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AM Davis Blog
Thursday, May 16 2024
Keeping Your Warehouse and Employees Cool This Summer

Ensuring that warehouse employees stay cool during the summer is of paramount importance for several reasons.

  • Firstly, maintaining a comfortable working environment contributes to employee well-being, morale, and productivity. Excessive heat can lead to discomfort, fatigue, and heat-related illnesses, affecting employees’ ability to perform tasks efficiently and safely.
  • Secondly, prioritizing employee health and safety by providing cooling measures reduces the risk of heat-related incidents such as heatstroke or dehydration, promoting a safer workplace overall.

Additionally, a cool working environment demonstrates care and consideration for employees’ welfare, fostering a positive work culture and improving employee retention. By investing in measures to keep warehouse employees cool, businesses can enhance productivity, reduce absenteeism, and create a more supportive and conducive work environment for their teams.

Things you can do to help cool your warehouse and employees this summer include:

  • Insulation: Ensure that the warehouse is well insulated to prevent heat from entering. This includes insulating walls, ceilings, and doors.

  • Ventilation: Install proper ventilation systems such as fans, vents, or air conditioning units to circulate air and remove hot air from the warehouse.

  • Reflective Roofing: If possible, use reflective roofing materials that can reflect sunlight and reduce heat absorption into the building.

  • Shade and Trees: Plant trees or install shades outside the warehouse to provide natural shade and reduce heat transfer through walls and roofs.

  • Heat-Emitting Equipment: Keep heat-emitting equipment away from sensitive areas or install heat shields to redirect heat away from the main workspace.

  • Cooling Zones: Create designated cooling zones within the warehouse where employees can take breaks and cool down.

  • Hydration Stations: Set up hydration stations with water coolers or dispensers throughout the warehouse so that workers can easily access cold water and stay hydrated.

  • Cool Break Areas: Create designated cool break areas with shade, fans, and seating where workers can take regular breaks to cool down and rest.

  • Use Reflective Clothing: Provide workers with light-colored, breathable, and moisture-wicking clothing that reflects sunlight and helps keep them cool.

  • Use Coolants: Use evaporative cooling systems or coolants like misting fans or wet mats to lower the ambient temperature in specific areas.

  • Schedule Work: Schedule heavy-duty tasks or work that generates a lot of heat during cooler parts of the day, such as early mornings or evenings.

  • Regular Maintenance: Maintain HVAC systems regularly to ensure they are functioning optimally and providing efficient cooling.

  • Monitor Indoor Temperatures: Install temperature monitoring systems to track indoor temperatures and take proactive measures when temperatures rise excessively.

  • Employee Awareness: Educate employees about heat-related illnesses, provide training on staying cool, and encourage them to stay hydrated and take breaks in cooler areas.

  • Encourage Communication: Encourage workers to communicate any discomfort or signs of heat-related stress promptly so that appropriate action can be taken.

Equipment you can install and items you can purchase to help minimize heat in your material handling and warehousing operation include:

  • Industrial Fans: High-volume, low-speed (HVLS) fans and industrial ceiling fans can help improve air circulation and create a cooling breeze throughout the warehouse.

  • Evaporative Coolers: Also known as swamp coolers, evaporative coolers use water evaporation to lower the ambient temperature. They are effective in dry climates and can be used as a cost-effective cooling solution.

  • Portable Air Conditioners: For specific areas or temporary cooling needs, portable air conditioners can be used to cool down workspaces quickly.

  • Heat-Reflective Roofing: Installing heat-reflective roofing materials can reduce heat absorption into the warehouse, keeping it cooler during hot weather.

  • Shade Structures: Outside the warehouse, shade structures such as awnings, canopies, or trees can provide natural shade and reduce heat transfer to the building.

  • Cooling Vests and Personal Cooling Devices: Providing employees with cooling vests, neckbands, or personal fans can help them stay cool while working in hot conditions.

  • Thermal Insulation: Proper insulation of walls, ceilings, and doors can prevent heat from entering the warehouse, reducing the workload on cooling equipment.

  • Misting Systems: Misting fans or misting systems can be installed to create a fine mist that evaporates quickly, lowering the surrounding air temperature.

  • Temperature Monitoring Systems: Installing temperature monitoring systems can help track indoor temperatures and optimize the use of cooling equipment for energy efficiency.

Choosing the right combination of equipment based on your warehouse’s size, layout, climate, and specific cooling needs can significantly improve working conditions during the summer months.

Visit OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention website to learn more about heat awareness and what you can do to prevent heat illness in your workforce this summer. Having a happy, healthy workforce is key to long-term productivity and performance.

Posted by: BarryL AT 01:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, March 19 2024
Three Main Benefits of a Reach Truck

With warehouse and storage space at a premium, more companies are looking for alternatives to increasing their footprint by expanding current space or purchasing new space. Sometimes a reach truck can be the perfect solution to increasing space, and productivity in your material handling and storage operation. While a reach truck is not suited for all operations, where it can be used, provides three significant benefits.

  1. Maneuverability means narrower aisles - Reach trucks are designed for narrow aisles and tight spaces. They have a smaller turning radius, making them more maneuverable than standard forklifts. This allows for efficient navigation in crowded warehouse environments. Often times aisle width can be reduced by 30% or more by utilizing an reach truck. This allows for more aisles within your current space, and more storage.
  2. A reach truck has a higher lifting capacity than traditional forklifts - Reach trucks are built to handle taller racks and shelves. They can reach higher lift heights compared to standard forklifts, enabling better utilization of vertical space in the warehouse. UniCarriers SRX has a maximum fork height of 210" allowing you to build your racking higher, thus more storage.
  3. The reach capability of a reach truck means narrower aisles within your warehouse - Reach trucks have extending forks that can reach into storage areas without the need for the truck to move closer. This feature is particularly useful for double-deep racking systems or when accessing items stored deep within racks. Double-reach means more pallet positions in your operation, resulting in increased storage capacity.

For a consultation about the possibility of a reach truck for your operation, and how it might benefits, please Contact Us or give us a call at 804-233-0051.

Posted by: BarryL AT 07:15 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, February 21 2024
Electric Pallet Jack vs Electric Walkie Rider

A walkie rider, often referred to as a rider pallet jack or rider pallet truck, is a type of electric material handling equipment used for transporting and moving pallets in warehouses and distribution centers. It is designed to be ridden by the operator, providing several advantages over a standard electric pallet jack, which is typically operated by walking behind it. Here are some benefits of a walkie rider over a standard electric pallet jack:

  1. Operator Efficiency: The most significant advantage of a walkie rider is that it allows the operator to ride on the equipment. This reduces operator fatigue, increases productivity, and allows for faster and more efficient material handling tasks, especially for long-distance transporting.

  2. Faster Travel Speed: Walkie rider pallet jacks generally have higher travel speeds compared to standard electric pallet jacks. This speed improvement can result in quicker cycle times and more efficient operations.

  3. Reduced Operator Strain: Since the operator rides on the walkie rider, there is less physical strain on the operator's body compared to walking behind a standard pallet jack. This can lead to improved ergonomics and a lower risk of workplace injuries.

  4. Higher Weight Capacity: Walkie rider pallet jacks often have a higher weight capacity than standard pallet jacks. This allows them to handle heavier loads, making them suitable for heavier-duty applications.

  5. Maneuverability: Walkie rider pallet jacks are designed to be highly maneuverable, allowing operators to navigate tight spaces and crowded aisles more easily. This can be crucial in warehouses with limited space.

  6. Battery Life: Many walkie rider pallet jacks come with larger batteries, offering longer runtimes between charges compared to standard pallet jacks. This can increase uptime and productivity.

  7. Versatility: Walkie rider pallet jacks can perform multiple tasks, such as transporting, stacking, and order picking, making them versatile tools for warehouse operations.

  8. Operator Comfort: The rider platform on a walkie rider is designed for operator comfort, often equipped with cushioned platforms and adjustable controls to reduce operator fatigue during long shifts.

  9. Safety Features: Walkie rider pallet jacks typically come with safety features such as brake systems, horn signals, and enhanced visibility, ensuring the safety of both the operator and pedestrians.

  10. Reduced Operator Footprint: Because the operator rides on the equipment, there is less of an operator footprint in the aisle. This allows for more efficient use of space in crowded warehouses.

While walkie rider pallet jacks offer numerous benefits, it's essential to consider your specific material handling needs and the layout of your facility when choosing between a walkie rider and a standard electric pallet jack. Walkie riders are well-suited for applications where speed, efficiency, and operator comfort are critical, but they may not be the best choice for all warehouse settings.  

Posted by: BarryL AT 10:33 am   |  Permalink   |  Email