Selecting the RIGHT Systems Integrator is Key – 4 Questions to Ask

Picking the right systems integrator is key to the success of any warehouse or manufacturing facilities’ automation project.  From conveyors and picking systems to palletzing equipment and controls integration, using the right integrator can make (or break) your project.

When you are looking to integrate systems automation into your operations, there is almost always an extensive amount of risk on the line and money at stakes, so selecting the best integrator for the job is imperative to help it go smoothly and help you mitigate the risks of future failure and extensive (and potentially expensiveMMCI systems integration) downtime.

Think of a systems integrator is a coach of a baseball team or a Hollywood movie director, of sorts.  They are generally always someone who is extremely familiar with all the

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Robotic Automation Solutions Shine at Modex 2016

In the wrap up done each show by Modern Materials Handling, they alwaysRobotic Case Packing touch base on the top products and trends that they are seeing.  This year at Modex, which comes as no surprise to anyone, it was robotic automation solutions that were the shining stars of the show.  “Modex always delivers innovative new products, but at this year’s event, robotics captured much of the attention.”

So what are we to make of all this attention on robots at Modex? Are we at the crest of the usual hype cycle, focusing on robots because they are fun to talk and write about, but not likely to see much use anytime soon?  Nope, because we are always seeing them taking hold of warehouses and DC’s, focusing

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Compression Conveyor Keeps Products in the Right Place

Multi-Conveyor, LLC, one of MMCI’s most valued partner suppliers recently completed a compression conveyor system that provided the customer with exceptional control for inkjet labeling and printing on cases.  This unique application was developed to move corrugated cases smoothly past the customer’s ink labelers creating a high quality, precision marking system that ensured even coding.

The compression conveyor maintains the corrugated boxes in position on the belt, and continuously applies a predetermined amount of pressure as they move the past the case identification process of the customer’s applications.  In this particular situation, the customer required a straight running, mild-steel constructed timing belt compression conveyor design, with a lower conveyor and adjustable upper conveyor belt, more quickly.

A simple hand crank, utilizing hydraulic lift cylinders, was incorporated to easily raise or lower the upper belt into position to allow for packages of varying heights and sizes to pass through the

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Seeking a Food Grade Conveyor?

We’ve said it before many times that conveyor systems are the life-blood of any omni-conveyorproduction or distribution facility.  And this might not be truer in any other industry than the food and dairy processing and manufacturing industry.  Unlike widgets, food and dairy products are perishable and downtime or the wrong conveyor selections can lead to lost profits or even the risk of contamination, which is why selecting the proper food grade conveyor is so important.

Technology in the material handling industry seems like it changes by the hour.  MMCI works with clients to perform an engineering study prior to making any conveyor recommendations to understand your current needs and help you plan for the future of your food and dairy operations.  Some of the elements we walk our clients through include:

The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). While the

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Warehouse Automation Series – Refuting Myths 6 to 10

Welcome back to our second round of myth-busting that we will be doing regrading material handling and warehouse automation.  While it’s not exactly as cool as the Discovery Channel show, Myth Busters, since our marketing budget doesn’t allow for it, but it’s equally as insightful.

Myth #6: Adding automation equipment adds hours of training for my current employees who have never used the new equipment, taking them away from their jobs.

Truth: Today’s warehouse automation systems are designed to help employees as they do their jobs so they are designed to be extremely easy to use.

Just about all automated processes utilize a human machine interface (HMI) which is just a display that shows a display where it can prompt a user to complete a task, or the user can prompt the machine to complete a task, such as a robotic palletizer’s pattern.   In most cases, we see that

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Keeping up with the conveyor systems….

…is hopefully more engaging that keeping up with the Kardashians.  Your commute into work every day isn’t unlike the conveyor systems in your warehouse.  It’s got to be done or used each day and everything is more or less smooth sailing until you see the brake lights up ahead or your conveyor systems comes to a screeching halt.  Bam…traffic or conveyor breakdown…all of a sudden that smooth sailing isn’t on such calm waters anymore.

6d0daec2-4c4b-4e47-cae2-a5a1ec4aaf2eTraffic and unplanned downtime, while they’re a total drag on productivity, many times it’s completely preventable.  Not driving distracted and developing good habits about maintaining your conveyor systems can make all the difference in avoiding these stoppages.  I mean Ben Franklin couldn’t have been wrong all these years when he said, “an ounce

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Warehouse Automation Series – Refuting Myths 1 to 5

order fulfillment automationIf you run a warehouse, I’m sure at some point you’ve thought about automating part or all of your warehouse operations.  Perhaps you’ve even gone as far as meeting with integrators and discussing your application but decided against moving forward because of price, time, or some other reason.  Or maybe you even heard about horror stories from a colleague whose warehouse automation attempts were turned into the stuff of nightmares and blown budgets.

Whatever your reason for not choosing to automate your warehouse is completely understandable.  Automating a facility provides for a lot of change and it can be a really, really scary process.  However, there are a lot of different unfounded myths buzzing around the rumor mill about warehouse automation that we are going to explore (and

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Concrete Bagging. It’s a Dirty Job, Let a Robot Do It.

Generally when you think about concrete, you think of construction projects, contractors and big projects. But what about those in the industry whose products are intended for retail markets, the Home Depots and the Lowe’s of the world.  In these unique situations, the producers actually have the needs of two customers to meet, the retailers and the end-consumers, who are concerned with two completely different things.  In the remainder of this post, we are going to talk about some of the expectations of these two groups and how robotic automation can help streamline the process of meeting those needs when it comes to the bagging and palletizing processes.

M-410iB palletizing bags_796When your local home improvement store receives a shipment of ABC Concrete mix they expect pallets that are properly stacked,

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Order Fulfillment Automation…Are You Ready?

Contrary to popular belief here the material handling world, you don’t have to be the size of Amazon or other online power-retailers to benefit from order fulfillment automation.  Today, many small and medium size retailers selling everything from small car parts to shoes and accessories are investing in order fulfillment automation and seeing some excellent results.

To automate, or not to automate, that is the question.  And a pretty scary order fulfillment automationquestion for most small and medium retailers.  Moreover, the answer isn’t simply a matter of do we currently have the capital to invest right now.  It’s a strategic business decision that needs to be made with the right automation partner.

What’s a common option?  With the growth of goods-to-person storage and retrieval systems, vertical list modules

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Tips for Designing an Effective Conveyor System

You don’t need to be Wal-Mart or Amazon to know how important the design of your conveyor system is to you facility.  Outside of labor, and maybe electricity, there might not be another variable in your operations that can make-or-break you like how efficiently you move products through your warehouse.

To avoid issues down the road with expansions, line changes, product changes Conveyor System from MMCIand more, we always recommend performing and engineering study to ensure a successful conveyor system is designed and engineered for your unique needs.  We cannot over-state how critical this first step is as we’ve seen projects (not ours of course) go from half a million dollars to well over two millions dollars and months behind schedule result from an integrator not taking

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