In warehouses, distribution centers, and other industrial facilities, pallet positioners are essential material handling equipment. As we’ve discussed in other articles, one out of every three dollars spent on worker’s compensation in the United States goes towards workers with musculoskeletal disorders.
Also known as pallet turntables or pallet carousels, pallet positioners keep loads at a consistent height. Workers can comfortably build or break down pallets without taking on serious ergonomic risks. Many pallet positioners have rotating turntables, enabling workers to manage products or materials easily.
Pallet positioners improve work positioning dramatically, and with better load positioning, palletizing tasks require less manpower. That translates to improved productivity, better throughput, fewer lost materials, and a more comfortable work environment for employees.
How Pallet Positioners Work (and Why They’re Important)
To find the right material handling equipment for your facility, you’ll need to consider how pallet positioners work—and how they’ll play their part in your operation’s specific workflow.
Most pallet positioners are spring assisted or pneumatic. While pneumatic pallet turntables offer smoother operation, spring-operated units can be deployed more easily (though pneumatic options like the BHS Pallet Carousel & Skid Positioner require only a compressor for operation, which enhances mobility).
The PCP is available in pneumatic or spring-operated configurations, and both versions can automatically position loads between 10.5 and 27.75 inches (267 and 705 millimeters). The PCP has a small base, so operators can stand right next to the carousel while working, and both configurations are engineered to minimize load movement during travel.
To determine which configuration will work best for your facility, read our article Pallet Turntables: Spring-Operated Vs. Pneumatic Turntables.
Any operation that manually loads or unloads pallets regularly—which is to say, most operations—should invest in pallet positioners to create a safer, more efficient workplace. Here’s an overview of some of the major benefits.
Pallet positioning reduces ergonomic risks.
Every successful industrial facility prioritizes ergonomics. About 1.8 million workers report musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) per year, according to OSHA, and about 600,000 of those workers need to take time off as a result of their injuries.
Of course, employers have an ethical responsibility to provide a safe work environment, but better ergonomics has measurable benefits for throughput: When tasks aren’t suited to the worker, employee retention drops — and a single injury can quickly diminish efficiency. Injuries add to training costs, and manual palletizing and de-palletizing is one of the most injury prone tasks in industrial work environments.
As discussed above, pallet positioners help to eliminate repetitive lifting, bending, and stooping, allowing employees to work quickly without sacrificing safety. The positioner keeps the load at precisely the right height at all times. Pallet positioners with turntables add another important ergonomic benefit, since the load can be reoriented easily without much effort from the worker.
Pallet positioners can allow a single worker to handle a greater variety of tasks.
With 360-degree access, a worker can break down a pallet unassisted and without reaching or stretching across the load. Likewise, workers can load pallets without moving back and forth or stooping to reach materials.
Ergonomic equipment allows a single worker to efficiently handle tasks that would otherwise require several people—without taking on major safety risks. Since the pallet positioner remains in place, it also helps to prevent product loss and equipment damage. The BHS PCP is adept at handling skids, and its simple functionality integrates easily (and immediately) into an established workflow.
Correct positioning means faster pallet-building.
Employers should consider ergonomic hazards when sourcing any new material handling equipment, but it’s worth remembering that proper ergonomics translates to improved efficiency. With a pallet positioner, the work moves to the worker—not the other way around. With a quick adjustment, the load remains within the worker’s reach, so they’ll spend less time trying to find the right angle for the task.
That means faster pallet-building for outbound unit loads and faster de-palletizing after deliveries (along with a much more comfortable experience for workers). When a shift ends, the next worker can make a quick adjustment, then start palletizing or de-palletizing immediately.
Choosing Pallet Positioners for Your Facility
Any pallet positioner can offer substantial ergonomic benefits, but all material handling equipment should be evaluated carefully prior to purchase. Make sure your positioners are capable of handling fully loaded pallets. Look for units with rotating turntables; if an operator needs to move around the positioner in order to work, the positioner isn’t doing its job.
Some key features of the BHS Pallet Carousel & Skid Positioner include:
- 4,500 lb (2041 kg) maximum capacity
- A 360° turntable with anti-friction bearings.
- Available in pneumatic and spring-assisted configurations.
- Custom platforms available for pallets with unusual dimensions.
- A pressure-relief valve (pneumatic option) or dampener (spring-assisted) for smooth travel.
- Optional casters, accordion skirt guards, and threaded rod feet.
Pallet positioners can improve throughput substantially while keeping workers safe, and the Pallet Carousel & Skid Positioner is an excellent option for enhancing your ergonomic workflow. To learn more or to discuss customization options, contact our team at 1.800.BHS.9500.