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Advantages and Disadvantages of Automated Material Handling Systems

In the industrial sector, all kinds of ideas, designs, and plans come together to bring a product to life. Warehouses, factories, and plants are the birthplaces of modern technology. It only makes sense to use technology to make the work that goes on here more efficient. Enter: Automated Material Handling Systems.

Many different tools and machines fall under the category of automated material handling systems. Items such as scissor lift tables, tilt tables, and pallet positioners are a few, as well as loading dock equipment like dock lifts and dock levelers. Conveyers can be automatic and are used in many warehouses and factories to move products for assembly lines and other purposes. All of these items, among others, make work easier and in some cases reduce the number of workers needed to perform a task.

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Advantages of Implementing Automated Material Handling Systems

  • Save money. Automated systems speed up productivity. The work can get done faster and with less people than with manual equipment. Business owners save money by hiring fewer employees. Automated material handling systems are an economical investment.
  • Improve efficiency. Workers are better able to do their tasks using automated equipment, meaning they can work much more efficiently. It takes less time to do a job and it is more likely to be done correctly, which means each employee is able to accomplish more.
  • Maximize space. Automated systems like lifts make it easier to store materials and products. Items can be stacked higher, and be accessed easier, opening up workspace and additional storage space in your warehouse or plant.
  • Reduce accidents. One of the biggest advantages to automated equipment is that fewer accidents occur. Employee safety is a top concern for businesses in the industrial sector. Automated equipment can eliminate the need for heavy lifting, reduce the chances of workers tripping or falling, and make work stations ergonomic to prevent injury.
  • Better customer service. Make customers happy by fulfilling orders faster, reducing or eliminating mistakes, and improving shipping. You can even take on new customers because increased productivity allows you to fulfill more orders.
  • Increase warehouse value. Resale value of your warehouse and equipment goes up with automated systems. In the event that you sell your workspace, having automated systems in place not only attracts more buyers, but it means you can ask a higher price for the entire package or the individual pieces of equipment.
  • Attract employees. If you’re looking for good quality workers in your warehouse or plant, having automated systems in place will help to recruit a higher caliber of employees. Workers with experience and more specific training to handle automated systems will be interested in working for your company.

Disadvantages of Implementing Automated Material Handling Systems

  • Initial cost of equipment. Automated equipment is more expensive up front than manual equipment. However, what you save in man power and what you gain in increased productivity, means the equipment will eventually pay for itself and then some.
  • Reduced flexibility for change. Once automated systems are in place, it is likely not as easy to make changes in your workspace. But once you go automated and see how smoothly everything runs, it’s not likely you’ll want to return to manual equipment afterward.
  • Possible down time due to malfunction. With automatic machines there is always the chance of a problem or breakdown, which can lead to considerable downtime while it is repaired. If the problem cannot be fixed by anyone on site, an outside specialist may need to be called, which could mean more time spent waiting. In some cases, work may be able to continue manually in the meantime, but in some cases that isn’t possible. Equipment malfunction can be avoided in most cases with routine maintenance of all machinery. If proper care is taken to keep automated systems in good shape, breakdowns should only occur rarely, if ever.
  • Maintenance costs. Some automated equipment needs maintenance. Routine maintenance may be performed regularly by onsite workers, but periodic professional maintenance should be handled by specialists who are trained to inspect and tune-up machinery so that it runs smoothly and efficiently. Properly maintained equipment will save you money in the long run by preventing problems and increasing the overall lifespan of your systems. Carolina Material Handling offers many types of automated equipment that require very low maintenance, keeping costs low.

It’s easy to see that the benefits of using automated systems profoundly outweighs the costs. Generally speaking, automated systems make work easier and safer, which is something all businesses in the industrial sector can appreciate. Now let’s get into the details of how individual pieces of automated equipment can work in your warehouse or plant.

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Loading Dock Equipment Makes Loading and Unloading Go Smoothly

Running many businesses involves a lot of shipping and receiving. Supplies and materials come in, products go out, loading and unloading occurs weekly, daily, sometimes even all day depending upon your business. Streamlining the loading and unloading process can save time, money, and manpower. Automated material handling systems make it possible to do just that.

  • Automatic dock lifts. Dock lifts are made to withstand rugged outdoor use and can hold up to 120,000 pounds. They can be automatically raised and lowered to the necessary height of the vehicle to be unloaded. Dock lifts span the gap between the truck and the doorway to make loading and unloading easier. Anti-skid deck plates and beveled toe guards make dock lifts safer for foot travel as well as machines like forklifts.

Scissor Lift Tables and Other Automated Systems Improve Warehouse Storage and Workspaces

  • Scissor lift tables. This type of lift can aid in many different industrial operations from storage to retrieval of supplies and products. Lifts put workers at the right level to be face to face with whatever job they are performing. Large machines and other products that are taller than the average person can be accessed much more easily with a scissor lift table than with a ladder. A person can stand on a flat surface and move a few feet in either direction when up on a lift. This is not only easier for the worker, but also much safer. An automatic lift can be raised to the necessary height much quicker and easier than a manual ladder.
  • Pallet positioners. Loading and unloading of pallets is a much simpler process with pallet positioners. Pallets can be raised, lowered, or rotated to make them easier to unload and reload. No need for workers to bend or stretch, which puts them at risk of injury. Time and energy is saved when workers don’t need to repeatedly walk around the pallet. More pallets can be loaded more quickly with less people needed to do the job.
  • Tilt tables. A simple variation on lift tables, tilt tables can make it easier to do certain jobs by allowing for the positioning of loads for easier handling. These tilt tables are ideal for material handling, bin loading/unloading, parts assembly/disassembly, roll handling, pelletizing, dumping, and load upending.
  • Conveyer Systems. Products or materials can become independently mobile with automated conveyer systems. Conveyers are versatile, as they can move items vertically and horizontally. Some automated conveyers have built in lifts that can be raised and lowered to move items at any angle. Conveyers can help with loading, unloading, stocking, assembly lines, shipping, receiving, and more.

Each of these types of lifts are automatically operated and improve productivity in your workspace. With proper use, employees can work efficiently and stay safe.

Advantages of Automated Equipment from Carolina Material Handling

  • Strength. It is important that you have lifts in place that can hold the maximum weight you may need at any given time. Overloading lifts is dangerous. Quality products that have the strength to hold the capacity they advertise make your workplace safer for your employees. Carolina Material Handling equipment is proven to hold up under the heaviest of loads.
  • Durability. The machines in your workspace will get constant use. Lifting heavy loads, being raised and lowered repeatedly throughout the workday (and even through the night in many businesses), and outdoor exposure to the elements, puts a lot of strain on equipment. The products Carolina Material Handling offer can withstand the harshest of conditions and continue to operate smoothly.
  • Safety. Worker safety is a very important consideration in any business. Automated material handling systems have proven to reduce the risk of injury to employees in warehouses, plants, and factories. Keep your workers safe for their well-being, and for the financial well-being of your business.
  • Affordability. Automated systems will save you money in the long run. But the up-front cost doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Carolina Material Handling carries affordable products that are reasonably priced from the start and will last well after they have paid for themselves in increased productivity and other savings.

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How to Choose the Most Cost Effective Equipment for your Business

Are you ready to utilize automated material handling systems in your place of business? Not sure exactly what equipment will best serve your needs? Contact Carolina Material Handling at (800) 822-8833 and discuss your options with a specialist who can recommend the best systems for your workspace.

Consider these factors:

  • What is the size of the load, including weight, height, width, and depth. Also, what type of material and center of gravity does the load have?
  • How will the lift be loaded: rolled, slid, or lifted on and off?
  • What size platform will you need?
  • How high will the lift need to be raised?
  • How low will the lift need to be lowered? (pit mounted units have specific requirements)
  • What kind of power supply will be needed?
  • How will it be controlled? Hand held, foot operated, or wall mounted?

Knowing the answers to these questions will make it easier for you to get recommended equipment that will best serve your needs.

Carolina Material Handling Installation Services Ensure Proper Use of Automated Material Handling Systems

Automated equipment can be extremely helpful, but only if it is installed properly. There are safety regulations that dictate how lifts and other types of equipment are to be installed. The experts at Carolina Material Handling know these requirements and offer installation services for all equipment, including lifts and other automated systems. Professional installation is especially important for businesses that are purchasing lift equipment or other automated products for the first time. Carolina Material Handling is dedicated to the task of properly installing your automated systems so that you can reap every possible benefit. OSHA certified technicians will put your automated systems into place so that every safety regulation is met and your workspace will operate as efficiently as possible. Carolina Material Handling considers your products and processes, and collaborates with you and your employees to determine the best location for each piece of equipment.

Streamline the process of adding automated material handling systems to your workplace by dealing with just one company from start to finish. Carolina Material Handling works within your budget and timeframe with minimal downtime. Ensure the success of your new equipment and the safety of your workers with expert material handling installation services.

Community Benefits from Automated Material Handling Systems

Thinking beyond your business to the community at large has incredible value. Using automated systems in your workplace not only benefits your company’s bottom line, but the community and the people that live in the area.

For example, although using automated systems means that less workers are required to do certain jobs, it still helps to cut operation costs and keep a business competitive with other nearby businesses. This makes it possible for local businesses to remain local and continue to operate in their current location. Rather than cutting jobs, automated systems actually save local jobs.

Another advantage to automated systems is that they work more accurately, meaning less waste is created. The community benefits from the healthier environment the business helps to preserve.

Call Carolina Material Handling at (800) 822-8833 or shop online to see what automated systems are available to help your business thrive.