Real estate is a hot item right now. Coupled with changing consumer grocery and ecommerce buying habits and frozen goods growth, cold storage is in demand. Whether a metropolitan location, to satisfy microfulfillment and hyperlocal needs, or as a regional distribution center, commercial real estate availability has dropped according to Real Capital Analytics. Cold storage industry growth, however, is projected at 4.5% by 2023. This means storage providers are faced with the challenge of optimizing facilities while handling increased inventory volumes and speed. How can cold chain supply professionals effectively prepare for this expected growth? By eliminating inefficiencies and leveraging the right material handling automation.

5 Considerations for Retail E-Fulfillment Polybag Packing Automation

July 28, 2021
Bag or box? They aren’t the only packing options, but they are certainly the most prevalent when it comes to retail fulfillment. With ecommerce activity on the rise, planning for and designing DC efficiency around single order pick and pack operations is a necessary shift to remaining competitive in the retail industry. Not only does this factor into meeting consumers’ quick turnaround expectations but also in keeping costs low. When it comes to packing and shipping, you can make efficiencies in larger factors such as operations and system design but also in smaller details like the size of the parcel. Shipping fast and cost efficiently is a balancing act that starts in warehouse or distribution center design. Whether you are working with polybags, boxes or both, appropriate automation sizing and integration with surrounding equipment has immediate and lasting impacts.

3 Common Processes You Can Automate with AGVs

July 07, 2021
“Automate it.” Every industrial engineer is familiar with this phrase, whether it comes from executives or industry demand. Today’s businesses are always looking to make their processes more efficient and flexible, and automation can be one of the best tools to achieve these goals in light of business growth and market changes. Reaping the most benefit from a modernized system isn’t easy and requires careful planning. Achieving operational goals of increased productivity and decreased waste within your budget, are a significant challenge. No two automated material handling solutions are ever the same. Each company and industry sector may require different solutions based on their specific objectives, parameters and constraints.
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