Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

November 2014    |    Volume: 46    |    Number: 11

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial Engineers

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Emerging Technologies

Innovative tools of the trade

Ins and outs of warehousing

Running a modern warehouse is a complex task. Managers must keep track of inventory, make sure it is stored under the right conditions, keep material undamaged during handling, make sure incoming and outgoing shipments are accurate and fulfilled in a timely manner, and ensure that warehouse equipment meets the needs of employees.

The last point is where Dura-Dock Series loading-dock lifts from Southworth Products can help. Continually replacing worn-out equipment can decimate any organization’s return on investment. Standard features of the Dura-Docks available in load capacities of 5,000 pounds and 6,000 pounds include corrosion-resistant, galvanized base and legs. Higher capacities (up to 20,000 pounds) offer optional galvanized construction.

The dock lifts work from grade level to a maximum height of 59 inches. In addition to warehouses, Southworth dock lifts save time and effort at retail outlets, manufacturing plants, medical or educational facilities, and any other place that loads goods into or accepts deliveries from more than one type of truck. A lift can be installed to accommodate any dock or loading configuration, whether the truck is parked perpendicular or parallel to the dock.

Platform sizes range from 6 by 8 feet to 8 by 12 feet. Lower-capacity models are designed to support loaded hand pallet trucks, while the higher-capacity models support loaded forklifts. Standard features include a weatherproof pushbutton NEMA-4X control; a diamond-tread, steel platform with beveled toe guards painted yellow for safety; removable steel handrails; and hardened steel pins operating in self-lubricated bearings at all pivot points.

To help keep track of what’s coming in or going out, the PC Series Mobile Powered Workstation from Newcastle Systems has on-board power to run a computer, a printer and other devices simultaneously.

The workstations are used typically to record inventory in real time and print a label as each product is handled. They offer access to warehouse management systems, ERP and automated data collection. In a receiving department, inbound products can be inspected, labeled and rerouted at the same workstation, eliminating unnecessary foot travel and paperwork.

The workstation’s capabilities help immensely in today’s just-in-time manufacturing philosophy, where warehouse managers must know what they have on hand at all times to facilitate timely reorders. The workstations also can be used for many other tasks at retail, distribution and manufacturing sites.

The unit’s rechargeable battery offers integrated, seamless power for up to 12 hours of normal use. The lack of trailing power cords, along with 6-inch rubber swivel casters, makes rolling and positioning the carts for optimal productivity easier. The Newcastle Systems’ website includes a tool that helps customers choose the right power package by calculating the total wattage of the equipment to be supported.

Michael Hughes is the managing editor of Industrial Engineer.