Forklift safety a high priority this Christmas

Businesses which use forklifts are being warned to lift their game as the retail sector moves to stock stores in time for Christmas following a number of tragic incidents in recent months.

SafeWork NSW Executive Director Tony Williams said rushing to get goods out the door, poor safety systems and fatigue with workers on the job for more hours are all factors which can lead to tragedy.

“The lead up to the holiday season is the busiest time of the year in distribution centres, warehouses and loading docks and we have too many incidents under active investigation involving forklifts,” Mr Williams said.

“In one incident a 41-year old lost his life having been crushed when his forklift overturned, and in another incident a 27-year old female factory worker suffered massive internal injuries to her abdomen when a forklift crashed into equipment she was operating. In yet another case a 29-year old male required surgery to a foot after the forklift struck him.

“SafeWork inspectors visited more than 180 businesses in March this year and it was disappointing to see more than 90 Improvement Notices handed out for unsafe work practices.”

From July 2014 to July 2016, more than 1,300 workers were injured in forklift incidents costing the NSW workers compensation system more than $30 million. Tragically this also included three fatalities.

SafeWork recommends a number of simple steps employers and workers could take to make this Christmas season a safe one:

  • Employers must ensure that only licenced workers operate the forklift and that they are used only for their intended purpose.
  • Physical fences or barriers or clearly defined walkways should be in place to ensure a separation as the two don’t mix.
  • Forklift speeds should be kept as low as possible which can be achieved by fitting speed limiters or sensors which automatically adjust the forklift’s speed.
  • Workers should never be lifted on the forklift tynes or on pallets – they should only be lifted with a forklift truck in an approved work box.
  • And when parking a forklift, make sure the brakes are on, that it is turned off and key removed.

For further information on forklift safety, visit www.safework.nsw.gov.au

Steel King Announces Products to Extend the Life of Rack Systems

Safety and protection products guard against forklift damage and protect rack system investment

Steel Guard racking protector from Steel King

Guard Dawg, Steel King

Guard Dawg from Steel King

Steel King Industries, Inc., a leading manufacturer of material handling systems for improving operational efficiency, announces the availability of several products that can help reduce maintenance costs and extend the life of rack systems. The company’s safety and protection rack enforcement products include: Snap-Guard® and Column Core®, and its guardrail products include: Steel Guard®, Armor Guard®, Guard Dawg®, and Mega Guard®. By utilizing these products, companies can protect the investment made in pallet rack systems and ensure safe usage over time.

Steel King’s SK Snap-Guard is an adjustable rack column protector for boltless racks that protects the upright rack column from forklift damage. Snap-Guard is constructed of structural angle and features an exclusive 4-rivet connection that automatically locks into the upright column. Adjustable, removable and flexible, Snap-Guard can be used to protect each storage level.

Column Core is a unique C-shaped column reinforcement that doubles the impact resistance of Steel King’s SK2000 boltless pallet rack. With Column Core, the boltless pallet rack system retains full beam adjustability but reduced puncturing, buckling, and torsional twisting without additional installation costs.

The Steel Guard and Armor Guard guard rails protect people, products, and the physical plant from collisions. They feature a modular design that makes expansion or relocation easy, and effectively separate workstations and walkways from shop traffic. The guardrail systems feature universal posts with connection holes on three sides for added design flexibility.

With a bright industrial yellow paint finish and anchored to the floor, Guard Dawg is a highly visible and effective end-of-aisle protector for the prevention of fork truck-incurred damage. Its low-profile rack protection design makes it ideal for use at intersections and along high traffic routes.

Steel King’s Mega Guard is an all welded steel protector designed to help keep forklift trucks and other in-plant vehicles from damaging facilities and equipment, all while protecting employees. Mega Guard acts as both a visual and physical barrier against costly damage, downtime, and injury.

Steel King also carries a full line of safety accessories including Safety Gates, which can be ordered as part of a new installation or retrofitted into an existing system. The gates are self-closing and include a hinge assembly on one side of the gate and two gate stops on the opposite side, for hanging in either direction.

For more information on safety and protection products, visit www.steelking.com.

How much is your pallet rack really costing you?

Hint: It may be more than the initial purchase cost

Steel King racking

When shopping for pallet rack, buyers may find options in the market that, on the surface, seem quite similar, but a savvy buyer will find that with all that is riding on a pallet rack decision, doing one’s homework up front can pay dividends in the end. From the warehouse environment to the steel gauge to the “recipe” of the steel itself, the true cost of a pallet rack over the life of the system can be difficult to determine.

While the dimensions of the rack components certainly contribute to a rack’s capacity rating, many factors can adversely affect its performance and long-term cost. “It is all about price – pay upon initial purchase or pay much more later to upgrade a sub-standard system to meet requirements,” according to Raymond Weber, Eastern Regional Manager at Steel King.

The dimensions and gauge of steel are not the only measures of rack quality. When comparing two seemingly identical rack systems, for example, 3-inch columns of the same gauge of steel, there can be profound capacity differences that can lead to frequent repair/replace situations.

Rack structure considerations:

  • How much bracing is designed into the system? Inadequate bracing will affect both capacity and impact resistance.
  • How much weld surface connects your uprights and braces? Frames are only as impact resistant as the welds that hold them.
  • Are upright columns a fully closed tube design or the common open-back configuration? A closed tubular column can withstand far more impact.

“Steel King’s SK2000 roll-form pallet rack system is designed with a closed tubular design throughout – uprights, beams and bracing, giving the rack a 250% increase in front-impact strength and 68% increase in the side-impact strength when compared to common open-back systems,” according to Weber.

“This leads to a reduction in damage in the event of a collision and a far less likelihood of rack collapse and product loss or worker harm,” Weber adds.

Once a load-bearing component of a rack has been damaged, its capacity is reduced, increasing risk. Since replacement parts and labor often cost far more than parts in the original rack system, a lower-cost rack will often require large investments in maintenance and repair. And it’s not just the cost of the repair itself.

“Workflow disruption and downtime during rack replacement is a cost that few companies take into account when assessing the cost of the rack, but it’s a very quantifiable budget item,” says Weber.

Quality of steel

Not all steel is alike, and there can be considerable differences in strength. Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, with the flexibility of having other elements “alloyed” into it. Steel made in the U.S. is carefully regulated and will have mill certification that it’s been manufactured using the correct mix of metals for optimal performance. Imported steel does not carry that same certification and assurance, and can often contain other elements or contaminants that diminish strength.

Special applications – cold storage and seismic zones

While all rack applications run the risk of collision or improper loading, some warehouse environments cause even greater wear and tear on rack systems.

Cold storage applications can be particularly brutal. Food and pharmaceutical inventories are time-sensitive. Products are moved through and the stock is rotating far more frequently than other products, making these facilities high traffic areas.

To reduce the cost of refrigeration, facilities opt for denser product storage, and fork trucks have to navigate narrower aisles, increasing the chance of collisions.

Cold storage facilities are harsh work environments for workers as well. Bundled in cold- weather gear, drivers operating in 0-55°F facilities are often in a hurry to get in and get out, which can also affect their level of precision. In addition, the slippery conditions of blast freezers can contribute to the vulnerability of racking.

Seismic zones

Since a pallet rack is classified as a building element, it, therefore, must be permitted as such. Increasingly, building codes require that pallet racks meet seismic standards. In practical terms, this means that pallet rack systems must be strong and durable enough to withstand seismic forces.

Pallet rack systems built from “stock” components often do not meet these rigorous building codes. High-quality racking can be customized and built to meet the load rating capacity to withstand tremors. Thoroughly researching the applicable codes and permitting requirements in your municipality ahead of time can save a lot of cost and headache.

Retrofitting a budget system to bring it up to code is not advised. The Rack Manufacturers Institute (RMI) warns against adding products from one manufacturer to the rack of another, “Mixing of products from various manufacturers may cause fit and/or function issues and may void the original equipment warranty. The beam-to-column connection properties are of vital importance in the proper structural analysis of the rack system.”

Avoiding unseen costs

When evaluating the purchase of a pallet rack system, it’s important to look for the hidden costs that can dramatically increase the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) over the lifetime of the rack. Making sure that the purchased system can endure the environment for which it’s intended can far exceed the initial investment in terms of safety, maintenance and operation costs.

Since forklift impact is inevitable and underreported, rack systems should be inspected regularly, and maintenance performed promptly, in order to mitigate dangers and keep large-scale maintenance costs low.

A reputable rack design firm will also take into consideration the storage environment and workflow. By installing options such as oversized base plates, reinforced columns where rack may be impact-susceptible, a majority of serious damage can be prevented upfront.

An investment in post protectors, end of row guards, safety guard rail, or other accessories will also contribute to the long-term durability and cost savings of your pallet rack system.

“Ultimately, even though they may cost more up front, pallet rack systems that are built better from the beginning can save on costs throughout the lifetime of a pallet rack system,” says Weber.

 

Steel King is the nation’s only single-source manufacturer of pallet racks, drive-in rack, flow rack, pushback rack, pick modules, mezzanines, cantilever racks, portable racks, industrial containers, custom shipping racks, and industrial safety guard railing.

Source: Steel King

Johnson Matthey obtains license for the GEMX™ advanced battery material platform from CAMX Power

LONDON and LEXINGTON, Mass., Nov. 21, 2018–Johnson Matthey (JM) and CAMX Power LLC (CAMX) has announced that JM has obtained a license under the intellectual property of CAMX relating to the GEMX™ platform of nickel-based high energy high power cathode materials for use in lithium-ion batteries especially for electric vehicles (EVs).

The GEMX platform is based on a fundamental invention of CAMX for which broad patents have been granted in the US, EU, Japan and China. The invention creates a broad class of cathode materials, overarching the high nickel material classes NMC, NCA and LNO, the chemistries currently used, and expected to be used in the next ten years or more, in lithium-ion batteries for EVs. The GEMX invention, through molecular engineering, places cobalt at the critical places of the cathode particles resulting in the use of less cobalt, yet with greater stability, higher performance and lower cost for all classes of high nickel materials.

“We are pleased to have obtained this further license from CAMX to support JM’s development of ultra-high energy density automotive battery cathode materials,” commented Alan Nelson, Sector Chief Executive and CTO at JM.  “This license improves and extends our intellectual property protection and supports the commercialisation plans for our market leading eLNO technology.”

“Adding the GEMX platform also gives us a broader chemistry landscape to which we can apply JM’s expertise in materials design, development, scale-up and manufacturing.  This is how JM provides our customers, and ultimately consumers, with battery materials that have the performance characteristics required to drive an electric vehicle revolution and enable the journey to pollution-free roads.

“In May 2016, Johnson Matthey purchased a license for the CAM-7 platform of CAMX. Using its own processing technologies and other know how Johnson Matthey successfully developed eLNO and is currently commercialising its technology. With the GEMX license JM can further enhance eLNO as well as take an advanced position in other material classes such as NCA and NMC,” said Dr. Kenan Sahin, president and founder of CAMX. He continued, “Also with the GEMX license which extends CAM-7, JM will now have patent protection beyond 2030 in the key jurisdictions in the world and especially in the biggest market, China.” Dr. Sahin expressed his enthusiasm for the deepening relationship with JM remarking how rapidly and successfully JM developed and began commercialising eLNO, concluding “Instead of attempting production ourselves, by working with eminent and established companies like JM we as CAMX can see our inventions rapidly and more broadly come to market for the benefit of society especially in the environmentally beneficial connected and self-aware EVs poised to dominate transportation and become a multi-trillion dollar industry in itself.”

The Benefits of Pallet Flow Racks

Any warehouse or distribution centre with limited floor space that needs high density storage or automatic rotation of inventory on a first-in, first-out (FIFO) basis can benefit by implementing pallet flow storage racks.

However, achieving the full performance capabilities of this type of rack system requires careful planning and implementation. When this is done properly, pallet flow systems can be the warehouse manager’s best friend; without it, the system may underperform expectations.

Simply defined, this type of racking system is designed so that when the pallet in front is removed by a forklift, the pallets behind gently “flow” forward to replace it. Inclined tracks, rollers, and brakes – with an assist from gravity – are used to accomplish this task.

New inventory is then loaded at the back end of the rack, facilitating FIFO product rotation, which is particularly valuable for items with expiration dates.

In this type of “dynamic” racking approach, goods can be stored 3, 10, even 20 pallets deep and on multiple levels. This eliminates the need for wide aisles between every row of traditional “static” rack required for forklift access and maneuverability.

By storing more palletized goods in less space, facility managers can dramatically increase the amount of inventory in a specific warehouse footprint or, on the flip side, reduce the amount of space required for new warehouse construction.

“Compared to traditional fixed racking, a high density pallet flow system can essentially cut the required square footage for a warehouse in half,” says Ryan Wachsmuth, Dynamic Storage Sales Manager at Steel King Industries (www.steelking.com), a designer and manufacturer of warehouse material handling, storage and safety products with a national dealer network. “The savings can be significant in terms of reduced property and building costs.”

There are substantial logistical benefits to using a dynamic rack system as well.

Pallet flow rack can drastically reduce the labor required to pick pallets, because a forklift is only needed for initial loading of the pallets as well as final unloading. With static racks, forklifts must travel further down aisles and often must spend time rearranging inventory to access the correct items.

When a large number of pallets with a single product SKU are routinely loaded into trucks, locating the pallet flow rack near the loading dock can also minimize the distance that forklifts travel to as little as 20 feet each way, which speeds material handling.

Even pallets with varied SKUs that are being shipped to the same location can be located near each other to further speed truck loading.

Designing to Meet Specific Requirements

Although the concept of a pallet flow rack may seem straightforward, installing a system that optimally meets a specific warehouse’s requirements takes some planning and collaboration with the vendor.

“Many people think you can take pallet flow rack off the shelf and ship it out the door,” says Wachsmuth. “But, it must be designed to accommodate your specific requirements: pallet types, pallet weights, forklift capacity, facility layout and any other restrictions.”

According to Wachsmuth, some racking distributors are willing to supply a price quote without fully understanding the requirements of the application.

“Not every vendor asks questions to find out what the user needs,” says Wachsmuth.

The process ideally begins by understanding the facility’s dimensions, obstructions, types of inventory and forklifts, as well as truck loading and shipping requirements.

“It is vital to build the flow rack to take advantage of your warehouse’s full height, width, depth, and floor plan,” says Wachsmuth. “Obstructions like low ceilings or the location of sprinklers, building columns, doors, lights, and vents must be built around.”

It is also important to consider the brand, lift height, and weight capacity of the forklifts used at the facility. In general, a forklift’s lift and push/pull capabilities diminish the higher it raises a pallet.

“A forklift can cost as much as $100,000,” says Wachsmuth. “So you want to be sure your new pallet flow racks work with the ones you have, or you could have to acquire new forklifts.”

In terms of tailoring a pallet flow system to an application, it is necessary to plan for efficient flow storage, loading/unloading, and transport.

“Forklift travel distance can be minimized with proper pallet flow planning,” says Wachsmuth. “You don’t have to travel hundreds of feet to pick a pallet. If you install it the pallet flow rack in the ideal location, you may only have to travel twenty feet to pick a pallet. When you return, the next pallet is waiting. This minimizes labor as well as speeds loading and unloading.”

Similar planning should be applied to storage depth. Just because the system can be designed 20 pallets deep, doesn’t mean it should be. Instead, it should be designed and grouped to simplify loading/unloading, as well as optimal product rotation.

Even some aspects that might seem like smaller details, such as the type of pallet, are important because they affect how pallets “flow” in the system.

“There are too many types of pallets with different dimensions today and it could affect the type, and cost, of the pallet flow rack required,” says Wachsmuth. “So, it’s not enough to design on the assumption that a standard 40” or 48” pallet will be used. If the actual pallet has different dimensions, it could increase costs significantly.”

With all the aspects that must be considered to get the best results from your flow rack, Wachsmuth adds that it can be helpful to work with a vendor that provides one point of contact for planning, coordination, answering questions, troubleshooting, and resolving any issues. This is far simpler than interacting with a separate pallet flow manufacturer, rack manufacturer, as well as dealer and installer.

“Given sufficient planning and coordination, pallet flow rack can be one of the most space efficient and cost effective forms of material handling for warehouses and distributors,” concludes Wachsmuth.

Source: Steel King

Companies fined after worker falls from warehouse racking

Two companies, Ortec BV and Mechantech Limited, have been fined after a worker fell from a warehouse racking system, suffering serious head injuries.

Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 1 February 2016, recommissioning work of a warehouse racking system was being carried out at premises on Stopgate Lane, Simonswood. While workiSSng on this project, one of the workers fell 10 metres from the top of the racking system onto the concrete floor below, sustaining significant head injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the main contractor Ortec BV had subcontracted the work to Mechantech Limited to undertake. There was no safe system of work in place as none of the workers had safety harnesses and there were no physical barriers to prevent anyone from falling. The investigation also found Mechantech Limited had failed in its duty to ensure the health and safety of its own employees as it had not undertaken any risk assessment for working at height (incorrectly assuming that main contractor Ortec BV had done so).

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk

Ortec BV of Houtsingel 5, Zoetermeer, the Netherlands pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been ordered to pay fines of £300,000 and costs of £4,742.75.

Mechantech Limited of, Rossington, Doncaster pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and have been ordered to pay fines of £36, 666 and costs of £4,742.75.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Jane Carroll said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to develop safe working methods and to ensure that their workers have the necessary information, instruction and training in that safe way of working. “Had such a safe system of work been in place prior to the incident, the serious injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented”.

 

DEMATIC TO IMPLEMENT AUTOMATED BUFFER SYSTEM FOR MEAT PROCESSOR

Dematic, a leading global supplier of integrated automated technology, software and services to optimize the supply chain, announces plans to implement an automated meat buffering and storage solution in a meat processing facility for Australian Lamb Company. The new Dematic system will be used to buffer meat products in a chilled and frozen environment and prepare shipments of meat products going to hotels, restaurants, butchers, and supermarket chains. It is scheduled to start up during the 2nd quarter of 2019.

The Dematic Meat Buffer storage and handling solution will provide better visibility of product flow and accuracy, as well as improvement in efficiency at the meat processing facility. The system includes Dematic iQ Warehouse Execution Software, host interface, and Dematic Multishuttle, an automated case storage/retrieval sub-system.

The key benefits of the new solution include: reduction in time and complexity during the pallet building process, reduced manual handling and potential for product damage, improved overall productivity and inventory accuracy, as well as eliminating the need for staff to operate in a freezer environment. “The Multishuttle automated storage and retrieval system is the fastest, most flexible compact solution that is able to buffer and deliver fully sequenced meat cartons to further automation,” said Dale Smith, Chief Financial Officer and Director at Australian Lamb Company. “And with a simple and proven interface to our host system, the Dematic software functionality accommodates our operational requirements”.

“One of the main challenges for meat processors today is building, sorting, storing and retrieving SKU pallets; it is a very time consuming and manual process performed by staff,” said Tom Swovick, Market Development Director at Dematic. “The Dematic Multishuttle ASRS solution automates and simplifies the process by automatically buffering, sorting, storing and retrieving pallet lots.”

KION North America Adds New Models to Baoli Product Line

KION Baoli
SUMMERVILLE, S.C. — KION North America released the Baoli Series 6012. With the introduction of this series, KION North America offers Baoli forklifts with load capacities ranging from 3,500 lbs., all the way up to 10,000 lbs. to provide you with a range of models to get the job done.
Offered in two different models, KBD40 and KBD50, the Baoli Series 6012 is a diesel, four-wheel truck equipped with single or dual SE or pneumatic drive tires, making it suitable for a variety of environments. KBD40 lift capacity is 8,000 lbs. KBD50 lift capacity is 10,000 lbs. Both models have excellent residual capacity at height.
Built using proven components, the performance of these trucks is outstanding. The powerful Kohler Tier 4 turbodiesel engine delivers 74 HP and plenty of torque to more easily handle heavy loads. With Kohler’s advanced, common rail direct injection system and Electronic Control Unit (ECU) with fuel mapping, these trucks are very fuel efficient. You can also expect lower maintenance costs and less downtime, with no requirement for a Diesel Particulate (DPF) or Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF).
The Baoli KBD40/KBD50 is equipped with a host of standard comfort features at no extra cost including a tilting, adjustable steering column and a comfort suspension seat with a high-visibility orange seat belt. A roomy, cushioned operator compartment makes these trucks comfortable for any size operator.
Baoli brand equipment is fully integrated into KION North America’s supply chain and service system. The company’s South Carolina-based warehouse is stocked with a variety of spare parts. Sales and support for the KBD40/50 is provided by a network of authorized dealers throughout the United States.

Steel King Announces Durable, Engineered Drive-In Pallet Rack Systems

Allows users to store up to 75% more pallets than with selective pallet racking

Drive in racking, Steel King

Steel King Industries, Inc., a leading manufacturer of material handling products and systems for improving operational efficiency, reports that the availability of its Drive-In Rack Systems. Drive-In and Drive-Through Racking delivers cost-effective storage in high-density storage applications.

Requiring fewer aisles and providing better cube utilization than selective racks, drive-in and drive-thru racking allows users to store up to 75% more pallets than with selective racking. Forklifts drive directly into the rack, allowing storage of two or more pallets deep. Flared drive-in support rails helps forklift drivers enter the pallet rack by guiding the pallet into the bay. A Drive-In pallet rack system uses the same entry and exit point for each storage bay, providing last in, first out (LIFO) access. A Drive-Thru pallet rack system is loaded on one side and unloaded from the other for first in, first out flow (FIFO).

Drive in racking, Steel King

Because they are often used in high turnover areas and operated in close proximity to forklift traffic, drive-in and drive-thru racks are subject to greater wear and tear than other rack structures. Steel King’s drive-in rack system is engineered and manufactured to better stand up to this wear, making it the market leader among drive-in racking systems.

Steel King’s drive-in racking features unlimited storage depth and is ideal for high-traffic and cooler/freezer installations. Additionally, Steel King offers an optional offset leg design for easier handling of pallets. The welded frame construction delivers high rigidity and strength, while other optional features, like protective railings and seismic-safe designs, deliver even greater safety and stability in demanding applications.

Advantages:

  • Maximum pallet storage
  • Virtually unlimited depth of storage
  • Limited aisles, resulting in more efficient use of space
  • Load rails constructed of durable structural angle steel
  • Flared rail entry ends allow easy bay access
  • Space saver, low-profile arms
  • Custom-designed for your pallets & forklifts
  • Cost-effective storage strategy
  • Welded aisle-side load arms and rail stops

For more information about Steel King and Drive-In Rack Systems, visit https://www.steelking.com/products/drive-in-drive-through-rack/

Can the Right Forklifts Give Your Business a Lift? An update on technology advances and ideas about whether to buy new or used—or to lease

From autonomous forklifts to new ergonomic and energy features, suppliers continue to innovate ways to save time and boost production. Consider if your forklift equipment has kept up with the times.

forklift technologies, new or used, lease or buy

Photo credit: Pallet Enterprise Magazine

 

Full disclosure, I first stepped into the path of an oncoming autonomous forklift about three years ago, and I did it on purpose.

I was visiting a production plant in Sweden, and my host urged me onto the facility floor to start my tour. But then I froze. I was looking for the painted path—the designated pedestrian pathway, but there was none to be seen. Several forklifts were crossing back and forth, moving skids of crates and stacking them. There were no operators. “Come on,” she said. “They’ll work around us.” I took a breath and followed.

Read more at Pallet Enterprise.