Making the switch: material handling automation

Making the switch: material handling automation

When it comes to technology, automated material handling equipment plays a hugely important role in today’s FMCG production and distribution areas. Installing the right equipment and ensuring it’s properly maintained can increase production output and reduce operational costs.
If you are considering automating the material handling equipment in your facilities, here are three top tips from Goplasticpallets.com’s Managing Director, Jim Hardisty on how to get started:

Go Plastic Pallets – case study Menzies – Maidstone

Make a Preventative Maintenance Plan
It might seem obvious but making sure your automated material handling equipment is properly installed with a maintenance programme in place will forestall equipment breakdown and prevent production downtime. Preventative measures in a production area for instance, might include making sure all access routes are kept clear of debris, machine load limits are adhered to and AGVs are properly maintained. Using management software apps to run diagnostic reports and periodic servicing on equipment will also keep it working effectively for longer.

Ensure Workplace Safety
Automated facilities require less manual labour, but humans are still required to oversee production and identify opportunities to improve productivity. Studies have shown that heavy reliance on automated processes can result in complicity in human behaviour. Regulatory bodies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, are aware of the ‘new’ hazards automation has brought about and have created guidelines to help ensure workplace safety.

Choose Appropriate Transit Packaging
When selecting transit packaging to complement your automated material handling equipment it’s crucial to adopt a platform that’s durable, consistent and does not contain nails or fasteners. Where wooden pallets face issues of inconsistency as they are not uniform in size and shape, plastic pallets and boxes in contrast perfectly complement automated handling systems. As plastic pallets are 100 per cent size and strength consistent, their uniform weight and deck can support loads across the whole span of the product, reducing the chance of products shifting and stalling equipment. Their durability is also unrivalled as they’re moulded under extreme pressure to form a solid loading platform.

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