Interroll is now introducing a new version of its oil-free drum motor based on the new and improved Interroll Drum Motor Platform.

Already back in 2010 Interroll introduced the first oil-free drum motors. Since then, thousands of oil-free motors have been installed and are currently in use as a proven solution for many applications, in particular in the food industry. The oil-free drum motors now being introduced into the market are drum motors based on the new and improved Interroll Drum Motor Platform that has been on the market since 2017. Synchronous oil-free drum motors are by nature very efficient, which means fewer heat losses and a much higher power density, as opposed to asynchronous oil-free drum motors which are prone to overheating and power reduction and therefore a loss in torque.

Compared to standard drum motors, the oil-free motor’s performance is only minimally impacted by the different type of lubrication. Also, compared to a standard asynchronous motor, oil-free synchronous motors are stronger and better performing. But they require a frequency inverter and speed and torque are slightly reduced compared to a standard synchronous motor lubricated with oil. However, high-speed applications are still possible if the belt pull force is sufficient. This is also true for low-speed applications. Typical oil-free motor applications include transportation and packaging of lightweight goods such as candy, chocolate or pralines.

No leakage issues in sensitive production processes

Food manufacturers who have to comply with certain restrictions regarding food contamination benefit from this new option. Oil-free drum motors can be used for any application where the belt moves slowly (i.e., when the production process is in steps and accuracy is of paramount importance, like portioning and cutting for instance). When installed correctly, Interroll Drum Motors have no leakage issue. The oil-free drum motor makes the entire production flow safer as it eliminates any potential risk of oil contamination. It works well in cool temperatures, which are often a requirement in the food manufacturing sector. In certain industries such as fish processing, the European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG) recommends the use of oil-free motors.

Investment in Supply Chain Technologies to Increase Dramatically in 2019 as Hiring Qualified Workers Continues to Be Biggest Challenge

Investment in Supply Chain Technologies to Increase Dramatically in 2019 as Hiring Qualified Workers Continues to Be Biggest Challenge

MHI supply chain technologies

MHI presented the sixth in a series of MHI Annual Industry Reports developed in collaboration with Deloitte Consulting LLP at ProMat 2019.

Chicago, IL – MHI has released the sixth in a series of MHI Annual Industry Reports developed in collaboration with Deloitte Consulting LLP. The 2019 MHI Annual Industry Report, titled “Elevating Supply Chain Digital Consciousness” provides new insights into trends and technologies that are having a dramatic business impact on supply chains and the people who run them.

Eight out of ten survey respondents believe digital supply chains will be the predominant model within just five years. The survey results also suggest that investment in supply chain innovation is at a critical inflection point, with a trend of declining investment from 2015 to 2018 being more than countered by a 95% increase in projected spending for 2019.

  • 57% of respondents are planning new technology investments totaling more than $1 million over the next two years (up 10% over last year’s survey)
  • 34% plan to spend more than $5 million
  • 22% plan to spend more than $10 million.

Manufacturing and supply chain professionals are facing many challenges but, according to the report, the top one continues to be hiring qualified workers (65 percent).

This year’s report provides updates on the innovative technologies MHI predicted would have the most potential to transform supply chains. The report also covers the potential of these technologies to disrupt the industry as well as their adoption rates and common barriers to adoption. The eleven technologies covered in the report are:

  • Blockchain
  • Robotics and automation
  • Predictive analytics
  • Internet of Things
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Driverless vehicles and drones
  • Wearable and mobile technology
  • Inventory and network optimization
  • Sensors and automatic identification
  • Cloud computing and storage
  • 3D printing

These eleven technologies work together to create next-generation supply chains that can meet these challenges because they are digital, on-demand and always-on.

“The pace of supply chain innovation over the six years of our survey is truly astounding, creating real and measurable competitive advantage for early adopters,” said George Prest, CEO of MHI. “With supply chain complexity showing no signs of slowing, the risk of inaction is only growing. Leading manufacturing and supply chain executives agree that technology is the key to future success.”

Potential to disrupt and create competitive advantage

The top technologies respondents say can be a source of either disruption or competitive advantage are:

  • Robotics and automation (64 percent)
  • Predictive analytics (59 percent)
  • Artificial Intelligence (55 percent)
  • The Internet-of-Things (IoT) (52 percent)
  • Driverless vehicles & drones (51 percent)

Adoption Rates

Cloud computing and storage has the highest current adoption rate (56%). Adoption is expected to grow to 79% over the next two years, and to 91% over the next five years.

Over the next five years, Predictive Analytics is expected to reach an 87 percent adoption rate, followed by IoT at 80 percent, Robotics and Automation at 72 percent, Artificial Intelligence at 55 percent and Driverless Vehicles and Drones at 51 percent.

Top Barriers to Adoption

The top three barriers to adoption of these technologies are:

  • Tackling the supply chain skills gap and workforce shortage (65%)
  • Customer Demands for lower prices (56%)
  • Customer demands for faster responses times (54%)

Supply Chain Talent Gap

A highly-skilled and increasingly digital supply chain workforce is needed to implement these technologies. This has been a theme in all six annual reports and the talent gap is growing as the adoption of these technologies increases.

The top critical skills needed to compete in the next-generation supply chain according to the survey and consistent with previous years; analytics/modeling/visualization (40%), strategic problem solving (37%) and general business acumen and cross-functional knowledge (31%).

Four Stages of Digital Adoption and the Supply Chain Digital Consciousness Index (DCI)

It is clear that data and technology will empower supply chains in the future, but it’s not a single technology-it will be a combination of the 11 highlighted in the survey.

The report defines a pyramid of digital adoption that has four technology stages, starting with the collection of data through digital connectivity, and then moving up the pyramid to generate increasing supply chain value and insights from that base data through automation, advanced analytics, and ultimately artificial intelligence.

The report includes a Supply Chain Digital Consciousness framework, developed by MHI and Deloitte, to help organizations assess their digital mindset and gauge their progress on the journey to becoming more digitally conscious.

The Supply Chain Digital Consciousness framework characterizes a supply chain on four levels of awareness – from dormant to elevated – and across five digital categories
The five digital categories span all dimensions of supply chains, from leadership, talent development and workplace culture, to technology and innovation adoption, to customer experience.

This framework can help companies understand their current level of digital adoption and then identify gaps and next steps to boost digital consciousness and supply chain performance.

Within this framework, the report includes an assessment tool companies can use to measure where they are on their digital adoption journey via a Supply Chain Digital Consciousness Index (DCI).

The Supply Chain DCI measures progress regarding the five digital categories:

  • Leadership
  • Innovation/Technology
  • Customer Engagement
  • Talent
  • Workplace Environment

The Supply Chain DCI quantifies the current level of supply chain digital consciousness, as well as measuring progress made toward the desired end-state. It helps firms determine the current state of their digital consciousness, determine and prioritize gaps in order to develop a comprehensive strategy for digital consciousness that meets their unique business goals.

“Leading companies are elevating their ‘supply chain digital consciousness’ to drive the kind of innovation that enables them to gain competitive advantage and thrive in today’s always-on economy,” said Prest.

The report also provides real-world case studies of digital supply chain technologies and recommendations for leaders for developing strategies to implement these innovations.
“As digital capability fuels customer expectations to unprecedented heights, NextGen supply chains must be proactive, predictive and prescriptive, with all of its links interconnected and synchronized to the same drum beat of consumer demand,” said Scott Sopher, principal, and leader of the global supply chain practice at Deloitte Consulting LLP.

“As the pace of supply chain innovation escalates, so does the price of inaction. Leaders will outpace their competitors faster than ever,” added Prest.

The findings in this report are based on survey responses from over 1,000 manufacturing and supply chain industry leaders from a wide range of industries. Sixty percent of respondents hold executive-level positions such as CEO, Vice President, General Manager, or Department Head. Participating companies range in size from small to large, with 59 percent reporting annual sales in excess of $100 million, and 10 percent reporting annual sales of $10 billion or more.

Download the complete report at mhi.org/publications/report.

Zebra Introduces Flagship MC9300 Mobile Computer Ideal for On-Demand Economy

Zebra Technologies Corporation, an innovator at the edge of the enterprise with solutions and partners that enable businesses to gain a performance edge, today announced the ultra-rugged Android™-based MC9300 mobile computerTC8300 touch computer and ATR7000 RTLS reader. As the next evolution of the MC9000 series, the world’s best-selling enterprise-class mobile computer, the MC9300 enables businesses to modernize their mobile solutions to keep up with the growing demands of e-commerce while shortening training time, improving fulfillment speed and accuracy and increasing productivity by as much as 10 percent compared to competing devices.

Designed to give a performance edge to those on the front lines of business in warehousesmanufacturinglogistics and back-of-store retail environments, the MC9300 is ideal for inventory management, receiving/put-away, returns processing, cross docking, quality control, parts tracking and price audit applications. Its advanced scanning technology can read direct part marks (DPM), dot peen and laser-etched barcodes and quickly capture 1D or 2D barcodes in virtually any condition and from three inches to as far as 70 feet, providing the flexibility to scan items in small bins or pallets on the uppermost warehouse racks. In addition, the MC9300’s PowerPrecision™+ 7000mAh battery delivers the most battery power in its class, maximizing worker efficiency and productivity by reducing downtime.

The MC9300 is Zebra’s most powerful handheld platform and the most rugged device in its class. It is also virtually water-, drop-, dust- and tumble-proof. For challenging cold-storage environments, one MC9300 model features a system of heaters and a freezer-rated battery for frost-free operations. A Class 1 Division 2 (C1D2) model for use in hazardous locations is also available.

“With more than 3.2 million MC9000 mobile computers sold since 2003, Zebra took its best-selling and most trusted enterprise-class mobile computer and made it better by providing businesses with an easy migration path from Windows to Android,” said Joe White, Vice President and General Manager, Enterprise Mobile Computing, Zebra Technologies. “We improved the ergonomics and added more than 20 new features to enhance application and accessory performance, user comfort, ease of use, ruggedness, data capture flexibility and device management.”

BUILDING ON THE HERITAGE OF THE MC9000 SERIES

The MC9300 has a familiar and well-recognized design, improved performance supported by the Android operating system (OS), physical keyboards and a full touch screen. The MC9300 mobile computer features a 4.3-inch touch screen protected by ultra-strong Gorilla Glass™ and a choice of six keypads offering flexibility to run a diverse set of business applications that leverage both input methods. The device includes the latest Qualcomm™ chipset that supports an extensible platform for application development and assures a minimum of two Android OS upgrades for a significantly lower total cost of ownership (TCO). It also has an optional front and back camera to capture highly detailed photos and videos to document proof of condition and proof of compliance.

As Microsoft prepares to end support for existing Windows® Embedded Handheld/CE 7 devices in 2020 and 2021 respectively, the MC9300 provides the best path to transition from legacy Windows OS to Android. The MC9300 also comes pre-loaded with a Terminal Emulation (TE) application designed to take advantage of the graphical capabilities of the device while easily supporting traditional “green screen” use for seamless migration and reduced deployment times.

The MC9300 is available with Zebra’s Mobility DNA™ suite of end-user applications, application development tools and utilities that transform Android into an enterprise-ready OS. This allows businesses to maximize the return on investment of their Zebra mobile devices by increasing worker productivity, simplifying management, strengthening security and reducing training and adoption time. With a Zebra OneCare® contract, businesses can leverage Zebra’s LifeGuard™ for Android software security solution that provides predictable security/patch updates that match enterprise hardware lifecycles, simplifies OS transitions and extends the life of mobile investments.

Based on Zebra’s commitment to sustainability, the rugged MC9300 was designed to maintain its reliability through longer component lifecycles, longer lasting batteries as well as its survivability, availability, and support over many years. With the objective to re-use rather than to replace, the MC9300 is backward-compatible with existing charging infrastructure via an adapter reducing electronic waste.

ALSO ANNOUNCING THE NEW TC8300 TOUCH COMPUTER AND ATR7000 RTLS READER

Leveraging the same innovative design and form factor as the TC8000 to reduce muscle effort and increase productivity, the TC8300 is optimized for picking and new augmented reality (AR)-based applications. It also uses the same Qualcomm chipset as the MC9300 for an extended lifecycle and is available with the Mobility DNA software suite and LifeGuard for Android support as well as DPM capabilities.

Designed for asset tracking applications in warehouses, manufacturing plants and other large indoor facilities, the new ATR7000 RTLS reader identifies and analyzes the coordinates of all passive RFID tags in its coverage area, providing real-time visibility into the pinpoint location of all tagged assets. With the ATR7000, businesses can see where inventory, forklifts, equipment and even workers are located, if they are on the move and in which direction they are moving helping improve workforce productivity and operational efficiency. The ATR7000 is easy to configure and install and covers up to double the area of competitive readers, effectively cutting the number of readers and hardware costs in half and making it ideal to cover everything from a single dock door to every inch of a warehouse or manufacturing plant.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The new MC9300 is an evolution of the world’s best-selling enterprise-class mobile computer enabling businesses to modernize their mobile solutions to deliver on the growing demands of e-commerce while reducing training, improving fulfillment accuracy and increasing productivity by 10 percent compared to competitive devices.
  • The MC9300 provides the best path to transition from legacy Windows OS to Android offering the Mobility DNA software suite, LifeGuard for Android for extended security support and a pre-loaded TE app to support “green screen” apps for seamless migration and reduced deployment times.
  • Zebra also announced the new TC8300 touch computer and ATR7000 RTLS reader providing companies with a performance edge through improved worker productivity and increased real-time visibility into business operations in industrial environments.

 

Adrian’s Safety Solutions Adds Modular Pallet Rack Safety Netting to the Innovative Pallet Rack Safety Line

Adrian pallet rack netting

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.  – Adrian’s Safety Solutions is pleased to announce the launch of their new Modular Pallet Rack Safety Netting. The latest addition to their pallet rack safety line is designed for walkway and work area product fall protection. The modular design allows for overlapping or tiling, so any space can be easily protected right out of the box.

Modular Safety Netting keeps loose items or cartons from falling into a workspace or aisleway. Like all Pallet Rack Safety products from Adrian’s Safety Solutions, the Modular Safety Netting is designed to be installed easily and quickly without retrofitting, tools, or long periods of downtime needed for complicated installation. This new industrial netting will be manufactured with the same premium hardware connectors that Adrian’s uses in their existing no-tools-needed products including the Rack Safety Strap and Rack Safety Net. In addition, optional carabiner hardware assemblies are available for even more protection, depending on your application.

“We are really excited to bring the new Modular Safety Netting to market,” says Steve Dew, President of Adrian’s Safety Solutions. “Initial reactions from our material handling partners have been overwhelmingly positive, with most saying that this product is an impressive and simple solution to offer to warehouse users who have items that could fall into an area where people could be working or walking.”

About Adrian’s Safety Solutions

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., Adrian’s Safety Solutions is a division of Adrian’s, Inc. Its mission is to make the workplace safer by engineering affordable solutions that center on safety and simplicity of use, always with the end user in mind. For more information about Adrian’s Safety Solutions, visit www.adrianssafetysolutions.com.

Steel King Highlights SK2000® Closed Tube Roll-Form Pallet Rack Systems at ProMat 2019

Steel King SK2000 racking

Steel King Industries, Inc., a leading manufacturer of material handling products and systems for improving operational efficiency, will be highlighting its SK2000 closed tube roll-form rack systems at ProMat 2019, to be held April 8-11, 2019 at McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois. Visit Booth # S2434 to talk with experts about the SK2000 product line, which offers the strength and durability to provide the framework for multi-level pick module/distribution centers. The SK2000 line is ideal for a wide range of warehouse applications and markets, including food and beverage, retail, agriculture, and automotive.

Steel King works with customers to analyze their unique pallet racking needs and customize each SK2000 rack system configuration to meet operational goals. In addition to providing the rack system, Steel King offers engineering services to ensure the system works with conveyor and robotic systems.

Featuring a fully welded tubular upright, the SK2000 racks on display offer superior impact resistance over open-back style uprights. Use of roll-form steel makes the SK2000 cost-effective for small storage applications. The strength of the SK2000’s closed tube beams and upright rack frames make each rack system safer and more functional. Independent engineering tests have confirmed that SK2000 pallet racking has 250 percent greater frontal impact strength, 68 percent greater side impact resistance, and 44 times greater torsional strength (resistance to twisting) than the open-back column style.

SK2000 columns have a unique 90 degree bend and no corner holes. The SK2000 is a boltless rack system with teardrop connections and auto-engaging safety locks, so it can be assembled without tools. Easy, boltless assembly of the system enables more flexibility for any future adjustments. Columns are available in multiple sizes and thicknesses according to application needs. The system’s braces and step beams are made from the same high strength closed tubing as the columns and are available in many profiles and lengths. Bracing is secured with full fillet weld, which in many cases is four times more weld than competing rack systems.

Steel King also offers additional safety and durability accessories for the SK2000 rack systems, including factory-installed column core inserts that can stand up to demanding applications with frequent forklift loading and unloading.

For more information about Steel King and the SK2000 closed-tube roll form rack system, visit: https://www.steelking.com/products/pallet-rack-boltless-closed-tube/.

Hänel Launches Hands-Free Augmented Reality Device for Use with Automated Vertical Storage

Hänel Storage Systems, a leader in the manufacture and integration of automated vertical storage units, is pleased to announce Augmented Reality (AR) features for use in conjunction with its storage systems. Through the use of wireless “data eyeglasses” and Pick-by-Voice, a Hänel Lean-Lift Vertical Lift Module (VLM) can be operated hands-free, without the use of a system controller or keyboard.

The optical AR device uses voice commands to accomplish data input and item selection.  While wearing the AR display, users can view all relevant data and information regarding a stored item, including its description, photograph, and stored location. Once an item is requested via voice command, the storage system automatically brings it to the access point for retrieval.

The item’s position on the shelf can then be identified by Hänel Pick-o-Light, a moveable LED unit inside the access point that shines a targeted beam of light precisely on the specific item awaiting retrieval.

This AR system allows users to focus their full attention on the picking process without the need to handle notes or other paperwork.  When used in conjunction with Pick-o-Light, the system drastically minimizes the risk of human picking errors.  Hänel storage units and AR glasses can be linked to various ERP systems through an integrated Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) interface, which allows programs on different operating systems to communicate.

“In the warehouse environment, Augmented Reality devices show clear advantages,” said Craig Sinclair, manager of systems integration.  “Efficiency gains made by keeping your hands free to do other tasks, especially in dangerous environments, and time savings by directing employees quickly to the next task are large steps forward.  Future applications that can livestream a task to improve accuracy and augmented vision capabilities that can quickly help new staff are right around the corner.”

Hänel will exhibit and provide product demonstrations of the new Augmented Reality system during ProMat 2019 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL on April 8-11, 2019, at Booth #S2036.

About Hänel Storage Systems

Hänel Storage Systems is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, and specializes in the design and engineering of Rotomat® vertical storage carousels and Lean-Lift® Vertical Lift Module for a wide range of industries and applications.  Hänel provides sales, service and technical support to North America and South America through a network of factory-trained channel partners and service providers.

Introduced in 1957, the Rotomat® Vertical Carousel is based on the Ferris Wheel principal.  Inventory is stored in a series of carriers that rotate within the unit and are accessed at a single opening.  This vertical “goods to the user” concept improves productivity, lowers costs, increases security and saves valuable floor space.

Introduced in 1994, the Lean-Lift® Vertical Lift Module stores inventory on trays that are automatically measured for height each time they enter the unit. A vertical extractor automatically places the tray within the unit in a location that maximizes available storage space.  Trays can be equipped with dividers, totes, bins and specialized holders to store any type of inventory.

For more information about Hänel products, visit www.hanel.us.

Speedrack West Announces the Release of Rack Safety: How-to Inspect Your Pallet Rack

Speedrack West has published a comprehensive infographic entitled “Rack Safety: How-to Inspect Your Pallet Rack” to provide information on a basic understanding of pallet rack safety.

With this infographic, Speedrack West informs people on many aspects of pallet rack safety. To accurately educate people on pallet rack safety, the infographic covers information on beams, frames, anchors, permits, seismic calculations, and employee training.

Pallet rack shelving has specific safety requirements that should not be taken lightly. Each shelf should have a capacity label to indicate the maximum load per level, and beams should be connected to frames by at least 3 pins. Warehouse rack over 5’9” must have a permit for installation and usage, and the permit must include seismic calculations specific to the geographical area.

Training employees on how to correctly use pallet rack shelving is critical to maintaining a safe warehouse. Employee training should include forklift driving, loading and unloading pallet racks, signs of pallet rack damage, weight capacities, and the dangers of overloading.

“Pallet racking is an excellent way to increase the efficiency of any warehouse, but it is important that proper safety requirements are met,” said Speedrack West Vice President Chris Jones. “By taking the time to correctly install pallet rack and train employees on proper usage, you can safely and efficiently increase your warehouse storage space.”

Forklift/Lift Truck News Briefs

Lift truck/forklift news and other MHE information.

Business owner fined and jailed for six months in unprecedented case after fatal forklift accident

A Victorian Magistrates’ Court found the owner of a scrap metal business guilty of breaching the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was fatally crushed by a metal bin.

The company owner was operating a forklift to lift a metal bin which the worker was standing in. When the metal bin was raised in the air, the worker fell through the corroded base of the bin before the bin itself fell from the forklift tines on top of the worker.  Read more.


New forklifts and telematics streamline operations

Thyssen-Krupp, located in Park City, Kan., outside of Wichita, is a partner for the world’s leading aerospace companies and their supply chains. A big part of the company’s overall efficiency is dependent on its fleet of forklifts. After changing forklift brands, the company reduced maintenance costs while improving safety and operational visibility. Read more.


Forklift drivers convicted for cellphone use in warehouse

In the first case of its kind in Canada, two workers have been prosecuted for using their cellphones while on forklifts at work. This case demonstrates when the Ministry of Labour (MOL) will prosecute workers under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and it shows the ministry’s expectations on employers to enforce zero tolerance policies with respect to cellphone use in potentially dangerous workplaces. Read more.


Frigates To Forklifts: A Designer’s Journey From The Navy To Industry

What do warships have to do with forklift trucks? For Kero Uusitalo, these two vastly different vehicles have shaped his working life – combining his childhood dreams and an enduring passion for design. Read more.


Rhode Island Man Arrested After Taking Forklift, Trying to Ram Police Cruisers

Just one more reason not to leave the key in the ignition!


RELiON Battery Announces New Online Store

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — RELiON Battery, a leading global manufacturer of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries, announced today the launch of its new online store. In a continued effort to strengthen the brand’s accessibility, enhance customer interactions and increase consumer product knowledge, the RELiON website offers e-commerce functionality for the first time.

Online shoppers in the U.S. looking for high performance LiFePO4 batteries for recreational vehicles, boats, electric vehicles, solar energy systems and more can now not only access in-depth technical information on RELiON’s products, but also shop from the comfort of their home. The online store stocks many of the company’s standard LiFePO4 batteries, including a range of 12V, 24V and 48V products. RELiON also offers free shipping on all orders, making sure that customers can take advantage of quick delivery.

“Launching our online store is a direct response to requests from consumers for an online shopping experience. Our goal is to offer a seamless customer experience by blending the convenience of ordering standard items in smaller quantities online with technical support to ensure customers get the right solution for their application,” said Paul Hecimovich, CEO, RELiON Battery.

RELiON will continue to increase product offering within the online store as the company’s product lines expand and new innovative technology is released into the market. With an assortment of products larger than most online lithium battery retailers, shopping at relionbattery.commakes it easy and convenient for consumers to order a LiFePO4 battery for their high powered applications.

“For anyone looking to quickly find an alternative to lead-acid or other traditional batteries, the RELiON online store will streamline the customer buying experience and save valuable time,” added Hecimovich.

RELiONBattery.com conveniently accepts all major credit cards and products purchased can be shipped anywhere within the continental United States. For more information on their new online store, visit https://relionbattery.com/products/lithium.


Forklift Accident Kills Man at Campbell’s Soup Plant

July 16, 2018. An accident involving a forklift and a dumpster at the Campbell’s Soup plant in Maxton, NC on Sunday left one man dead and another person with injuries., according to Powder & Bulk Solids.

Plant employees told local ABC News affiliate WPDE that a dumpster being moved by a forklift fell, fatally injuring one man. Another worker was injured in the incident and transported by helicopter to a local hospital. The Robesonian reported that the person received injuries while attempting to assist the man who died.


Doosan Industrial Vehicle unveils eco-friendly, smart forklifts

Doosan lithium ionJuly 16, 2018. Doosan Corporation Industrial Vehicle (DIV), celebrating the 50th anniversary of its foundation, introduced a high-tech forklift model BS7 running on lithium-ion batteries. Read more.


Poorly Maintained Propane Lift Trucks Send Workers to Hospital with Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

https://www.ien.com/safety/video/21012680/bad-forklifts-sent-workers-to-the-hospital


Forklift slips off truck after it hits I-5, I-84 overpass

PORTLAND, Ore. — A truck carrying a forklift hit the the underside of an overpass while traveling north on interstate-5 on Monday afternoon, causing delays as crews work to get the forklift back on the trailer.  Read more.


RPA 2018 EXCELLENCE IN REUSABLE PACKAGING AWARD SUBMISSION DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JULY 30

The Wide World of Forklifts

May 15, 2018 – There are said to be roughly 400 forklift manufacturers in the world, of all types and varieties of equipment. No single trade show, no matter how big, could possibly include all of them, but CeMAT 2018, held in late April on the sprawling exhibit hall campus outside of Hannover, Germany, included a couple dozen forklift suppliers from the continents of Europe, Asia and North America. Read more at MH&L.


LEEA and IPAF working together to the benefit of members 

May 15, 2018 – The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) CEO, Dr Ross Moloney, recently met with Tim Whiteman, CEO of The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), and Richard Whiting, UK Market General Manager for IPAF, to discuss shared approaches for supporting members as well as exploring opportunities to work closely together in the future across the sector.

“It was a pleasure to welcome Tim and Richard to LEEA’s office. This meeting is part of our determination at LEEA to work across the sector to deliver more benefit for our members,” says Dr Moloney. “We see this as the start of an exciting period of cooperation between our two organisations.”

IPAF promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide through technical advice and information, influencing and interpreting legislation and standards, and safety initiatives and training programmes.

The not-for-profit organisation is owned by its members, which include manufacturers, rental companies, distributors, contractors and users. IPAF members operate a majority of the Mobile Elevating Work Platfrorms (MEWP) rental fleet worldwide and manufacture about 85% of platforms on the market.


Toyota Forklifts Expand Product Line with Marina Truck

 April 5, 2018 – Toyota Forklifts, a leading forklift manufacturer in North America, announced a new marina truck option for select models of its THD pneumatic forklifts. The fully-customizable marina truck option helps lift boats out of the water or transfer them from one location to another more efficiently than traditional methods. It’s a great solution for marinas, boatyards, dry stack facilities and any customer who launches watercraft.

The marina truck option boasts a lift capacity up to 55,000 pounds with load centers designed for the unique balance of watercraft and mast options with a negative lift of down to 20 feet. Equipped with features designed for marine environments including galvanized epoxy coated carriages and padded rotating forks to protect boat hulls, the marina truck option makes lowering and lifting boats out of the water and moving them in and out of storage a smoother process.

Toyota’s latest marina truck option also features a 7-inch touch-screen multi-function display with a capacity estimator and an optional wireless remote control for operating the forklift outside of the normal seating position. The new marina truck option is available now to order. For more information, visit ToyotaForklift.com.


CLARK MATERIAL HANDLING COMPANY APPOINTS PACIFIC MATERIAL HANDLING SOLUTIONS INC. AS AN AUTHORIZED DEALER IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AND NORTHERN CALIFORNIA MARKETS

Lexington, KY – April 2, 2018 – CLARK Material Handling Company today announced it has appointed Pacific Material Handling Solutions, Inc. (PMHSI) as an authorized distributor of CLARK products in the San Francisco Bay and Northern California markets.

“Pacific Material Handling Solutions, Inc. is part of the Pacific Solutions group of Companies that provides Material Handling, Commercial Truck, Rental & Leasing solutions to their customers while focusing on long-term customer relations by providing cost-effective solutions. We are excited to have them join our dealer network,” commented Dale Guckian, CLARK’s Director of Dealer Development.

“We are extremely excited about our new affiliation with CLARK Material Handling and its rich tradition to the material handling industry. The CLARK organization provides Pacific the opportunity to bring increased value to our customers and aligns with our 24-7-365 commitment to our customers, associates, and partners,” commented Ralph Logan, Pacific’s President/CEO.

PMHSI will support its CLARK new equipment, aftermarket parts, and service efforts out of its facilities located in Union City, Sacramento, Stockton, and Modesto, California locations. Additional information can be found on the web at www.pmhsi.com or by calling (510) 429-0303.

Holt of California remains an authorized distributor of CLARK products in the Sacramento, CA markets with facilities in West Sacramento, Stockton, Yuba City, and Redding, CA. Holt is a full-service material handling dealer featuring full sales and service departments.


April 5, 2018.  Storage Equipment Safety Service returns to MODEX and the North American Market

Storage Equipment Safety Service returns bringing its 31 years of expertise in Rack and Shelving Safety Inspections and Training to the North American Market.  SESS states it is the market leader in independent rack safety inspections covering the UK, Ireland, Europe, North America and the Caribbean.

Many warehouse users are unaware of the requirements of the RMI codes and guidelines or even the manufacturer’s requirements for installation and use of racking systems.  They are therefore unaware that they are in fact operating in conditions that are unsafe.

SESS USA LLC is passionate about ensuring that all warehouse users operate in a safe environment, which allows them to return home safely to their loved ones. Years of working with warehouse and health and safety personnel have identified a need to educate and raise the awareness of end users on the correct and safe use of racking and shelving.

SESS USA LLC works closely with its customers to ensure that:

  • Annual Inspections are done and damaged racking is identified and classified according to risk level as well as to identify operational issues such as pallet condition, clearances, housekeeping, general conformance to RMI Codes, etc
  • Employees are properly trained to perform in-house monthly inspection
  • Post-Installation inspections are done to ensure that racking has been installed according to manufacturer specifications.

SESS USA LLC  will be participating in Modex 2018 where it will showcase its rack inspection and training services. We look forward to meeting with attendees to discuss their rack safety needs.

Post-Modex will see the re-introduction of the company’s online store and our safety blog which will assist in raising the awareness for rack safety and assist in educating their customers on information pertinent to rack and warehouse safety.


InterrollApril 5, 2018.  Sant’Antonino, Switzerland. Interroll, leading global provider of material handling solutions, announces today that Dr. Ralf Garlichs, Executive Vice President Products & Technology and member of Interroll Group Management, has decided to leave the company by the end of June.

Garlichs, 55, joined the Interroll Group in 2006 as Executive Vice President Drives & Rollers. Since 2011, he has been Executive Vice President Products & Technology and a member Interroll Group Management.

“Ralf Garlichs has been highly successful in advancing Interroll’s technological development and innovation over the past few years, especially with regard to our platform strategy and the digitalization of our company,” says Paul Zumbühl, CEO of the worldwide Interroll Group. “He also directed the successful expansion of our production capacities and pushed forward the implementation of lean manufacturing as part of our globally oriented Interroll production system. We are convinced that on these very good foundations we will successfully speed up our further expansion. On behalf of the entire Interroll Group Management, I would like to thank Ralf Garlichs and wish him the very best for the future.”

The successor of Garlichs will be announced at a later date.


December 5, 2017.  HANNIBAL INDUSTRIES PROVIDES RACKING SOLUTION FOR WESTERN WINDOW SYSTEMS

Pallet Rack News
Hannibal Industries, Inc., a world-leading manufacturer of steel pallet racks for the material handling industry, today announced its cantilever racking system has been successfully installed in Western Window Systems’ new warehouse through Handling Systems.
Based in Phoenix, Western Window Systems designs and manufactures door and window systems that bring indoor and outdoor spaces together. As a preferred choice of architects, builders, and homeowners throughout North America, it’s inspired by modern living with unlimited design possibilities in residential, prefab, retail, commercial and educational projects.
Western Window Systems and Handling Systems worked closely with Hannibal to obtain permits, design concepts and development to complete the installation ahead of schedule. Hannibal Industries Cantilever Racks are ideal for storage of long, bulky products and are available in heavy-duty structural or medium duty roll-formed design.
Additional information on Hannibal Industries is available at http://www.hannibalindustries.com.

December 4, 2017. Chamberlain Group acquires Systems, Inc.

Automated dock-levelers now a part of CGI’s product suite

Warehouse equipment news
Oak Brook, IL-Chamberlain Group (CGI), a global leader in access solutions and products, has acquired Systems, Inc. (SI), one of North America’s leading dock-leveler manufacturers.

“Online retailers are driving growth in the warehouse space and that growth has increased the demand for integrated and efficient access solutions,” said JoAnna Sohovich, CEO of CGI. “We’re very excited about this acquisition because it expands the scope of solutions CGI provides by adding dock-levelers to our product offering and expanding our brand portfolio to meet the diverse needs of warehouse managers. It will also allow us to offer enhanced efficiency to end-users through the integration of automated solutions on our connected platforms.”

Sohovich noted that Sl will continue to operate as they do now, with their President, Mike Pilgrim continuing to lead the dock-leveler business.

“We’re very excited to be a part of the CGI team now,” said Pilgrim. “A family-owned company of their caliber has the kind of resources and values-driven culture that any organization would want to be a part of.”

“SI has excellent strength in manufacturing, they have great customer service and a very robust network of independent dealers, installers and national accounts,” Sohovich added. “We’re looking forward to the great things Mike and his team will do as a part of CGI.”


December 4, 2017. Eberspaecher Vecture: Intelligent battery solutions for Industry 4.0 and logistics.

Forklift news
In logistics and warehousing forklifts are the driving force. Eberspaecher Vecture’s Battery Management Systems (BMS), digital acquisition systems (DAQ) and battery chemistries ensure their optimal functioning. One year after Eberspaecher acquired the majority stake in Vecture Inc., the company further develops its expertise for industrial purposes.


December 1, 2017.

Forklift news
Woman injured after forklift tips and falls from dock.  A woman was taken to hospital after her forklift tipped over, falling five feet from a dock. She was restrained by the use of her seatbelt.


November 29, 2017.

Forklift news
Buffalo Forklift to Consolidate in Amherst.


November 27, 2017

Dr. Thomas Toepfer, CFO of KION GROUP AG, will be leaving the company on March 31, 2018. He will be joining Covestro AG in Leverkusen, one of the world’s leading polymer material manufacturers, in the same role. On Monday, the Supervisory Board of KION GROUP AG agreed to Dr. Toepfer’s request to have his contract – which would have run until August 31, 2020 – terminated early. The Supervisory Board will decide on his successor very soon.

Dr. John Feldmann, chairman of the Supervisory Board, stated: “It is with regret that the Supervisory Board has accepted Thomas Toepfer’s resignation, but we respect his decision to pursue his next career step outside our Group. Thomas is a very experienced CFO and Labor Relations Director and we are sorry to be losing him. Under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Gordon Riske, he has worked closely with his colleagues on the Executive Board and has played a crucial role in our success and in shaping the positive development of our Group over more than five years. He has placed the financial structure of the Group on a sound long-term footing and will be handing over the finance function in very good shape. Dr. Toepfer has played a crucial role in ensuring that the KION Group has enjoyed the confidence of the capital markets and of its shareholders in recent years.”

Gordon Riske, Chief Executive Officer of the KION Group, said: “I would like to thank Dr. Toepfer for the successful and collaborative working relationship and for the substantial contribution he has made to the trajectory of profitable growth and our transformation into an integrated supply chain solutions provider. We wish him the best of luck and every success in his new role.”


November 7, 2017. Wajax celebrates 50 years as Hyster distributor.

2017 marks the 50th year of the business relationship between Wajax and Hyster Company, who celebrated the occasion with a series of events across Canada as well as with the introduction of new warehouse products and the latest Class V internal combustion pneumatic forklifts.


November 6, 2017. Researchers work on autonomous forklift trucks.

The European consortium behind the Iliad Project is working on the development of autonomous forklift trucks.  The team, which consists of robotics specialists from the UK, Sweden, Italy, and Germany, has been working on the project for four years and believes the machines can support tasks such as packing, palletizing and transporting goods.


October 29, 2017.  Forklift battery technology is a top priority for the future.

Battery technology has emerged as the top technical challenge for the future by forklift truck operators, dealers and the wider industry according to early results from a new national survey being undertaken by FLT manufacturer TCM.


October 23, 2017.  Smart Glasses Make the Difference in Food Logistics Order Picking

Warehouse logistics needs to run quickly when goods rotation is high, especially when it comes to perishable food products. Belgian third-party logistics provider Weerts Supply Chain S.A. therefore relies on the pick by vision solution from logistics IT developer Picavi. In its central warehouse near Liege, Weerts currently uses fifteen pairs of Glass Enterprise Edition to pick orders for American food giant Mondelēz.


October 19, 2017. KION North America Supports Breast Cancer Awareness

Forklift news briefs

This month, KION North America Corporation made a donation to Susan G. Komen South Carolina in support of their mission to “save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer.”

In addition their financial contribution, the company is displaying a pink forklift in front of their facility and employees have been encouraged to wear pink on each Tuesday throughout the month of October.

“We have employees and their families members who have personally been affected by breast cancer, or other types of cancer,” said Vincent Halma, President and CEO of KION North America. “We felt a responsibility to show our support of this critical mission.”

KION North America is a member of the KION Group, one of the world’s two leading manufacturers of industrial trucks and the world’s largest manufacturer of electric forklifts. The company, which employees an estimated 200 employees, has been in operation in Summerville, S.C. since 1985.


October 19, 2017. Hoist and Rigging Training Made Easier with Columbus McKinnon’s New Website

Whether you need to meet OSHA or ASME requirements, receive overhead crane and rigging certification or simply gain the peace of mind that comes from having a safer work environment, Columbus McKinnon can help. Columbus McKinnon Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCO), a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of material handling products, systems and services, launched its new training website, putting all of the information professionals need to get trained and do their jobs safely right at their fingertips.

“Promoting the safe and proper use of hoist and rigging products is a top priority for Columbus McKinnon,” said Paul Smielecki, marketing and training manager. “Our new website will allow Channel Partners and end users to easily find detailed course information and immediately register for training classes.”

In addition to comprehensive course information, Columbus McKinnon’s new training website provides information on the company’s professional trainers as well as its training locations, including the state‐of‐the‐ art Niagara Training Center and Rock Lititz entertainment center of excellence. There is even hotel and flight information available for easy and convenient trip planning.

The site also features downloadable safety resources, like a Hoist Pre‐Operational Inspection Checklist, that riggers, plant managers and safety supervisors can share and post at their facilities.


October 17, 2017. Worker dies in serious incident at Swift CaravansA UK worker was fatally injured in a collision involving a forklift.


October 13, 2017.  Newmarket Company Fined $135,000 After Worker Fatally Injured by Forklift. A temporary worker was critically injured and later died after being struck by a forklift in an area that was shared by both forklifts and pedestrians.

The Ontario Ministry of Labour’s investigation found that the walkway was a shared pedestrian and forklift aisle frequently used as a traffic corridor in both directions. There were no pedestrian crossways, stop signs, mirrors, walkways or barriers separating pedestrians from forklift traffic, and there were no identified crossing points along the aisle to make pedestrian movement more predictable and easier to anticipate.

A Ministry of  Labour ergonomist conducted a line-of-sight assessment and concluded that there had been an insufficient distance for the forklift operator to safely bring the forklift to a stop before the impact with the worker. Also, there was a ‘blind spot’ area, and the forklift operator had not been speeding.

Empty bins were stored two high adjacent to the yellow lines on the floor in the surface line area. The line-of-sight assessment indicated that the storage of empty bins adjacent to the yellow lines on the floor in the surface line area was a contributing factor to the incident. The location and height of the bins limited the sight lines available to the forklift operator by effectively blocking part of the view.


September 18, 2017. Silver Jubilee — Mitsubishi releases special edition warehouse and forklift trucks.


September 11, 2017. Pallet-Track to roll out cameras on its forklift trucks after successful trial. Leading logistics company Pallet-Track is rolling out more than 100 bespoke high resolution cameras for its fleet of fork lift trucks (FLTs) to help drive increased efficiencies and protect its unparalleled industry record of never losing a consignment during its 13-year history. The company moves more than 20 million pallets annually.


September 6, 2017. Tougher new test for UK fork lift operators comes into force.  From the 1st September, anyone training as a fork lift truck operator will find the test considerably tougher than ever before.


September 1, 2017. Forklift Foils Gravity’s Effects. Toyota’s System of Active Stability (SAS) was designed to directly improve vehicle stability by automatically stabilizing loads during high lifting and reducing the possibility of the forklift and its load tipping over as it turns.


August 29, 2017. Hyster lowers handling costs for paper recyclers.  The collection and recycling in Europe increased by almost one million tonnes of paper in just 5 years. As the industry continues to grow, Hyster Europe claims that it can help even the most intensive paper recycling operations reduce cost and maximise efficiency.


August 26, 2017. When Automation Doesn’t Bring Layoffs. UniCarriers Americas, a subsidiary of Kyoto, Japan-based Mitsubishi Nichiyu Forklift, employs 600 workers at its plant 75 minutes northwest of downtown Chicago. Though the plant has automated more and more production in the past five years, no workers have been laid off. In fact, headcount has doubled since 2012, and the company has spent $1.1 million to retrain employees for other jobs within the factory.


August 23, 2017. Massive Forklift Used to Steal ATM. Closed circuit television captures the heist.


August 18, 2017. Schoolboy who stole forklift truck and went on a two-hour rampage escapes a PRISON sentence.

The 15-year-old, who was also carrying a rifle, stole the industrial machine from a farm shop before setting off along country roads in the late evening last September, a court heard. He recklessly crisscrossed lanes around Sonning Common and Cane End near Henley-on-Thames in Berkshire at speed before maneuvering the prongs under the chassis of a blue Fiat Punto before tipping it onto its side, writing it off.


August 15, 2017. Hyundai Construction Equipment’s has launched the newest of its all-around heavy-duty diesel forklifts – the compact but powerful 160D-9L. The new truck fills the gap between the 160D-9 and 180D-9 and offers an increased load capacity, extra safety, cost-effectiveness and operator comfort.


August 7, 2017. Forklift Operators: Drivers of Change.


August 7, 2017. Delivery driver who had leg ‘crushed’ by forklift truck at work sues for £300k.


August 3, 2017. Man Heralded After Spotting Runaway Forklift.


Augusts 3, 2017. Food firm fined for forklift accident. A manufacturer of prepared meals has been ordered to pay more than £100,000 for safety failings, fter a worker fell 6m off the back of a forklift truck.


August 3, 2017. Ontario’s Concord Premium Meats Ltd. has been fined $55,000 for a forklift accident at its Brampton, Ont. plant.  The incident took place in May 2013 and involved a shipper/receiver operating a walkie forklift. According to the Ministry of Labour, the young worker was moving meat with the small forklift and collided with materials being moved by a co-worker. The worker suffered a broken ankle during the accident.


August 2, 2017. Hydrogen-powered vehicles are finally taking off—inside Amazon and Walmart warehouses. In the last few months, Plug Power has struck two $600-million deals. One with Amazon for forklift fleets in 11 warehouses, and another with Walmart for the same in 10 warehouses. (Walmart is already using Plug Power forklifts in 22 warehouses).


August 2, 2017. E Instruments has introduced the F900 Carbon Monoxide Exhaust Analyzer. This device is designed to accurately measure CO from forklifts and small engines for CO safety testing, pre-compliance testing, and engine tuning and maintenance.

The F900 is now available with a wireless Bluetooth printer, which allows users to print on-site exhaust analysis reports.


July 28, 2017. Top 6 Forklift Mobility Trends. In case you are wondering, these include alternative power, low resistance and non-marking tires, safety, lift scales, Internet of Forklifts, and compact platform.


July 26, 2017. Winnebago plant in Middlebury fined $10,000 following worker’s death. The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined the Winnebago plant in Middlebury $10,000 for workplace violations after a 54-year-old employee was run over and killed by a forklift in April. Two serious violations were noted: A windshield was installed on a forklift, which affected it’s operation, and the forklift wasn’t operated at a safe speed.


July 23, 2017. Teen Worker Run Over by Forklift.


July 22, 2017. Plug Power shares jumped as much as 19% in response to an announcement that the company had expanded its relationship with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.


July 21, 2017. Port of Tilbury is London’s major port and operates on such a large scale it needs its own on-site, resident engineers to ensure the continual running of vital equipment. FSDF member Briggs Equipment is able to offer a 3 hour response time to breakdowns thanks to its nationwide fleet of service engineers, however the expectations of a busy port are even more immediate and the Port remains one of the company’s longest standing examples of providing a resident team to help a customer achieve their productivity goals.


July 19, 2017. A worker at a UK building site was potentially seriously injured when he was crushed between a forklift and a post. He was airlifted to a London Hospital.


July 18, 2017. The AC-powered forklift market is expected to grow at 6.5% CAGR through 2021. The new BCC Research report also notes the major applications of forklift trucks are distribution centers and warehouses, accounting for 27.5% and 25.2%, respectively, of the 2016 global market. In response to consumer desire for ever-shorter delivery times, e-commerce companies are seeking warehouse spaces near urban areas. As the demand for distribution centers increases, the demand for forklifts is expected to jump during the forecast period.

BCC Research projects that the global forklift truck market will grow from $41.9 billion in 2016 to $56.3 billion in 2021 at a 6.1% CAGR.


July 17, 2017.  EnerSys® NexSys® TPPL (Thin Plate Pure Lead) technology batteries have been chosen by Kuehne+Nagel to power vehicles at a new warehouse in Turkey, eliminating gas emissions and thus increasing safety and reducing time loss on battery change.


July 13, 2017.  Brazen cash machine thieves use a forklift to smash through building society wall and escape with the loot.  CCTV footage captured a Bobcat telehandler ramming a building three times before lifting free an ATM and placing it onto a pick-up truck. Click image to watch.

forklift news briefs


July 12, 2017.  A Mississippi man was fatally injured while pressure washing a building. He was standing on a forklift platform when the forklift tipped.


June 27, 2017.  Drunken Rampage. A 20-year-old man Ontario man is facing numerous charges after allegedly stealing a forklift while drunk and taking it on a destructive drive, according to the Toronto Sun. When police arrived they found damage to property and trees, as well as overhead wires which were pulled down.


June 25, 2017.  Forklift safety training is critical. An article from the National Safety Council stresses the importance of forklift training.

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”.

 

Walmart Announces New High-Tech Grocery Distribution Center in California

Walmart Shafter

By Elizabeth Walker, Walmart Corporate Affairs

In the coming weeks, Walmart will be breaking ground on a new project, and the result will be, well, groundbreaking.

Shafter, Calif., will be the home of Walmart’s first high-tech distribution center for fresh and frozen groceries. What does that mean exactly?

A traditional distribution center, or DC, is the hub where products like eggs and strawberries are received. From there, associates load goods onto trucks and deliver them to your local Walmart store or Sam’s Club. DCs are a key part of Walmart’s supply chain. As Walmart transforms to better serve customers, the question is, what does the distribution center of the future look like?

Simply put, it looks more efficient, with forward-looking technology and engaging tech-focused jobs. Set to open fall 2020, this innovative DC in Shafter will use WITRON technology to process grocery perishables – produce, eggs, dairy, flowers and frozen goods. Here’s what else you need to know:

The new high-tech distribution center will move 40 percent more product than a traditional DC – and result in fewer crushed strawberries

“The high-tech DC in Shafter will allow us to move product to stores and clubs faster so that we can better serve customers,” says Tim Cooper, senior vice president of supply chain for Walmart.

How? Rather than manually stacking boxes and building pallets, the new DC will allow associates to use the new technology to do the (literal) heavy lifting. Cool story, but what if those machines put a watermelon on top of a case of tender, beautifully ripened strawberries?

Shayne Wahlmeier, one of the engineers on the project, described the plan to keep this from happening.

“Every product is measured and documented so that we know how to handle it,” he explained. “A computer algorithm shows all the cases ordered for a given store and determines how to palletize them to maximize the space on a pallet or trailer. It also takes into account density – what’s crushable, what’s not.”

Sort of like the game of Tetris, but with apples and ice cream.

This DC will result in savings that can then be passed on to customers

Because the technology is helping associates build a more flexible, dense pallet, more products will be able to fit onto a truck. This will reduce transportation costs, and those savings can be passed on to customers.

And remember those strawberries that aren’t getting crushed? Fewer damages mean a reduction in food waste. Customers can be more confident that a product is in stores when they come to fill up their carts.

The DC in Shafter will create hundreds of new jobs

And these are jobs people can get excited about. Many of the new positions will be technology-focused or STEM jobs.

“The order-filling position is an arduous one,” Tim explained. He went on to say that while the supply chain is the backbone of Walmart’s business, the jobs of the future might be less physically demanding.

From Online Grocery Pickup, powered by Alphabot, to an automated floor scrubber, Walmart is investing in technology to empower associates to do their jobs better and more efficiently. The high-tech Shafter distribution center is just one example of Walmart making big bets when it comes to the future of retail.