Archive for May, 2010

Can Material Handling Products be Green?

May 26, 2010

A customer called to day to discuss their pressing need for more space in their warehouse. They have a company directive to improve their efforts to be “Green”. After learning more about the situation, I suggested that an In-Plant office with storage on top would allow them to clear some valuable real estate. The customer asked me why InPlant offices are green.

There are a number of reasons. The first is that the construction takes place in a manufacturing facility, so materials can be more effectively used with less waste.

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Freight Elevator or Vertical Conveyor?

May 24, 2010

A potential customer called today with a dilemma.  He has a new building going up and will need a way to move material to a second level of the building.   He has been told that he will need a freight elevator, but he doesn’t have the budget.  He asked if we had any solutions.

An affordable alternative to a freight elevator is a Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor or VRC.  This equipment is designed to move materials, not people, so it is much less expensive (1/3 the cost) of a freight elevator. 

The VRC is generally designed for the application, to the load sizes, weights and characteristics of each operation.  We have worked on lifts as small as 30″ x 30″ up to giant VRC’s big enough to lift 2 cars.  One or more stops can be designed into the lift, with entries and exits on various sides of the platform, so they are very flexible.  We have even used VRC’s to replace old, outdated freight elevators.   Many VRC’s are used in applications where people have been transporting materials up stairways.  That can be a really expensive injury!

Some time ago, I had a customer call and say that they had been lifting barrels to a mezzanine level with a forklift and that they had dropped a barrel.  It caused a huge incident, with the local fire department, HAZMAT, EPA and the associated clean-up.  They were lucky that no one was hurt.  We quoted and installed a VRC for them.  They were so happy with the improvement in safety and productivity that they bought a second VRC for another location. 

A VRC can be a big savings, not only in the initial project cost, but in the longer-term for process improvement and a much higher level of safety.

Securing Dock Doors

May 20, 2010

Summer must be near! I had a call from a customer that needs to secure their dock doors. They recently added a second shift, and sometime during the evening, an intruder entered and pilfered a power washer from their building.   A good way to secure dock doors is with a folding gate.

Folding gates expand to cover the opening of the dock and then contract or fold back when not in use. Folding gates come in single panels for “people” doors, and in pairs up to 24′ in width for dock doors. Gates are also available in smaller, portable versions to block of aisles or other areas of the plant.

Folding gates provide access control and security, visibility and air circulation for the facility. The summer months always generate interest in folding gates, so that more dock doors can be opened to improve ventilation.