Materials Handling Articles

The material handling technology area encompasses systems and equipment for handling coil, sheet, plate, profiles, tube and pipe, raw materials, and scrap. It also covers peripheral accessories such as C-hooks, clamps, die storage systems, hoists, lifters, and sheet stackers and destackers.

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Automated guided vehicles get flexible

July 8, 2016 | By Tim Heston

A camera-based automated guided vehicle may have potential in high-product-mix environments. The vehicle takes pictures of its surroundings, remembers them, and then drives itself along that path.

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Reshaping metal grinding

July 5, 2016 | By Dan Davis

Metal fabricators don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the costs associated with grinding. It’s necessary in many shops, so company management just throws labor at it. They don’t realize, however, that new ceramic alumina developments have the potential to save them money when it comes to grinding operations. The Norton Quantum 3 abrasive wheel is one such example.

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Product development drives growth at Illinois metal fabricator

March 16, 2016 | By Tim Heston

The Great Recession nearly killed J-tec Industries, a cart manufacturer in East Peoria, Ill. But the company pulled through and, thanks to its product development efforts, is now experiencing record growth. During the past two years, its workforce has doubled in size.

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The impact of lean manufacturing on structural steel fabricating

January 4, 2016 | By Paul Kwiatkowski

As fabricators strive to eliminate waste in the modern structural steel facility, the fab shops have taken on a new look. This definitely is not your grandfather's structural steel fabricating.

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Cutting costs automatically with automated material handling

November 30, 2015

Schletter Inc., a producer of solar mounting systems, invested in an automated sheet metal storage and handling system from Volz-Stopa America Inc. for its Shelby, N.C., manufacturing facility.

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Is manual material handling necessary in the structural steel fab shop?

October 28, 2015 | By Tom Boyer

The days of relying on operators to oversee the transfer of structural steel sections one at a time and convey each member to the proper lineal position for movement to the next operation are numbered. Automation technology is poised to make manual intervention in material handling a thing of the past.

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Parts identification for extreme environments

September 8, 2015 | By Tim Heston

A marking technology—which involves the interaction between a laser, coating, and metal substrate—is designed to withstand harsh processing environments, including blast cleaning and hot-dipped galvanizing.

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Moving big fabrications

September 2, 2015 | By Jeffrey Dean

Delivering a large fabrication in some ways is almost as difficult as creating the piece in the first place. In many instances, the fabrication is awkward in shape and a challenge to move even a short distance. Like everything else, fabricators figure out how to do it, and these are their stories.

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Beltless scrap conveying has come a long way, baby

July 9, 2015 | By Kate Bachman

Moving scrap via beltless conveyors has been going on for awhile. But what options are available? Which are best for which applications? Do the benefits of beltless outweigh the drawbacks? Is anything new in beltless conveying technology?

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Handling structural steel, one truckload at a time

March 5, 2015 | By Eric Lundin

For structural fabrication-and-construction companies, efficiency in logistics is vital. A typical column, beam, truss or joist is handled three times—first to a storage yard, then to a staging area, and finally to the semitrailer. However, this isn’t the only way to do it. Reinicke Athens Inc. recently invested in a straddle carrier from Combilift Ltd. Instead of moving one part at a time, the truck lifts and moves an entire load a time, cutting its trailer-loading time from up to 8 man-hours to as little as 30 minutes.

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Intelligent part identification: Keeping track of it all

February 4, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Modern forming technology has made kit-based part flow much easier. But when you’re dealing with a dynamically nested sheet, with kits of different parts, pieces can get lost in the mix. Fabricators can tackle this problem with intelligent nesting and part identification.

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The Erector set meets the material handling cart

November 10, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Three friends grew up in Sweden playing with LEGO®s and Erector sets. The creations they could make were endless, but their assembly method was pretty much standardized. Why, they asked, couldn’t a similar concept apply to material handling carts in a factory?

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Reinventing the caster wheel

October 30, 2014 | By Tim Heston

It sounds funny, but casters really are the wheels that assist in the smooth part flow that lean manufacturing demands.

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Keeping pace with better ergonomics

August 4, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Every employee at Pentair operates under PIMS, or the Pentair Integrated Management System. PIMS encompasses everything from continuous improvement and hiring practices to safety and ergonomics. Concerning the last, the company instituted new material handling technology within a tightly run tank fabrication line in Delavan, Wis. The line has no WIP and, hence, little margin for error.

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Refurbishing servo-drive triaxis transfer systems cost-effectively

July 28, 2014 | By David Kuch

Upgrade transfer systems’ controls, drives, and bearings without complete replacement with a refurbishment. An appliance-maker had new rail connections, new wireless electrical connection methods for part tracking, electronic torque monitoring, and new kinetics drives installed as part of its press modernization program at 75 percent of the cost of new transfers.

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