The best material handling solutions are all about making the process of moving object X simple, which of course can become quite complicated.
What's the easiest, fastest, and most efficient way to move a box from Point A to B -- and maybe even C, D, E, and so on? Missing on this could slow down production, create bottlenecks, and damage the company bottom line.
And even more important to consider, how can you make it safe and ergonomically optimized for workers? Workman's compensation claims cost manufacturing companies billions a year, not to mention the price paid for a really, really bad injury.
You want to remove as much margin for error as possible, so certain areas will probably be made forklift-free. If this is the case, your options include carrying each box individually, using pack mules (not recommended) or pallet jacks.
These simple-but-effective pallet trucks can typically handle anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000-lb. loads, which encompasses a lot of applications. The thing to remember is that pallet jacks barely lift the pallets off the ground, so they can't directly slide onto traditional scissor lifts found throughout the facility. Ground level access lifts, however, are perfectly suited to allow the hand trucks to roll on up and drop off the pallets.
Here's the rundown on three types from Presto Lifts to help you make your solution as simple as possible:
Floor Height Lifts
These are hydraulic scissor lifts with a pan-style platform that go all the way to the ground. They have a 3/8-in low height, so the pallet jack can roll right into it. Presto Lift's XZ Series can raise pallet loads up to 6,000 lb. to a height of 35 in. Key features include a 6-in. rubber toe guard and also a maintenance jock that locks the platform when placed in the base.
"The XZ works great with a pallet truck and gives you four sides of access," says Rick daSilva, Presto Lifts national sales manager, who also mentions the ergonomic benefits. "When you have a taller load, being able to get down to ground level saves you the height of the pallet, saving about seven inches of pallet."
This puts the worker at the best level for handling, and reduces the risk of musculoskeletal disorder.
P4 Floor-Level Loaders
The P4 has a smaller footprint than the XZ, but is only accessible from three sides. The sides are extremely narrow, all but eliminating reach over.
"Instead of being a 9-in reach over, it's only a 3-in. reach over," daSilva says. "And the pan never goes above the sidewalls so that eliminates pinch points."
The height -- which lifts up to 4,000 lb. a maximum height of 28 in. -- can be pre-programmed or operated via a hand pendant or foot pedal. A photoelectric eye senses if an object breaks the plane under the platform and stops to prevent injury or damage to equipment.
Floor Level Container Tilters
For pallets, either of the first two options will do, but tilters offer the feature of shifting your load's orientation up to 89 deg.
This is useful for wire baskets, that may have loose components. The higher the angle you adjust the tilter, the more accessible the parts in the back of the basket become.
And for soft walled gaylords, the steel side supports, called platens, keep the load from falling off the tray.
The ZRT floor level container tilter have a capacity of up to 4,000 lb and a lifting speed of up to 26-28 sec.