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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Choosing the Right Pallet Lifter to Move Your Load

Pallet Lift Equipment Consists of Pallet Jacks, Manual and Powered Pallet Stackers, and Forklifts. Since pallets are very heavy, moving them about will place a severe strain on anyone handling them without the proper equipment.

There is a valid reason to be concerned with injury when moving a pallet because of the heavy weights involved. Some pallets can be between fifty and eighty pounds even when they are empty, and can be thousands of pounds with a full load. Needless to say it is impossible to move by hand.

Thus, those who have to move the pallets need to look at various options with regard to proper lift equipment. In this they will need to choose between a few standard pieces of equipment.

A smaller size and more maneuverable pallet jack is the first option. It is the simplest type of pallet lift equipment that you will come across. The pallet jack can come in a manual or power version. These pallet lift equipment units are generally small and they allow users to maneuver some narrow spaces where movement is limited. Another consideration for your application will be the lift height required. If you are storing an item far off of the ground, on pallet racking or shelving, then a pallet jack will not work, but it will help you to move your load along smooth flat surfaces.

The second option in pallet lift equipment is the pallet stacker. There are several variations when it comes to stackers. Manual, powered or self propelled, winch, and counter-balanced. Stackers can lift your load to greater heights as compared to pallet jacks. Some of the electric models are generally powered by batteries and some models even have built-in chargers to ensure that the stacker works optimally at all times.
The last or third option for pallet lift equipment is the forklift and it’s capabilities to lift greater weights and heights than possible with the pallet stacker or pallet jack. Forklifts have the ability to reach high places. Pallet jacks and pallet stackers require less space to maneuver than a forklift. However forklifts will require training and certification for your staff to operate the equipment.

Whichever type of pallet lift equipment that you use, you need to first address safety issues, the load size and weight, and the space you have to maneuver in. Pallet stackers in particular require having weight capacity plates on them which in turn must always be visible to whoever is operating these pallet lift equipment.

When buying any piece of equipment, especially a pallet lift, you need to ensure that the features fit in with your industrial requirements, space, and storage method. Having the right tool for the job is important and having the right pallet moving machine can literally mean the difference between life and death for the worker that has to use it.

Written by:

Ted Thorsen Material Handling
Since 1953, we have proudly offered competitively priced, cost-effective materials handling solutions, as well as custom designs Leading source for Material Handling and Reusable Packaging
Industrial Jacks & Lifting Equipment

How to Use a Hand Truck – a Step by Step Tutorial

A hand truck is a great way to move freight short distances, like from a building to a truck or through a warehouse. The hand truck is a simple machine, an upright cart with a "plate" at the bottom for stacking all kinds of stuff on. But there are a few things to think about when using a hand truck, including the physics of displacing heavy or large boxes or objects. It is very important you know how to use it and know how much weight belongs on it or it can lead to serious injury.


1.Make sure your hand truck is in good condition. There aren't a lot of moving parts that can break or wear out on a non-powered cart, but most hand trucks have wheels (or casters) that can deflate. You have to make sure the wheels are good and have the proper air pressure in them, or else you wont be able to push you load because flat tires don’t roll so well.

2.Make sure your cargo fits. Trying to load the hand truck with thin sheets or a whole lot of small stuff can be a headache. Put items into a container that you can stack easily for transport.

3.Load the heaviest stuff first. Unless you want a top heavy, half-crushed load, the heaviest boxes should go on the bottom. This is one of the easiest ways to get hurt especially if your load starts to tip over. You may have to use a cargo restraint

4.Pick up the hand truck about halfway, so that the handle comes up to your waist or slightly above, and the cargo rests neatly against the back of the cart. This allows the wheels to carry most of the weight. It is much harder to load the truck and then tip it up, and it is a good way to wrench your back trying to tilt the cart with a heavy load.

5.Choose which way you are going to go before you start. Moving forward (with the cart in front of you) is more stable, but your vision of what is in front of you is obstructed by the cart. Going backward means you will be in front of the cart, but the cart stands a greater chance of tipping over if you hit something, and it’s more difficult to control when you’re dragging the load behind you. It can be easy to bump the wheels on things and even knock product off of the truck. Pulling the load behind you helps you see what is in front of you, but you can’t see the back of the cart to avoid obstacles and hang-ups.

6.Move at an appropriate pace: rushing or pushing too hard can cause the load to shift and become unstable causing damage to the product. It can cause injury not just to you, but people around you.

In addition to the vertical stacking approach, most hand trucks have a set of wheels near the top to accommodate a different stacking method. Convertible hand trucks can act more like a cart. For very heavy loads, you can try setting the hand truck horizontally, and using it as a flat platform to roll these objects to their destination or consider using a dolly or a pallet jack.

It is very important to know to have an idea on of how much your load is going to weight and never overload your hand truck. Make sure you have a clear route to take the item and give yourself plenty of space to navigate. Be careful and you will be able to move loads easily, productively, and best of all safely.

Written by:

Ted Thorsen Material Handling

Since 1953, we have proudly offered competitively priced, cost-effective materials handling solutions, as well as custom designs Leading source for Material Handling and Reusable Packaging
Hand Trucks and Moving Dollies

How to Safely Use a Pallet Jack Safely : Step by Step a Breakdown

The utility of the pallet jack is in being able to lift heavy pallets off the ground, move them around, and set them back down again with relative ease. They need to have an excellent turning radius (unless you have a lot of space), strong load arms, and good load wheels.

Step 1.
Find the pallet you wish to load, making sure that the two load arms (or forks) of the jack will fit into the space under the pallet- if not, and then you may need a narrow aisle, low profile, or an adjustable fork jack. To get the jack under the pallet, you'll need to release the pressure in the jack's pump unit – to do this pull the small lever within the top of the handle, or use the foot release at the base of the handle to loosen the prongs/forks/load arms so that they sink to the lowest level.

Step 2.
Insert the pallet jack forks or load arms in the slots underneath the pallet base, making sure that the two load rollers on the tips of the load arms are resting in gaps between the wood on the bottom of the pallet. If the load rollers are on top of one of the wooden supports, they will split the pallet apart as the lift mechanism is engaged.

Step 3.
The next step is to raise the pallet by pumping up the jack handle. Switch the lever contained in the top of the handle assembly to the down position to lock the jack into lifting mode. Now, 'pump' the whole handle up and down in a levering motion (the handle pivots at the base of the jack). If it is an old jack and there is no pressure, and you do not see the jack rising up, it could be that the jack is broken or not in lifting mode. For most cases, you'll see the jack lift the pallet off the ground in just a few pumps. Take care to listen out for cracking wood if the jack has not been correctly positioned - correct by lowering again go back to Step 1, and moving the jack either further in or out of the pallet.

Step 4.
Using the handle to push or pull the jack and pallet to desired location. Generally, pulling the jack is the best mode for transporting the pallet, but pushing on the handle will also be useful when trying to accomplish tight turns. (If you have really tight turns you may need a jack that has the ability to move sideways)

Step 5.
Lower the pallet when you have reached the desired destination using the action described in Step 1 (pull the small lever in the top of the handle assembly towards you and hold or use the foot release pedal at the base of the handle). Take care to ensure feet, fingers etc. are not under either the pallet or jack.

It is very import to know how much your load is going to weight and never exceed the capacity of your pallet jack. Also, make sure you don’t overload the pallet jack or you may not be able to push or pull the load safely. (If the load is too heavy you may need a powered model of pallet jack) Make sure you have a clear route to take the item and give yourself plenty of space to navigate. Be careful and you will be able to move loads easily, productively, and best of all safely.

Written by:
Ted Thorsen Material Handling
Since 1953, we have proudly offered competitively priced, cost-effective materials handling solutions, as well as custom designs Leading source for Material Handling and Reusable Packaging

Industrial Jacks & Lifting Equipment

Safety and Productivity on the Loading Docks

Justifying cost of ownership, minimizing damage, and preventing injury can help maximize loading dock value. The material handling sector, as with most businesses, is working its way out of the economic challenges of the past several years. To meet rising demand, some operations are building new distribution centers, adding to their existing facilities, or replacing equipment that has been used far beyond its life expectancy in an attempt to squeeze every last drop out of the company's capital investment.

As the filled orders go out and the quotes come in, it is a good idea to look beyond price and focus in on the issue of lower cost of ownership and increased safety. What will owning that piece of equipment cost the company beyond its purchase price? How will that investment pay off for the company? Will this make my employees more productive without sacrificing safety?

This consideration is especially true for loading dock equipment. Considering that this equipment handles five-ton forklifts making hundreds of trips a day, the loading dock experiences its share of maintenance problems.

Selecting the right equipment can lower maintenance and operating costs as well as increase safety and productivity for years to come.

Choosing the right dock equipment

Loading dock equipment includes dock levelers, dock boards, yard ramps, dock seals, safety rail, visual signaling, and floor markings. Levelers, and dock boards bridge the gap between the dock and the trailer. Choices include manual mechanical, pneumatic (air), electric hydraulic, and power-assisted.

Another valuable piece of dock loading equipment is vehicle restraint and visual signaling. This equipment is used to increase safety at the dock. Since the movement of trucks during loading and unloading can cause injuries or death, vehicle restraints and signaling are used to keep them in place.

Energy costs
With the high cost of energy these days it has become very important to reduce other parts of operating budget such as energy consumption. When a truck is at the dock, thousands of HVAC dollars can be lost if the gap between the trailer and the dock is not sealed properly. Dock seals are used to fill the gaps between the trailer and the dock door. This helps to prevent the leakage of air, which is the major cause of energy loss. Also, it improves the safety of material and helps prevent contamination of the stored material, which could occur due to air infiltration. There are different types of dock seals. Among them, inflatable seals are the most widely used. Another more economical alternative may be to install strip doors or vinyl curtain doors. Strip doors save you energy costs by reducing the amount of heated or cooled air lost through your unprotected door opening. Superior design features like rounded edges to prevent cutting and concaveness to promote tight sealing, assure maximum efficiency and safety.

Safety on the dock
Bumpers and dock guard barrier gates can stop a 10,000lb load moving at 4mph from smashing right into your dock door. For example having a guard barrier gate helps reduce the accidents resulting from lift trucks, pallet jacks, and pedestrians falling off the dock when the overhead door is open. Corner, wall, and beam protection are used to protect your machinery and employees from accidental damage or injury. Safety rails and floor markings delineate high-traffic areas within a facility and provide personnel protection around loading docks and other areas. Safety rails are available in many different designs such as end, corner, and interior. Floor markings are a very inexpensive way to tell an employee or visitor not to walk or stand in a certain area, or to separate specific areas of a dock.

Besides the above, there are several other types of loading dock equipment which includes lights, doors, lifts, and so on. There are several things that one should consider when buying loading dock equipment. Some of them are reputation of the manufacturer, cost of the equipment, specifications of the equipment, and its safety features. The most important specifications that should be checked are the weight bearing capacity and size of the equipment.

This equipment provides workers safe accessibility to the dock area. They facilitate loading and unloading of materials in the dock area. Moreover, they ensure safe movements of workers and goods. Ensure the safety of your workers operating heavy equipment in your warehouse and loading dock. There are many of equipment available that can save workers from fatal accidents. Keeping your employees and your product safe is first and foremost. The most import thing to think about when choosing your dock equipment.

Since 1953, we have proudly offered competitively priced, cost-effective materials handling solutions, as well as custom designs Leading source for Material Handling and Reusable Packaging

Loading Dock Equipment
Dock Boards
Safety Railing

Finding the Right Shelving or Rack for Your Business

When you are searching for your right storage solution, there are many types of racking, also known as 'shelving', available on the market to suit a wide variety of storage requirements. Before selecting any type of racking, you will need to know the approximate sizes and weight of the items you are intending to store, as well as the amount of space you have available to install the racking.

It is very important to know the size and weight of the items you are going to store because an item can be large but very light in weight, or smaller but quite heavy, which will determine the type of shelving that best fits your application.

You need to know the potential storage space you have available, it is important to note; not only how much horizontal floor space you have, but also how much vertical space there is too, because vertical space can also be used for storage if you use a mezzanine, stacking pallet frames, or high rise pallet rack. You could potentially go 3 or 4 levels high if you have the ceiling clearance and a stacker, lift truck, or forklift with an appropriate lift height.

Once you have determined the size and weight of your items and how much floor and vertical space you have, it is time to decide what type of racking that would best suit your needs.

There are many types of racking available, bolted and boltless, pallet racking, cantilever racking, rivet racking, and wide span shelving are some of the most popular ones.

Some of these racks can be stationary, mobile, drive in, drive through, or push back depending on your application.
Due to the size and weight of most industrial and commercial products you may need a rack that is capable of holding a higher capacity, because of the strength gained from the use of sturdy bolted racking (or structural racking) is a widely-used form of racking both industrially and commercially.

Boltless racking, on the other hand, uses clips instead of bolts which give this type of shelving the added advantage of being highly adjustable. One of the most popular forms of boltless racking is rivet racking; some of the benefits of rivet racking are ease of assembly, configuration choices, and unobstructed access from two or more sides.

Pallet racking is the most versatile type of racking because it can accommodate items of various sizes and lengths in order to fit goods with a variety of sizes and weights stacked on pallets.
Your choice of decking can be just as important as the rack itself. Wood, Steel, Corrugated Steel, and Wire. Wire allows for the best fire protection as the water passes through easily.

Cantilever is the optimal storage solution for long or bulky items such as carpet rolls, furniture, lumber, tubing, textiles, piping and other long items. Available in roll formed and structural steel designs, cantilever offers a practical storage solution for even the most difficult to store items.

If you don't have a ton of storage space, for instance if it is a restaurant, office, or retail store then wire shelving could be your best option. Wire shelving is available in different finishes including stainless steels, and is perfect for food storage, medical storage, or in a freezer. Other finishes are ideal for retail store fixtures and office product storage.

With such a wide variety of racking and various applications available, as well as the potential for combining different racking types, there is a solution out there for any kind of storage need.

Written BY:
Ted Thorsen Material Handling
Since 1953, we have proudly offered competitively priced, cost-effective materials handling solutions, as well as custom designs Leading source for Material Handling and Reusable Packaging

Shelving and Racks
Boltless Shelving
Pallet Racking