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Manufacturing

These blog posts cover manufacturing processes, federal regulations that govern the industry, and tips for using material handling equipment to improve operations. Learn more here.

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  • OSHA Recordable Events and Reportable Incidents: Know the Differences

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires most employers to record workplace injuries and illnesses. (Some relatively safe industries, and small businesses with fewer than 11 employees, are exempt from OSHA record-keeping rules.) But OSHA has different requirements for different types of injuries. Some are considered OSHA recordable events, meaning they must be documented according to OSHA’s guidelines. Others... Continue Reading
  • Streamlining On-Site Forklift Battery Service for Dealers

    If you rent forklift batteries, you probably prefer to handle maintenance yourself. Reliable forklift batteries keep customers coming back — and regular service is essential for battery health. Besides, those batteries aren’t just sources of motive power. They’re also core business assets. Protecting them is also protecting your bottom line. But for many forklift battery dealers, service can be tricky.... Continue Reading
  • How Electrical Wholesalers Grow in 2022: 5 Strategies from Top Performers

    After a rough couple of pandemic years, electrical wholesalers came out swinging in 2022. But the new environment is not without its own challenges: ongoing supply chain disruptions make it hard to keep shelves stocked; the “Great Resignation” has left its mark on the labor supply; and runaway inflation is making it more expensive to run a growing electrical distribution... Continue Reading
  • Proactive Ergonomics Saves Money; Here’s How to Get Started

    Ergonomics is the science of matching the work to the worker. That involves adjusting workplace tasks, equipment, and facilities to keep employees safe and comfortable. We’ve covered the topic extensively in this blog, and while we often point out the safety benefits — appropriate ergonomics reduces the risk of common workplace injuries — there’s another reason smart business owners invest... Continue Reading
  • How to Sell Electrical Products with Value-Added Services

    The electrical wholesaling business is changing, with e-commerce giants encroaching on territory traditionally held by local operations. In a 2018 survey, a full third of the electrical wholesalers said Amazon Business was the biggest threat to their business. That’s more than twice the respondents who said “economic instability” or “inability to attract top talent” were their greatest concerns. In the... Continue Reading
  • How Often to Offer Ergonomic Training in the Workplace: FAQ

    In 1996, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a strategy to improve workplace ergonomics — the practice of matching work to workers. The program’s goal was to reduce cases of work-related musculoskeletal disorders, injuries to the muscles and related tissues typically caused by repetitive, forceful, and awkward movements often associated with workplace tasks like material handling. Part of... Continue Reading
  • Ergonomics and Back Pain: Creating a Safer Material Handling Environment

    Lifting, carrying, and repositioning materials is fundamental to many jobs. It’s the whole job for many workers in warehousing, construction, and manufacturing. And this basic task, without which industrial work cannot proceed, is hard on the human body—particularly the back, where force from upper body movements comes to rest. The good news is that employers can take steps to improve... Continue Reading
  • May Is Electrical Safety Month: 3 Ways for Wholesalers to Participate

    Every May, Electrical Safety Month raises awareness about particular safety issues related to electricity in North American homes and workplaces. But what exactly is Electrical Safety Month? More officially known as National Electrical Safety Month, this campaign is sponsored by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), a nonprofit that works to expand knowledge about preventing electrical fires, injuries, and worse.... Continue Reading
  • Choosing Metal Sheet Storage Systems: A Guide for Warehouse Operators

    Sheet metal isn’t the easiest material to work with. It’s bulky, heavy, and lined with sharp edges. It’s hard to grip, which leads to a heightened risk of musculoskeletal injury during manual handling. Metal also conducts both heat and electricity, adding more hazards to contact between sheets and workers. To safely handle sheet metal at shops and warehouses, employers must... Continue Reading
  • Reviewing OSHA Trends and New Rules for 2022

    What’s new with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 2022? Quite a bit — the administration is widely expected to increase inspections and use new enforcement mechanisms to ensure safe and healthful conditions for workers. For employers, the new year is an excellent time to review compliance considerations and make necessary improvements in equipment, training, and processes. Below,... Continue Reading
  • Cable Take Up Machines: An Introduction for Every Industry

    Manufacturers of cable and wire are always looking for ways to fill orders faster and more safely, which often boils down to one type of equipment: cable take up machines. Available in a wide range of designs and configurations, these devices rotate cable wheels to fill them with product, automating what would otherwise be a labor-intensive and ergonomically disastrous task.... Continue Reading
  • Reel Rack Axle Brackets: Converting to Electrical Wire Reel Racks

    Warehouses are usually rich with pallet racking. But what happens when they start to stock wire and cable—or even rope, chain, and other coiled materials? Dedicated electrical wire reel racks are expensive, and there may not be space in the facility to add whole new racking systems. These warehouse operators need a way to convert existing pallet racking into reel... Continue Reading
  • Inventory Optimization (IO) for Cable Inventory Management

    In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world entered a new era of supply chain disruptions, some of which introduced new challenges for electrical wholesalers. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Commercial Construction Index for the third quarter of 2021 found 93 percent of contractors faced material shortages for at least one product. While those shortages were mostly for steel,... Continue Reading
  • Material Handling and Supply Chain Trends to Watch in 2022

    As we enter a new year following repeated shocks to global supply chains, analysts are listing the supply chain trends they expect to dominate the near future of industry. Many of these trends are focused on the promise of artificial intelligence and other digital technologies — blockchain, robotic process automation, growing data visibility. Other experts (including a few at the... Continue Reading
  • 5 Surprising Advantages of Automated Warehouses—and How to Start Realizing Them

    The broad advantages of automated warehouses are well-known. Automation cuts costs. It improves efficiency. It boosts productivity and accuracy and even sustainability. But what does that all mean to the DC manager looking to fill accelerating orders during a labor shortage? The view from 30,000 feet up is nice, but it’s not helpful when your challenges are up-close and highly... Continue Reading
  • Electric Forklift Fleet Management Solutions: Frequently Asked Questions

    The forklift fleet ranks high on any company’s list of valuable assets—and that’s especially true for electric lift trucks, which add high-tech batteries to the mix. Managers must ensure forklifts are safe, batteries are fully charged, and all your equipment is being maintained properly. In other words, you have to manage the fleet, and there’s a broad range of forklift... Continue Reading
  • Root Cause Analysis for Reducing Material Loss in Manufacturing

    Recognizing process failures is a key step in adopting the practices of lean manufacturing. Organizations must constantly look for inefficiencies that affect throughput, but in a busy facility, identifying the root causes of those issues can be difficult. Whether or not your operation has committed to a lean approach, a manufacturing root cause analysis can be extraordinarily beneficial, particularly when... Continue Reading
  • 3 Ways Pallet Positioners Improve Warehouse Throughput

    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... Continue Reading
  • Automated Warehouse Logistics: Plan for Supportive Material Handling Equipment

    Warehouse automation is more than a trend. Most professionals accept that automation will play a critical role in the future of logistics and the greater supply chain. However, there are significant discrepancies regarding what warehouse automation looks like at peak performance. Is an operation with a few automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) technically “automated,” if that equipment doesn’t interact with a... Continue Reading
  • Intralogistics: What Is It And Why Is It Important For Warehousing?

    Intralogistics is today’s top buzzword in manufacturing and warehousing — but in some cases, buzzwords live up to the hype. Different companies define “intralogistics” in different ways, but the core concept is always similar. In short, intralogistics refers to optimization and automation of every piece of information within a distribution center or warehouse. It takes the lean methodology to its... Continue Reading
  • Coping with the Skilled Labor Shortage in Manufacturing, Electrical, and Other Industries

    The skilled labor shortage isn’t going away anytime soon, and industrial employers need innovative solutions to address the problem. Per a report from the American Action Forum (AAF), employers in nearly every state will face significant shortages of qualified workers by 2029. These shortages are not confined to skilled trades, but industrial employers — warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and electrical distributors,... Continue Reading
  • Pallet Turntables: Spring-Operated Vs. Pneumatic Turntables

    The manufacturing and warehousing industry completely depends on pallets, and that won’t change anytime soon. The global use of pallets is expected to increase through 2026, and pallet turntables allow operations to maximize throughput through better ergonomics. Improvements in pallet loading/unloading procedures can translate to a safer, more efficient facility. Manual loading & unloading of pallets causes more injuries than... Continue Reading
  • Palletizing and De-palletizing: What Employers Should Know

    Pallets are the basic building blocks of the global supply chain. They standardize shipments; they influence the design of material handling equipment; they make it possible to move goods from the manufacturer to the store or the consumer’s doorstep more efficiently. Without pallets, we might not have lift trucks. Without pallets, we might think of “unit loads” in radically different... Continue Reading
  • Parcel Lock Boxes for B2B Materials Distribution

    With the continuing rise of e-commerce, consumers and shippers alike are looking for better ways to complete deliveries. Parcel lock boxes provide greater flexibility and security than traditional options like home delivery or retrieval from a staffed location, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies make locker retrieval even more reliable and convenient. These advantages explain why the smart parcel lock... Continue Reading
  • Steel Reel Sizes for Bulk Cable Orders

    In 2008, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association published a new set of standards describing ideal steel reel sizes, along with other specifications for cable and wire reels of all materials. That was NEMA Standards Publication No. WC 26-2008, the Binational Wire and Cable Packaging Standard, and it remains the authority on sizing cable reels in North America today. This publication... Continue Reading
  • Industrial Reel Racks: 3 Key Factors to Consider

    Without proper storage, wire and cable reels can quickly become unmanageable. Industrial reel racks improve organization and maximize floor space, and they’re essential when workers pay out cable or wire from a consistent location. While shelving is a functional option for long-term storage, racking is the best option for reels that are used regularly — and the quality of racking... Continue Reading
  • How Do Scissor Lift Tables Work?

    Scissor Lift Tables play a critical role in thousands of workplaces by ergonomically positioning loads where workers can reach them comfortably. That’s an important task in warehousing, logistics, and other industries, since proper ergonomics keeps workers safe while maximizing throughput. A quality Lift Table can substantially improve productivity, making it an excellent investment. However, while scissor Lift Tables have similar... Continue Reading
  • Pit-Mounted Lift Tables: Industries and Applications

    Lift Tables provide a solution for lifting heavy materials, whether the goal is to position them for ergonomic work or to elevate them to a mezzanine level. With the right safety features, Scissor Lifts can even lift personnel to improve work positioning. However, not all Lift Tables are suitable for all types of loading. Most BHS Lift Tables have a... Continue Reading
  • 5 Parcel Locker Uses for Industrial Distributors

    Electronic parcel lockers are all around us, whether we’ve started using them or not. With the rise of e-commerce, many consumers are looking for a secure, convenient pickup location for their orders. The parcel locker fills that niche. These units are much more than simple secure storage. They provide a simple way for recipients to pick up orders 24/7, without... Continue Reading
  • What Is a Parcel Locker and How Can It Help Your Business?

    Parcel lockers are bulkstorage units with multiple lockable compartments, designed to facilitate delivery and collection of orders at any time of the day or night. This 24/7 accessibility makes parcel lockers a powerful tool in an era of increasing e-commerce. A customer can order an item online, for instance, and travel to a nearby parcel locker to retrieve their order.... Continue Reading
  • Should Manufacturers Replace Forklifts with Tugger Trains?

    Manufacturers need to feed their lines, which requires a reliable material handling operation within the plant. Historically, material flow has depended almost entirely on forklifts. More recently, another type of industrial truck is showing up at assembly lines around the world. Whatever you call them — tuggers, tow tractors, tugger-cart systems, Warehouse Trailers — this new approach has plenty to... Continue Reading
  • Green Manufacturing: Understanding the Basics

    Just as economic development depends on a strong manufacturing sector, sustainable development depends on green manufacturing. You’ve probably heard the term in the industrial press, or even the mainstream news. But what exactly do we mean by green manufacturing? The sponsors of the 2008 Green Manufacturing Expo offer this definition. Green manufacturing is: The creation of manufactured products that use... Continue Reading
  • Material Handling in the Wire and Cable Manufacturing Industry

    Wire and cable manufacturers carry a heavy burden; if they fail to fill their customers’ just-in-time orders, those customers might have to shut down entire production lines until the vital components come in. Understandably, cable providers will do just about anything to fill their orders reliably. But that leads right into another problem. If a cable manufacturer overproduces, they’ll be... Continue Reading
  • Choosing Material Handling Equipment for Manufacturing Facilities

    When manufacturers look for inefficiencies to address, they often focus on the production line itself. Can automation improve operations? New manufacturing processes? Different staffing strategies? In fact, these strategies make up only a portion of efficient operation in the manufacturing industry. Material handling — getting raw materials to the lines, moving components between one station and the next, and eventually... Continue Reading
  • Forklift Battery Management for Manufacturers

    The manufacturing industry can’t operate without adequate material handling systems, and, inevitably, those systems include forklifts. From replenishment to handling pallets of raw goods and finished products, forklifts provide the muscle that keeps manufacturing lines running. It comes as something of a surprise, then, that manufacturing facilities don’t always apply the same engineering interventions that they use to keep lines... Continue Reading
  • The Manufacturing Industry in 2019: Perceptions vs. Facts

    As we transition into the new year, we’re keeping a close eye on the manufacturing industry; where it’s been, where it stands, and where it’s likely to go over the course of 2019. It’s an interesting question for providers of material-handling equipment. A sizeable portion of BHS projects find their way into manufacturing operations, whether they’re fixing line-feed inefficiencies or... Continue Reading
  • IMTS 2018 Preview: What to Do at the 2018 International Manufacturing Technology Show

    In 2016, more than 100,000 people hailing from 117 countries packed into Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center for the biennial International Manufacturing Technology Show. These attendees represented every corner of the manufacturing industry, from sales to R&D to production engineering. This September, the crowds will return to Chicago for the 32nd edition of the manufacturing industry’s leading trade show. Buyers... Continue Reading
  • BHS, Inc. Releases New Bifold High Value Cart for Mobile Secure Storage

    Aug. 20, 2018 — St. Louis, MO — BHS, Inc., a leading manufacturer of industrial equipment, recently released a new solution for high-volume, secure storage at job sites. The Bifold High Value Cart features a heavy-duty steel exterior, opening at the center to display dual rows of heavy-duty shelving. “This is a unique design that does two things,” said Melissa Bowen of BHS Marketing. “It opens outward from the central hinge, essentially doubling the area of the shelf face. But that bifold system also boosts security, because when it’s closed, it’s essentially a solid steel box.” Welded steel construction and the ability to padlock the unit closed ensure resistance to unauthorized access, Bowen said. The Bifold High Value Cart was... Continue Reading
  • Making the Most of Automotive Plant Shutdown

    Automakers and other manufacturers use summer shutdowns to perform vital tasks to keep operations running smoothly. While these lulls in output can be expensive — after all, factories are not only stopping production but spending big money on improvements — they can also increase productivity. And when management takes time to carefully plan a plant turnaround, they can reap even... Continue Reading
  • How Automotive Manufacturers Can Improve Material Flow Systems During Plant Shutdowns

    Automotive manufacturers can’t push out the next big model without retooling plants, and that means periodic shutdowns at factories across the U.S. But while teams of workers busily upgrade assembly lines, plant managers also stay busy planning to move the entire operation forward. Disruptions of day-to-day plant operation create tremendous opportunities for improvement. This is especially true in the automotive... Continue Reading
  • Alternatives to Going Forklift-Free at Automotive Manufacturing Facilities

    Automotive manufacturing facilities have long been at the forefront of lean manufacturing — after all, the practice was born out of Toyota’s process of continual improvement, or kaizen. But unlike some other sectors, many auto manufacturers are choosing not to go forklift-free to achieve their goals. That’s because automakers have discovered how to become leaner without sacrificing the muscle of... Continue Reading
  • Food Industry Conference Season: What to Attend and What to Do There

    The food industry conference season kicks off in July with a whirlwind of events. Due to limited time and budgets, potential attendees may have to pick and choose which conferences to attend and which to skip. To help you decide, we’ve provided a quick rundown of three major conferences in July. Here’s the who, where, and what-to-do of our favorite... Continue Reading
  • 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... Continue Reading
  • 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... Continue Reading
  • Lift Tables vs. Tilt Tables: Ergonomics for Various Applications

    Lift Tables vs. Tilt Tables: Which is right for your application? Both improve the fit between workers and the tasks they must complete, which is the core of ergonomics. By adjusting loads to a more agreeable height or angle, these positioning tools reduce injuries, conserve human energy, and increase productivity. These adjustments can have tremendously positive effects on worker health... Continue Reading
  • Collaborative Automation and the Reshoring of American Manufacturing

    Between 2000 and 2010, the United States lost 6 million manufacturing jobs. Pundits and politicians offer a variety of explanations for how and why this happened. Depending on their political affiliation, talking heads might blame offshoring, illegal immigration, or bad trade deals. Among these conflicting ideas, there is one point that everyone seems to agree with: Workers are being replaced... Continue Reading
  • An Industrial Revolution in the Battery Room: Industry 4.0 and Battery Care

    Think back to fifth-grade history class. You were probably taught that the Industrial Revolution took place in the early-to-mid 19th century, when the steam engine reshaped manufacturing techniques in dramatic ways. Well, things have changed — including history. Industrial academics now say that there wasn’t just one Industrial Revolution. There were four of them, and we’re in the midst of... Continue Reading
  • CNC Machining Means Precision and Efficiency

    Computer Numerical Control, or CNC, machining is an umbrella term to describe various machining processes that are conducted by inputting data into a computer that controls the actual machining equipment. The computer uses software – often designed specifically for a certain object or task – to control the tool’s operation and track the raw material’s attributes. The computer controls and... Continue Reading
  • 4 Reasons Powder Coating is the Best Choice

    Powder coating is a form of painting using electrostatically charged powdered pigments. The charged pigment is attracted to the grounded components. After spraying, the components are heat-treated, which liquefies the powder and creates a smooth, even film that bonds with the component surfaces. This technology has been in use for more than 60 years and provides many benefits over traditional... Continue Reading
  • Manufacturing Innovation: The Theme for 2015

    2015 could be a big year for US manufacturing because of projected reshoring, growth, and investment in manufacturing innovation. Recent market research indicates that 2015 may bring manufacturing and production functions for many companies back to the US from overseas. According to a 2014 study conducted by the MIT Forum for Supply Chain Innovation, “13.5 percent of U.S. manufacturing companies... Continue Reading