Archive for April, 2010

High-Performance Industrial Shelving

April 29, 2010

It’s nice to be appreciated.  I had a customer call yesterday afternoon to tell me how happy he was with the quality of the industrial shelving we shipped to his facility.  In the past, his company had purchased small amounts of shelving at the local home center.  It was falling down and shelves were bending, so he called us for some industrial-grade shelving. 

There is a big difference between Industrial rated shelving and consumer.  If you look on the label at the big box store, most of those shelving units are only rated for 200 lb. TOTAL.  Our lightest-weight shelving is rated for 450 lbs. PER SHELF up to a maximum of 10,000 per unit.  No problem with that bending or falling over. 

And the capacity increases for other applications; as much as 2000 lbs per shelf.  Getting industrial shelving is worth it and the cost difference isn’t that great.


Buying Pallet Racking- What you should know

April 27, 2010

This morning a customer called looking for some old Penco rack beams in an odd size.  It is mostly impossible to find this stuff any more.  A standard developed in the rack marketplace about 1996: Teardrop Style.  For companies that buy used rack for their warehouses, it is important to know what you are buying.  If you buy most any other “style” of racking, then it is highly likely that it has been in use much longer than the RMI ( Rack Manufacturers Institute) guideline for life span.  You may also find that it is very difficult to find additional rack or components to match. 

Most companies will no longer accept used rack due to the liability issues.  Used rack doesn’t come with a warranty, so the buyer is on the line for failures.  Some insurance companies will walk away from covering used rack since there really isn’t any way to verify the load rating of the rack.  If you are trying to save money by buying used rack, then take the time to get educated on the specifications for this product.  Make sure that what you are buying is not damaged (particularly at the base of uprights), industry standard and originally had enough capacity for your products.

Modular InPlant Offices

April 23, 2010
In Plant Office

In Plant Office in Warehouse

Today has been all about InPlant offices. A modular office can be a big bonus in industrial spaces. For a company that needs a warehouse office, lunchroom, storage areas or wants to cut noise and dust from a manufacturing area, modular InPlant offices offer many advantages.

Some companies think that general construction is better, but there are many disadvantages to stick building a structure. Modular offices ship in about 4 weeks and are fully assembled on the site, often in a couple of days. There is no mess, drywall dust or paint needed. If your company moves, then you can just take that structure along. Not so for constructed offices. Changing configurations or adding additional space is a breeze with modular systems. Since the IPO depreciates as equipment, your ROI is much better than 39.5 years of depreciation for construction.

A big benefit of InPlant offices is the sound reduction quality. A standard office can reduce the noise level 32db from the ambient plant noise. There are special panels available at a nominal cost that offer a 41db decrease.

Spring-Loaded Dock Plate

April 22, 2010
We got a product announcement today from Bluff Manufacturing. The new product is a spring-loaded dock plate. The aluminum plate is fitted with a spring-loaded mechanism that fixes it in place to the dock floor. The springs allow the plate to be safely lowered into place for use and then easily returned to a vertical position for storage. No more injuries from handling dock plates and no chance of losing it! In addition, the plate in its vertical stored position serves as a guard from items rolling off the dock. 

 The spring-loaded dock plate is ideal for a dock situation where the same type of trucks service the dock and the materials are unloaded by non-powered equipment, such as a a dollie, manual pallet jack, cart or hand truck. This product is not meant for use with forklifts or powered equipment of any kind.

This type of dock plate is designed specifically for each application, so a survey of the site must be completed. This is a great product solution to a common loading problem. It is an excellent addition to Bluff’s quality product line.  



Safety Railing and Bollards

April 20, 2010
I had a call from a prospect today about safety railing and bollards. They have an application where they need the protection of a rail or bollard, but they need to be able to remove them easily when moving large equipment through the plant. There are a couple of solutions to this problem.
Safety railing is available with removable rails. This allows access to electrical panels or other plant

Utilities. The rails fit into a slot so that they can just be lifted out. Normal rail systems would be bolted, and could be removed, but would require some tools and time.

There are also removable bollards in a couple of styles. Both versions require a base, which is placed down into the concrete. One style has a flange that projects up out of the concrete several inches. The bollard snaps over and locks onto the flange. The second style is flush with the floor and the locking mechanism is below the floor. The bollard fits into the sleeve and has a twist lock. This style also has a cap, so there can be a completely flush floor when needed.

Another style of bollard is collapsible. These bollards have a pin at the bottom, which pulls out and allows the bollard to fold to the floor. This leaves about a 3″ profile. These are nice if you regularly need to move

The bollard, but they are more “visual” and offer much less impact resistance than other bollards.

We get a lot of complaints about bollards and the damage to forklifts. Bollards protect vital areas of the facility, but they can cause major damage to lift trucks. Damage can be minimized by using a foam cover on the bollard. That won’t help if the forklift hits it at top speed, but it certainly helps with the scrapes and minor impacts.

Using X-Y Cranes

April 19, 2010

My interesting call today was from Ireland. A gentleman with a deep Irish brogue related that he has a need to create a “filling station” for a bottling plant. The workers use a hose to fill the bottles and the hoses are unwieldy. They want to create a retractable system, much like you see on the hoses at the gas station, to keep the hoses supported and out-of-the-way when not in use. We can accomplish this by using a X-Y bridge crane and some heavy-duty tool balancers. This type of crane allows a user to move anywhere within an X-Y grid and use still the attachment.  A 1000 lb load will feel like a load of 10 lbs. to the worker. 

We use these cranes for hoists and vacuum lifters for a huge variety of applications. I know that it is a personal preference, but I like this type of crane much more than a jib or cantilever style crane. They are much more adaptable for changing manufacturing and handling situations. The tracks for these cranes are closed, so they don’t accumulate dirt that bogs down the works. The cranes are really easy to operate and workers seem to like them much more that jibs, which only move in a circular area.

X-Y bridge cranes cost more than jibs, however, the installation is normally much easier and less expensive than jibs, so I think it is a good trade-off. The bridge crane is much easier to move or re-configure in the future. Many jibs require a big concrete footing, so it is a major production to relocate this type of crane.

A good X-Y bridge crane can really improve productivity.

Industrial Knife Safety

April 16, 2010

Every year numerous injuries are caused by box cutters and knives used in industrial workplaces.  These cuts can be minor, but it is easy to get a serious cut from these devices.  I had a customer contact me this morning asking for an Industrial Safety Knife with a guarded blade.  We have them, and sell them to a number of companies. 

Injuries usually occur when someone puts an unguarded knife into a pocket and slices into their skin, when replacing or disposing of used blades, or when cutting heavy materials and slipping past the cutting area to cut or stab their own body.  The safety knives we have employ a guard.  There is a release button to engage, so that you can only make one cut.  The guard over the blade snaps closed when it is not in contact with material and/or the release is not engaged.  The entire knife is disposable, so there is no blade replacement.  I have a couple of horror stories about how people got injured while performing blade replacements!

I won’t say that you cannot get injured with this knife, but you really have to try.  I had one company tell me that before they starting using these guarded knives, they had a knife injury that cost them $8000 in medical bills.  A $3.00 safety knife seems like a bargain.