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Cold Storage Forklift Battery Maintenance

Cold storage is hard on lift truck batteries. Poor inventory management and maintenance is even worse. The combination of an extreme environment and shortcuts in battery handling practices can cause major reductions in battery capacity and lifespan. That’s why it’s important to use best practices for forklift batteries in cold storage applications. Here’s what you need to know to keep your batteries running at peak condition for as long as possible, even in refrigerated warehouses: Extreme cold temperatures reduce forklift battery capacities. In fact, forklifts may have their runtimes reduced by more than 50 percent in cold climates. This leaves cold storage facilities with a number of problems that other warehouses or distribution centers never face. For instance, in an…more

Electric Forklifts in Cold Storage: Solutions to Common Challenges

Cold storage facilities are the backbone of the supply chain for crucial products, including frozen and refrigerated foods, pharmaceuticals, and petrochemicals. Unfortunately, the extreme temperatures needed to preserve perishables can reduce efficiency in electric forklifts — or even damage them outright. Thankfully, there are a number of mitigating strategies that can improve forklift performance in cold storage applications. For instance: Be aware of condensation and the problems it can cause. When lift trucks move from cold storage areas to ambient temperatures, condensation can form on batteries and other parts. This poses a number of threats to equipment, including corrosion and premature wear. When forklifts return to cold areas, the condensation can freeze, causing even more problems. Because of this, experts…more

OSHA Standards for Sheet Metal Storage at Shops and Warehouses

Sheet metal isn’t always the simplest material to work with, but choosing the right type of storage can set you up for a safer, more successful material handling environment at the shop or warehouse. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hasn’t written a regulation that refers to sheet metal storage in specific, the standards do offer clues. Here are the OSHA standards to watch out for, along with a few ways to comply (and build a safer workplace while you’re at it): 29 CFR 1910.176(b) – Secure storage Here, we’re deep into the core of the OSHA regulations that affect most industries, including HVAC technicians and other sheet metal workers. Part 1910 of the OSHA regulations covers occupational…more

Sheet Metal Handling at the Jobsite

Sheet metal handling entails major ergonomic risks when appropriate precautions are not taken. Working in extreme temperatures, placing continuous pressure on the hands, lifting parts with awkward shapes and sizes, and strenuous working positions are all common ergonomic risks on a job site. To protect against these hazards, here are some important tips from the Cal/OSHA Consultation Service. Take a few minutes to stretch before and during work. As any athlete will tell you, stretching before a game is crucial. The same is true for strenuous physical labor. Taking the time to stretch your arms, shoulders, back, hips, and legs helps guard against pulled or strained muscles. Watch for the warning signs of a chronic problem. Many musculoskeletal disorders are…more

3 Green Warehouse Improvements You Can Make Right Now

Whether it’s for cost-saving or environmental responsibility, warehouses are going green and saving money in the process. Here are a few simple ways warehousing companies can reduce costs while limiting their carbon footprint with green practices. 1. Upgrade to LED Lighting Switching to LEDs can save an operation more than 60 percent on energy costs compared to fluorescents and other older lighting types. Of course, there are upfront costs that prevent some from making this common-sense switch, but the benefits are undeniable. The biggest savings come in the form of reduced energy use and less maintenance required to keep the lights on. But there are also savings associated with easier code compliance — particularly if you use advanced lighting controls.…more

Forklift Battery Wastewater for the Green Warehouse

When you run electric forklifts, you have to wash the batteries, and that leads to the problem of forklift battery wastewater. To be sure, choosing electric forklifts over internal combustion ones offers a multitude of environmental and economic benefits for warehouses. A smaller carbon footprint, lower fueling costs, and less maintenance are just a handful of the many benefits of using battery power. But making your fleet greener doesn’t stop with investing in electric. To get the most life and best performance out of lead-acid batteries, staff must occasionally wash them. This periodic washing creates wastewater that can contain dangerous pollutants that include: Lead, copper, and other heavy metals Sulfuric acid Rust (iron oxide) particles Because of this, the EPA…more

Forklift Sales Grow for the Third Consecutive Year in a Row, Says ITA Report

The Industrial Truck Association (ITA) has announced that 2017 was the third consecutive year of record-breaking forklift sales in North America. Over 250,000 units were sold marking a nearly 10 percent increase from 2016. These record-breaking numbers took even industry insiders by surprise. “The 2017 sales numbers of 253,146 exceeded most industry expectations,” said Brian Feehan, president of the Industrial Truck Association (ITA), in a press release. He added that e-commerce and the solid economic performance of the U.S. contributed to the record year. “Reaching the quarter-million unit mark in sales is a major milestone for the industry,” said Feehan. In 2015, a record was set with 225,534 units sold, and the 2017 numbers reflect a 12 percent increase over…more

MHEDA Convention Events Industry Insiders Shouldn’t Miss

The Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA) Convention will run from May 5-9 at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. The 63rd annual convention will focus on coping with disruptive changes in the industry and embracing the future. Speakers, panel discussions, and workshops will address various ideas around these themes. Additionally, more than 80 exhibitors will showcase products and solutions for material handling at the event. Here are a few of the convention’s features that industry analysts will pay close attention to: 1.  Panel discussions with prominent MHEDA members that will feature timely topics. There are two panel discussions planned — 2018 Material Handling Business Trends and the Digital Evolution. Members of the MHEDA’s board of directors…more

Retaining Skilled Workers

America’s supply of skilled workers isn’t as young as it used to be, and the trend has no end in sight. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that, by 2024, 41 million workers will be 55 or older. For the manufacturing sector and other industries with higher physical demands, this trend could mean more sick days and reduced productivity. While older Americans are healthier than ever, they are still more likely to need time off for episodic or chronic health problems than their younger counterparts. Thankfully, there are a number of ergonomic solutions that can help older workers stay healthy and productive, and one international company has shown a proven way to implement them. One German automotive manufacturer has been…more

Skilled Labor Shortages in Manufacturing: Doing More with Fewer Employees

There’s a skilled labor shortage in manufacturing and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute teamed up for a study of the industry in 2015. They found that over the next decade, manufacturing companies will need 3.4 million workers — but will have a 2 million-worker shortfall. This precipitous drop in skilled talent comes from an unfortunate confluence of conditions: baby boomers are retiring just as the industry is expanding. To make matters worse, fewer tech programs and a general lack of interest in manufacturing among high school students means that reinforcements are not on the way. Because of this, the report recommends that company leadership take a proactive role in increasing interest…more