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Tips to Keep your Conveyor System Running Efficiently


Companies that often depend on their conveyor system for their daily operations don’t always take proper care of them, so when a breakdown occurs the company can be out of commission for a long time. It usually causes production to come to a screeching halt, resulting in idle employees, late shipments, and overall unsatisfied customers. Some of the common mistakes you can avoid are as follows:


Be observant: It might seem silly, but watching and listening to your conveyor system can help determine inefficiencies. Hearing squeaking or rubbing is a sign that the system is not functioning properly, and seeing a dust buildup below a belted conveyor could be a sign of excessive wear. Looking for signs like this and listening to your equipment from time to time can save you in repair costs down the road. Waiting for something to go wrong and only taking action then will result in expensive repairs and long delays.


Another piece of the conveyor to be observant of is the temperature of motors and reducers, because drastic temperature changes are a sign of the system being overloaded. This could mean too much weight on the conveyor’s belt or rollers, or an inappropriate type of conveyor was being applied to perform a specific function.


Keep proper and regular maintenance records: Making sure that proper maintenance logs are being kept on a regular basis will ensure your conveyor system lasts as long as possible. Just like getting maintenance checks and oil changes help extend the useful life of that vehicle, an up to date log will do the same thing for a conveyor. If multiple shifts of workers use the same equipment, the logs must stay up to date to ensure accuracy. If your conveyor ever fails to work when in regular use, your up to date maintenance records will help your case when you approach the manufacturer.


Keep spare parts on hand: When a conveyor breaks down, it can be costly not only to fix but because of the system’s downtime. This results in reduced productivity, late shipments, and worker downtime. Sometimes a specific conveyor part can take weeks to get to you from the manufacturer, which is incredibly costly if that means weeks of reduced or halted productivity. Keeping a few extra key spare parts on hand just in case something goes wrong is a great way to prevent detrimental delay times.


Properly train employees: Don’t just stick any random worker on the conveyor line. They must be properly trained to safely operate the conveyor system, and they know what warning signs to watch out for. They are essentially the first line of defense of noticing a potential problem or concern, so proper training will save money in costly repairs down the road.


These are just a few tips for proper care of your conveyor system. Conveyor, new or used, is a costly investment, so it is worth the time and effort to keep it running like new. You wouldn’t let your car go 10,000 miles without an oil change, so don’t let your conveyor system go without regular scheduled maintenance checks. If you work with ASI, we will make sure you are using the proper conveyor for your application, and will educate you on how to properly maintain your system if need be. Give us a call today!

Section 179 Depreciation Deduction


Section 179 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code allows taxpayers to deduct property of certain types against their income taxes as an expense rather than capitalizing or depreciating it. The type of property that is eligible for this deduction includes tangible, depreciable, personal property that is being bought for use in conduct of that business.

Why is this important? The amount of the maximum deduction a taxpayer can elect to take in a year is $500,000, ending December 31, 2013. After that, starting in 2014, the deduction amount will be lowered to $25,000. This means, if you buy used or new material handling equipment from ASI before the end of the year, you can write off up to $500,000 of it against your current income.


If a taxpayer has more than $2,000,000 in section 179 property placed into service in a single taxable year, the 179 deduction is reduced dollar for dollar by amount exceeding $2,000,000. This threshold is being reduced to $200,000 starting in 2014.


So act fast! Time is running out to take advantage of the section 179 depreciation deduction. Anything purchased from ASI will qualify, including used pallet rack, used conveyor systems, mezzanine, used shelving, forklifts, and more! We sell top quality used material handling equipment at a fraction of the cost of buying new.


Effectively Slotting Your Warehouse Facility


If you are in an existing warehouse or storage facility looking to improve efficiency, or you are moving to a new facility, you should consider a slotting analysis. Slotting is the activity of determining the most optimal storage area for all items within your facility. Properly slotting a material handling facility can benefit you in the following ways:


  • Reduced labor costs
  • Improved throughput
  • Increased order accuracy
  • Increased order picking and replenishing efficiency


Effective slotting starts with determining what kind of load you are storing/ picking, which in most cases is either full pallets, partial pallets or cases, and individual items. You also should determine what the product will be picked from and stored on, whether that is racking, shelving, carton flow, mezzanine, or a combination. Lastly, it is important to determine the tools that will be used to pick the products, which includes forklifts, pallet jacks, vertical lifts, etc.


The most important aspect to consider when performing a slotting analysis is product data, such as weight, dimensions, quantity, and velocity. The first three are pretty straight-forward, it is always important, for a number of reasons, to know the size and weight of your product, and how many units you have. The last, velocity, refers to the frequency a certain SKU is picked over a specific period of time. This is the trickiest factor to measure, and you should consider the following steps when performing SKU velocity analysis:


  • Determine which product SKU’s are fast, slow, and medium paced movers and store them in the most appropriate storage device.
  • Place high velocity SKUs in easily accessible locations to allow for quick and efficient picking and storing.
  • Determine if seasons or promotions influence certain product’s velocity, because this can effect where they should be positioned.


Effectively slotting your material handling facility can be very complex, and there are many factors to consider before making any decisions. Partial or inaccurate data will only make for an ineffective attempt at providing a streamlined process for handling product in your facility. One major oversight that is typical when performing slotting analysis is designing a system that doesn’t allow for flexibility. This is extremely important for a company with a constantly changing inventory with certain products frequently going in and out of stock. Another common oversight is not choosing the correct storage equipment to store different SKUs on, which can compromise the storage equipment and result in ineffective picking and storing.


ASI will gladly work with you to answer some of these questions and help determine the right course of action for your facility. There are many options to consider, which can be confusing, but our experienced sales team is more than willing to help clarify some of these options so that you are left with an effective slotting system.

How to Determine Which Stretch Wrapper is Right for You


Stretch wrappers most commonly use low-density polyethylene, which can stretch up to 500% of its length before breaking. The film is typically only stretched 100 to 300% when in use, and once it is stretched the elastic recovery keeps the load tight and secure. In warehouse and industrial settings, stretch wrappers most commonly serve the following functions:


  • Improved stability of products and packages, which forms a unit load
  • Easier handling and storage of unit loads
  • Contents are protected from pilferage because product is harder to access once wrapped
  • Contents are protected against dust and debris to some extent


The three common types of stretch wrappers are manual, semi-auto, and automatic. Each of these types come in a few different styles as well, so here is a brief summary of each.


Manual stretch wrappers come in three different styles. An extended core stretch wrapper is just a roll of film with an elongated spool, which acts as handles on either end of the film. This is the least consistent method of stretch wrapping because the tension is controlled by hand. There are also mechanical brakes, which provide resistance against the film to create stretch. The last style of manual stretch wrappers are pole wrappers, which are similar in style to the mechanical brake wrapper. Pole wrappers use an extended pole with the roll and brake at the end, eliminating the need to bend and reach.


Semi-automatic stretch wrappers also come in three different styles, turntable, orbital, and rotary arm. Turntable wrappers use a turntable that the load is positioned on, and spins while the film roll moves up and down on a fixed mast. The stretch is achieved because the load is rotated faster than the film is fed. Orbital wrappers use a vertical rotating ring to apply the stretch wrap to products moving horizontally through the ring. Products are either suspended in the ring by hand, machinery, or conveyor. Rotary arm stretch wrappers are the last style, and with this system the load stays still while the rotating arm turns around it, wrapping it with film.


Automatic wrappers are similar in design to semi-auto, but there are automated systems to load the machine, and apply to, seal, and cut the film. Automatic stretch wrappers come in turntable and rotary arm styles as well. The only style that is unique to an automatic wrapper is the rotary ring wrapper. This style houses the film on a horizontal ring which moves vertically relative to the load being wrapped while the load stays in place.


The more high volume shipments you have going out, the more likely your facility could benefit from an automatic or semi-automatic stretch wrapper. If your operation is small or you don’t frequently have full pallets to ship, a manual stretch wrapper might be more fitting. When making this decision, be forward thinking and try to forecast where your company will be in five years. A manual stretch wrapper might be enough for today, or the next two years, but a few years down the road you might have to replace it with a semi or fully automatic setup to meet your shipping needs anyway. You should always consider upgrading now and saving money in the long run, as this applies to many different types of material handling equipment.


This might be hard to determine on your own, but that is where ASI comes in to help. We will determine what you are handling and at what volumes, and help make the best decision based off of your unique situation. Our professional sales team will work together to get you the proper solution for your specific material handling problem.