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Industry Knowledge Base

How Ergonomic Material Handling Increases Productivity

To improve productivity in material handling applications, make the job easier for your staff. That statement might sound overly simple, or even counterintuitive. In fact, safety and efficiency are closely linked in the material handling world. Sure, there was a time when safety and efficiency were placed on opposite ends of an imaginary spectrum — but the explosion of ergonomics research over the past half-century has proven that model false. In fact, by implementing key ergonomic improvements that protect workers, industrial facilities can achieve leaner, more productive operations every time. The central goal of ergonomics helps to explain this dynamic. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration describes ergonomics as “the science of designing the job to fit the worker, rather…more

Global Forklift Battery Companies to Enjoy 8.1 Percent CAGR Through 2020

It’s time for forklift battery companies around the world to prepare for growing sales. Lead-acid batteries will continue to be a leading supplier of motive power for the foreseeable future, analysts say. The latest in-depth report on the forklift battery market forecasts a significant growth rate over the next five years. According to Research and Markets’ publication Global Forklift Battery Market 2016-2020, the segment will grow at an average compound annual growth rate of 8.1 percent through 2020. This news overturns the assumption that competing technologies will soon take over the mainstream. To be sure, newer power sources, including hydrogen fuel cells and lithium ion batteries, are developing quickly. But according to the latest market analysis, electric forklift users will…more

How a Manufacturing Shift from China to India Could Change the Asian Warehousing Industry

Since 2010, China has been the world’s top manufacturing nation. If current trends continue, though, India could lay claim to that distinction in the near future. Thanks to a new government initiative to draw foreign investment, India is quickly becoming the world’s manufacturing powerhouse. This shift will alter the route of the global supply chain, presenting particular challenges to warehouses and distribution centers in Asia. In this article, we will briefly examine the dynamics of India’s manufacturing successes. We will discuss the trend’s impact on the global supply chain. Finally, we will identify strategies that warehousing operations in Asia can adopt to remain competitive in a changing business climate. Policy Changes Contribute to India’s Growing Manufacturing Sector India’s rise as…more

The Hidden Causes of the Hanjin Bankruptcy Crisis

Hanjin Shipping was South Korea’s largest maritime container carrier. It was the seventh largest shipping company in the world. The company handled more than 7 percent of the trade volume between Asia and the United States, and 3 percent of all the shipping containers in the entire world. And on August 31, 2016, Hanjin Shipping filed for bankruptcy in its home country. Two days later, it did the same thing in the United States. This unprecedented collapse continues to reverberate throughout the global supply chain, leaving its mark on every step of the fulfillment process. Ports were the first to take the hit. Stevedores and tugboat operators at every corner of the Pacific refused to unload Hanjin containers, fearing that…more

Choosing Lift Tables for Ergonomic Benefits

Industrial lift tables solve two major ergonomic challenges at once. First, they eliminate the need for manual lifts, a leading cause of workplace injury. Just as powerfully, they allow workers to position tasks within a comfortable range of movement. Together, these benefits can prevent the most common causes of musculoskeletal injuries in a variety of workplaces, from assembly lines to fulfillment warehouses. When business owners invest in mission-critical equipment, they need to know that these devices will perform flawlessly for years. But the market is flush with lift tables from competing manufacturers all over the world, and it can be difficult to judge relative merits at a glance. This paper will investigate the fundamental design characteristics that differentiate one lift…more

Environmental Benefits of Forklift Battery Handling Equipment

The environmental advantages of electric forklifts have been well documented. Compared to their internal combustion (IC) counterparts, electric industrial trucks have extremely low emissions, and make virtually no contribution to global climate change at point-of-use. According to a recent report published in the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, eco-indicators (including carcinogens, respiratory inorganics, and carbon emissions) were nearly 48 times higher for LPG trucks than for electric forklifts. Environmental Benefits of the BHS Battery Room* Reduces energy consumption through right-sizing of fleet Extends forklift battery life by simplifying maintenance procedures Prevents loss of battery investments through breakage Harmlessly vents hydrogen during charges Collects and neutralizes electrolyte spills and drips Reduces battery room footprint, requiring less energy on lighting, heating,…more

Earthquake-Resistant Warehouse Equipment for Europe’s Seismic Regions

Earthquakes are distressingly common in some parts of Europe. Warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and other industrial sites in earthquake-prone areas need powerful, damage-resistant equipment that can match the threat precisely. Luckily, new research has pinpointed these seismic hot-spots with unprecedented accuracy. European scientists today know more about the likelihood and severity of future earthquakes than they ever have. This is largely thanks to a little-known partnership between 18 of Europe’s top seismological institutions. The Seismic Hazard Harmonization in Europe project, or SHARE, is a collaborative program under the auspices of the European Commission. Scientists working together through SHARE drew data from four sources: They studied the past 1,000 years of earthquakes in Europe, including Turkey. They paired those findings with established…more

Medical Waste Disposal: Safety Challenges and Solutions

Hazardous medical waste has a peculiar life cycle. Administrative and non-hazardous health care waste tends to follow the same pattern as trash generated in any industry; uncontaminated paper, glass, and metals should be recycled. Food waste, ideally, would be composted. Mundane garbage will end up in a landfill. But when we talk about “medical waste disposal,” the real question is how to handle the dangerous byproducts of life-saving medical interventions. And that life cycle looks very different than that of conventional garbage. In this article, we will study the flow of hazardous medical waste from generation to treatment for safe disposal, or, alternately, on-site incineration. The moments from generation to treatment of medical waste present the greatest risk to health…more

Keeping Up with Turkey’s Changing Occupational Health and Safety Laws in Warehouse Applications

Laws governing health and safety for workers are evolving quickly in Turkey. In 2014, a series of tragic accidents in Turkish mines galvanized public opinion, increasing pressure for binding regulations designed to prevent workplace injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health (III) National Policy Document and Action Plan introduced a flurry of new requirements, and as Turkish employers enter the third year of the Action Plan, dramatic changes are on the horizon. A new round of workplace regulations will have significant safety benefits for workers in the warehousing and material handling fields — but only if facility managers know how to comply with them. In this article, we will examine the current state of occupational safety and health (OSH) regulations in…more

Compressed Gas Safety for Warehouses and Distribution Centers

Even veteran material-handling experts break into a cold sweat when faced with a shipment of compressed gas. Gas cylinders carry unique hazards, and employees must treat them more carefully than virtually any other material in the warehouse. To add to the challenge, gas containers are shaped awkwardly. They don’t fit onto pallets or typical racks. Good luck trying to pick them up with a standard forklift or a pallet jack. Without specialized equipment, inexperienced employees may give into the temptation to move gas cylinders in dangerously improper ways. The consequences of mishandling gas canisters are dire. In 2014 alone, pressurized containers caused 6,280 nonfatal injuries in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of those injuries, 1,700…more